By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R
It’s that time again when public and private schools start a new year. From preschools up through college level, students will be facing new challenges and opportunities. A thought that runs through the mind of all parents and families is this: will my child or loved one be in a safe environment? Will the teachers and administration create an environment where all children are respected and learning takes place? How can I encourage my church to become involved?
Thom Rainer, retired president of LifeWay, wrote in a blog (Jan. 3, 2015) on “Eight Things I’m Praying Will Happen in Churches in 2015.” The first: A greater emphasis on prayer. Can you imagine the impact this could have on our schools if members would be committed to pray? Pray as individuals and as a congregation. Prayer not only changes things; it changes those who pray.
In addition to safety, students need Christian mentors, students need food for weekends, and teachers need appreciation. Could some of these suggestions implemented across Southern Baptist churches make a difference in your child’s school?
• Encourage members to become involved in your local community school. Become a partner and be visible at school functions and events.
• Adopt a school. Adult Sunday School classes can sponsor a specific class. Are there children who need school supplies to begin classes? Pray for these students and families.
• Support religious programs where all denominations are welcome. Do the schools in your area have a “See You At The Pole” organization?
• Open your education space for after-school tutoring. Use retired teachers or other adult personnel to serve as tutors. Check with your school system as to requirements for screening applicants who apply to work with children. Faith-based grants are often available for materials, snacks and salaries.
• Encourage other parents and grandparents to serve as volunteers for field trip chaperones and school functions. Students will observe people using high Christian standards.
• Ask the principal for families that your church could help. Could your church provide a weekly food box? Has a family’s home been destroyed through fire? Do they need clothing or household supplies? Pray for the needs of these families.
• Start a weekend backpack program for children from low-income families.
Making a commitment to pray for your child’s school can have untold measures. James 5:6 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (NIV). B&R — Tomlin, of Jackson, writes for numerous Christian publications and is married to Matt Tomlin, a Baptist minister. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org