“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:12-17 – NAS
Greetings Washers of Feet,
I pray that this past week has been filled with a flood of prayer for our nation and for the schools in your neighborhood and zip code. Remember that this upcoming Sunday, September 18th, is Pray for Schools Sunday www.PrayForSchools.us. Gathering your neighbors to pray for your neighborhood schools is a good way to begin conversations of how you can pray regularly and work together to support your schools.
We will continue to follow Jesus’ example of humble, loving care by focusing this week on building relationships and meeting the needs at your neighborhood schools.
It is essential that you build relationships by being present and having a presence on campus. If you are a parent of a student you will have numerous opportunities where you are expected to attend meetings and events. It is vital that you attend and volunteer for opportunities to serve at the school; it not only sets the example for your children that school is important but it also keeps you informed and builds trust and appreciation between you and the school staff and teachers. If you are not a parent you can go meet with the principal and other staff as a concerned neighbor who wants to help. It is important to listen to the needs that the principal, staff and teachers express before you express any ideas you might have about their needs. It is also imperative that you do not volunteer or commit to any project that you cannot sustain or complete. Schools need volunteers to help with special events, monthly or even weekly in the office, library, media center, in classrooms and after school. You can also volunteer for days by cleaning, painting and doing other tasks. Many of us may not have the time to volunteer weekly, but there are many ways that we can show the love of Jesus.
The school year always begins with students and teachers needing school supplies. I even know of several school districts that require teachers to bring their own toilet paper. Please check with your local school or teachers in your neighborhood to find out what they need. As cooler weather approaches there is always a need for jackets, coats, gloves and hats. You can gather these items in your neighborhood, church, and or by asking your neighborhood businesses to be a collection sight. A critical need is food; every week, thousands of children who qualify for the free lunch program, go home on Friday and do not get to eat a decent meal until they come back to school on Monday. Our church partners with other churches in our community in a ministry we call, “Backpack Love.” A coordinator can divide the work by having a volunteer for each school and a volunteer for each participating church. Realize that the Christians in your neighborhood attend several different churches; this is a perfect way to bring churches together to serve and share the love of Jesus in unity. Each church that surrounds a school can commit to filling a certain number of backpacks with food EVERY week during the school year; this is why it is important to have several churches work together – you need to be able to sustain this project for the entire school year. Our backpacks are filled to feed a family of 5, and may include a combination of the following items: oatmeal packets, granola/breakfast-type bars, cans of spaghetti sauce and a boxes of noodles, mac & cheese, potatoes or instant mashed potatoes, canned chicken, vegetables, and fruit, rice, beans, individual bags of snacks and other non-perishables.
Schools are asked how many students they have on free lunch programs and how many are in a critical need for food assistance over the weekend. A volunteer at each church is in charge of collecting food items, organizing backpack packing nights each month and delivering filled backpacks and picking up returned empty packs each week. It sounds like a lot of work, but many hands make work light. Students who eat regularly show an increase in health and academic success.
When I say that we want every school to receive prayer, care and have the gospel shared on campus, I mean EVERY campus. I want to encourage you to help celebrate the campuses that are covered and help us connect those that are not by going to www.EverySchool.com. There you will find resources and register your commitment to that campus by adopting it in prayer, care and share opportunities. Dr. Tony Evans has also been leading an amazing adopt-a-school initiative, teaching on how churches and neighborhoods can show the love of Jesus to the local schools. You can find more information and inspiration at http://ChurchAdoptASchool.org.
Pray for the schools and ask Jesus to show you how you can show His love as you listen and learn about the needs of your neighborhood schools. I will expand on our prayer-care-share opportunities on campus in next week’s blog by sharing about prayer and faith clubs on campuses.
I challenge you to show Christ’s care on every campus, from Pre-K through colleges and universities in your zip code and prompt other people in different zip codes to care for their schools, so that every campus is consistently cared for by the end of the year 2020.
Love is a verb…let’s get moving!
For more ideas on prayer-care-share for schools, visit our Pre-K -12th grade action plan under the Strength Conditioning page at www.LOVE2020.com.