Outside the Walls: God is still in our public schools

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”

Watching each individual grain of sand pass through the bottleneck of an hourglass always captivated me as a child. At first it seemed as though the mass of sand would never pass through, but in an instant the final one fell.

There is a bottleneck where nearly every person of a generation over the next 20 years will pass. The church could surround this bottleneck and change communities and impact every life in South Carolina over a few decades. Some churches have realized the great strategic value and have already gotten started.

The bottleneck: your local school.

Only 3 percent of children are home-schooled in South Carolina. This means that 97 percent of a generation of children will flow through an elementary school, private or public, over the next 10 years. Not only will they flow through, but their parents will be engaged at some level as well.

God hasn’t been taken out of our public schools. He is there every day, living inside Christian children, educators and volunteer parents. In some cases, however, the Church has walked away from our public schools.

There is a movement of churches reengaging schools through service. Some are providing teacher support and encouragement. Others are providing backpacks filled with food for free- and reduced-lunch children for the weekend. Other churches are sending volunteers to read to children once a week and providing after-school tutoring. In every case, they have the opportunity to continue the conversation outside of the school time with their families.

The South Carolina Department of Education has even opened a Family and Community Engagement department to attempt to connect every school with a church that will serve and volunteer.

Molly Spearman, South Carolina’s superintendent of education, said, “You may not be able to talk about Jesus in our public schools, but you can come and act like Him.” She has already communicated to school superintendents that it is OK to allow churches to serve in their schools.

The traditional question of evangelism asked by Christians is “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?”

The new question that is emerging will be asked by the lost: “Who are you? And why are you here helping me?”

When you serve in your local school, get ready to give an answer to that question. As you serve, you help the school with their business of educating children and making communities a better place. Serving will, in turn, help your business as doors of opportunities fling open in families’ lives to share the hope of the Gospel.

Join the movement. These are the days of your life. Make them count, and saturate every life with the hope of the Gospel.