Is God In Our Public Schools? “Service” Opens Doors – Part I

 The Dispelling of A Myth

At a recent prayer meeting, participants prayed for God to be in our public schools, claiming that the Word no longer can be taught in our schools as the downfall for the public school system.  The evangelical church has help feed the mantra of the secular world that “bad teachers are the cause for failing schools in America.” I would like to refute two myths: 1) God is not in our public schools, and 2) Bad teachers are the cause of America’s failures.  I would like to finish by showing what I believe is what the Church’s role should be to the public American School System.  In this first blog of what will now be a three part series lets look at……

God is not in our public schools:  After 40 years of teaching in the public school I can boast that God is there.  Ephesians 4 instructs the church to “equip the saints for the work of the service.” Service is the key to the Church’s influence in our schools.  Where I taught for 40 years we have established a club, First Priority, in the Middle School where the administration looks upon it as a "service" oriented club rather than a religious propaganda club.  They serve! They bring food for Teacher Appreciation Day making the faculty feel special. They distributed hot chocolate and cookies to every student coming off the bus on the day before Christmas vacation as they teachers with students form a musical combo, called the Snow Flakes, playing Christmas carols. To practice the principle of “washing feet”, the club washed the windshields of teacher’s cars one morning.  Members of the club have placed a piece of gum or candy in every students locker letting them know God loves them and inviting them to their club. Each year began by participating in Meet You At The Pole where students gathered around the school’s flag pool and prayed for their school while buses dropped off students wondering what was happening.  Peer pressure is immense at the Middle School level, and it took a lot of guts for a 13 year old to pray out in the open.  Because of service, the club found favor with the administration who then allowed them to have an optional assembly at the end of the year that featured a worship band and a speaker laying out the gospel.  The administration has allowed the club to offer a club period time where anyone could come and hear the gospel shared unashamedly, drawing as high as over 150 students in attendance. Kids who were in inschool suspension were even allowed to come.  Not one time have we ever had a complaint about these activities.  The club is student run under volunteered adult supervision. 

When my children went to their public school they held impromptu prayer meetings in the band room every morning. Two students were part of a worship band they named Obsession because of their obsession to worship. They had the opportunity to play Delirious’ “White Ribbon Day” song backed by the schools 350 voice choirs as the finale of their Spring Choral Concert producing not a dry eye in the auditorium.

My friend, Tom Sipling, birthed a “60 Second Kneel Down” program where students would kneel down in front of their locker to pray each day in public and private schools. This happened all around the world.  Students are more vocal and bold about sharing their faith today than their parents did when I had them over 35 years ago.  God is working in our Public Schools.

Student’s know what teachers are Christians and which teachers aren’t by the way the teachers live out their lives, run their classrooms, share openly, and care for their students on a personal level.  Often, as an English teacher, I would get compositions from students sharing their faith, lifting up and honoring people who have influenced their lives in a positive way during our “Hero’s Day”, and shared their faith in writing personal narratives.

In spite of the Church's attitude about Public Education vs. religious education, God is alive and well in the Public Schools of America if the Church is willing to serve.

We looked at he first myth that I wish to dispel today; we will look at the second tomorrow.