Fall is in the air and school buses are once again making their rounds through the neighborhoods of our towns and cities. For many parents this is a welcome time as summer was getting “old” and children were running out of things to do. But for some it is a difficult time because finances are tight and the cost of school clothes and supplies has been overwhelming. For some students school is a troubled place to be. The classes might be difficult. They may speak English as a second language and it is hard to follow the rapid flow of speech. For others there may be the pressures of gangs, bullies, overcrowded classes, and maybe even physical danger. Recently a school administrator from the Philadelphia School system reported to me that the graduation rate for high school seniors is only at 50%. The funds for school improvements, books, equipment and additional staff are hard to find.
The conditions of our schools should be a priority for all Christians. The future is cast in our schools. The quality of education can determine a person’s future success in life. I hope that all of our churches will consider adopting a school in their area. There is a great need for volunteer help at schools and although talking about God is not allowed in the schools we can model the love of God by our words and actions, which is about the best sermon around.
Your church can volunteer in the classrooms but also offer after-school and before school programs, assist with back pack feeding programs (where backpacks are filled with food for the weekend for students from low income families), provide tutoring, parties, summer enrichment programs, winter holiday Vacation Bible School, and help families purchase school uniforms.
As we “Re-think” church, think about getting out of the church building and into the world, where Christ would have us be, and make school more tolerable for young people in our neighborhoods.