Timing Is Perfect To Evaluate Your Church-School Partnership

Back to School

Where did the time go? Back-to-school shopping, back-to-school commercials and back-to-school orientations make us feel the reality of summer coming to a close. With all these happenings, what role might our churches play in this upcoming school year?

Once school doors open and the school year is underway, we have a perfect opportunity to listen to our schools once more. Over the course of a summer, many changes take place. One school may have more funding, another may have lost funding and another may have had quite a bit of turnover in staff and administration. What a divine moment to sit with our neighbors to hear what their needs are in education!

If your church has established a relationship with a school or is looking to begin a new partnership with a school, the back-to-school season offers us an occasion to extend love in tangible ways. Together, churches, schools and families partnering in our communities gives way to transformative living in us all.

Here are a few ways you can get started with a new partnership:

  • Research: Did your church partner with a school in the past? Find out if your church has a history with a school already. Inquire about the partnership and all its reasons why it no longer exists.
  • Look: Who in your congregation has a heart for education and would lead the coordination of the partnership? Look to God and ask God to open hearts and hands to serve in this new ministry.
  • Form: Recruit a leadership team (even if it is only 2–3 people) and begin to talk about and establish commitment.
  • Listen: Connect with school leadership and, together, agree upon the best service opportunities. Then, set your beginning goals of partnership.

Want to go deeper? Learn how:

  • Listen: Though you have established a partnership and it may be going swimmingly, firm up your listening-skill goals. Ask school administration if you may listen in on sessions for parents and students at PTAs or community meetings or in-service days. Learn about school needs for THIS coming school year.
  • Dream: Along with the school’s input, dream of creative ways to deepen your partnership. Ask your team, in light of your goals from the school’s suggestions, to imagine what it would look like if your school had every need it expressed. Lead them in creatively thinking about how to get there together, by God’s grace.
  • Training: Cultural Intelligence/Cultural Competency Training offers help in relating and working effectively across cultures. Building relationships of trust and mutuality takes time, effort and awareness. Cultural Intelligence assists in doing no harm while building these relationships.
  • Immersion: Find immersive experiences such as The Cost of Poverty Experience to better inform your church about your school. Provide debrief sessions after the immersive experience and think through actionable steps that impact your partnership for the good.

For more information on how your church can begin a church-school partnership or go deeper in an existing partnership, email Jurrita Williams Louie.

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2019