One week ago, a group of youth workers spanning a range of denominations, churches, ages, and backgrounds all partnered together to do something together we couldn't do alone: throw a huge end-of-school-year barbecue for the local high school. We called it TGIS: Thank God It's Summer. We had hotdogs, juice, a DJ, inflatables, a dunk tank, foosball tables, a photo booth, and a junkyard-salvaged panel van for the students to doodle and draw upon.
All of it was free for the students.
This kind of partnership between schools and churches, para-church youth workers and youth pastors, and various denominations and church sizes is a beautiful picture of the kingdom of heaven breaking through on earth. It's about sharing and embodying good news in ways beyond handing out tracts or inviting people to church programs. It's partnership and presence and prayer.
Here are some other practical ways to be good news to your local school:
Volunteer. Be a driver for special events and after-school programs. Be a chaperone for dances and field trips. Become a tutor in your favourite subject from school.
Coach. Track and field, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball--you name it, they need coaches and trainers. Track in particular has so many different events, they usually love the help.
Clubs. After-school clubs and programs typically need adult presence and sponsorship to become official. From art to chess to drama to anime, and anything in between, find a club that needs an adult sponsor and help them out.
Coffee and Food. Drop off free coffee and donuts at the teachers' lounge. Write them a thank you card, telling them how grateful you are for what they do for the kids in our community.
Ask. Call the principals and administrators at your local school and ask them: what needs aren't currently being met, and how can I meet them, no strings attached? In both Arizona and BC, the biggest need was simple: they needed more loving and caring adult presence on campus, particularly before school and during lunch. That's a need I can certainly meet!
How can you be good news to the school in your neighbourhood?