On Tuesday I went to the The Christian Schools Work Conference in Guildford (I’ll post more on it later) but Nick Shepherd was one of the key-note speakers, talking on the topic of Schools’ Ministry as Mission based on his Grove booklet with the same title, so I thought I’d buy a copy and read it on the train home.
At 25 pages long it’s a short introduction to a view of schools work and ministry as mission. Nick starts by giving a brief overview of schools ministry, before spending sometime looking at the concept of the mission of God. He helpfully quotes Andrew Walker:
The church is the community that continues to participate in [the gospel] drama and to insist that this drama is the definitional account of its life in the world. (p. 7)
He then goes on to argue the need to see evangelism as demonstration, dialogue and discernment.
In part 3 Nick highlights the inter-linking of education and mission over the years, starting with the first cathedral schools. He highlights how schools are not just becoming the centre of our communities, but are actually large communities in their own right with influence over both the pupils but also the wider community.
Section 4 draws all these different points together, to see schools’ ministry as mission. Nick’s key thought focuses on Paul’s presentation to the Areopagues, and how we can utilise his evangelism in schools, especially through the role of chaplaincy which is:
never to really fit but always to be available, never to be fully sure of your role and always to be out of your depth! (p. 23)
Nick’s booklet is a helpful introduction to an area in which more thinking is finally happening in and around.