1. What is an Affinity Sphere?
Let me give you several ideas of what we call an affinity sphere.
Many of us have heard of the cultural mountains that explain the various influences that impact our lives. Several samples are government, art and entertainment, business, family, media, and religion.
Education is our focus which is one of those spheres, that in our culture, has a major influence. We have identified for LOVE2020 PreK-12 Education Sphere as our target area. Our intent is mobilize individuals, organizations and community groups to bring God’s love and truth to impact education’s influence on our culture.
2. What is the impact potential/significance of this sphere across our culture?
From my point of view, along with past experience in education, Love 2020 PreK-12 has a power potential to influence our culture if and when local communities work together to bring God’s love and truth into their local schools. This is especially true for K-6 elementary buildings. Assuming Barna Research is correct that students in K-6 are the most likely individuals to be moved by receiving God’s love and truth. Students will carry these concepts with them as they transition to middle and high school.
3. How is the message of God’s Love and Truth in and through Christ being expanded in this sphere?
Let me begin with the most fundamental actions we must do intently and regularly. They are PRAYER, CARE, and SHARE. All community groups must earn their right to be heard in our public schools. Prayer is what helps to break down the “law of fear” and caring with acts of love allows the ability to share. Examples of this taking place:
a) A sample where local churches, Christian university, local businessmen , and a superintendent gather to agree how to move forward so that H.S. students, elementary students are in their school with strong academics along with very positive environments assist students in constructive attitudes and a desire to excel to their best. Teachers demonstrate caring attitudes and a willingness to go the extra mile.
This model from Phoenix, AZ is called School Connect and reaches and develops the best practices to build supportive, collaborative community around schools. We utilize the principles of “Asset Based Community Development” to focus on what various partners have to offer and how to use the best assets of the community to build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships.
HOW WE DO IT! We accomplish all of this the same way we help schools; we build relationships. School Connect meets with superintendents and principals about the benefits of collaborative partnerships. We talk with leaders of the faith community and help them connect to a local school. We connect the schools to business partners, universities, nonprofits and other community leaders.
We host serving events such as Love Our School Day, with thousands of participants from dozens of churches and community partners serving at hundreds of Arizona schools. We help school districts host a CAFÉ Community and family engagement meeting where the school principals and staff meet with their community partners to strategize a collaborative plan for their school’s success. Once a year we host the School Connect Summit, an event where community partners can learn best practices or building collaborative partnerships around local schools.
b) Another example can be found at Grace Church in Eden Prairie outside Minneapolis. Significant educators and school connection has and is taking place bringing God’s love and truth to local schools. (Norene Shephard and their pastor are a good contact). The conference formed a “Compass Group.”
Contact this group by email: [email protected]
c) Reaching the school campus in most communities with the love of Christ it is important to remember the following:
1) Identifying a person in each district or building who could be a consistent point of contact. This person is one who would grasp and even help form the vision for their district and assist in implanting the plans/procedures.
2.) Important to identify the needs of each school and each district by survey and listening. We must ask! Always wise to connect with each school board member to get their ideas. Take them out separately for breakfast or lunch.
3.) Identify what is already happening on each campus, i.e.: ministries already established, clubs, etc.…
4.) Work in unity with community and churches when available an open to collaboration.
5.) Encourage local churches to partner (adopt) a school with prayer, care, share model.
6.) Collaborate with ethnic, cultural, socio-economic groups knowing all have something to offer.
7.) Establish a “directory of servants” which entails local menu of ideas and services.
4. What is the path, a congregation or ministry organization?
You may contact Love 2020 PreK-12 Education Sphere at (626) 318-6835 or (714)761-1476 or email, [email protected]
5. Please write a prayer that we can pray together for expanding and extending the gospel of Jesus Christ to this affinity sphere.
Pray for reaching our schools across America with the love of God the Father, His Son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray as Jesus stated in Matthew 18:14, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” So, assist all of us to expand our efforts in bringing God’s love and truth to all schools in America.