“Is school evangelism my role or the role of Christians already there?” Chris Curtis
There are so many pupils out there you will miss a generation of young people, but then you aren’t there on the ground 25 hours a week so surely you need to encourage the young people. You try to do both but you always end up prioritising one or the other.
If you’re trying to grow a little plant where you encourage and grow the Christians, you might close them down if you’re doing a big show with great assemblies etc., you end up blocking their sunlight.
If 80% was directly with young people and sharing faith with them, and 20% was helping Christian young people would it be more affective then vice versa. What is the most effective for the Kingdom.
“Is the Gospel getting lost?” Jo Lazenby
Worked for a rural group in Somerset, and more recently XLP in London. Go into a school and work out how we can support them and build relationships from them, e.g. mentoring, pastoral care. Schools give us lots of opportunities, how do we work out what to say yes or no to. If we focus on pastoral care do we lose our opportunity to be explicit about our faith, cf. Isa 61:1.
What do we miss in communicating the Gospel, do young people make the connection with our love and care to God’s love for us. We tell young people that their value isn’t dependant on their exam results, but do we tell them it is about their value in God’s eyes.
When we do funding and evaluation we do statistics, what if that was for God – how many have heard the gospel, how many have been saved?
If we wanted to share it more, would we even be able to do that, would schools still accept us?
“Width or depth .. is it one or the other?” – Matt Wild (CROPS, Peterborough)
The wide scatter gun approach shifts to the concept of “Regular Christian input in every Peterborough School” – that’s a challenge to do it when you have a number of schools, e.g. in Peterborough have over 70 schools with only 3 staff and some interns.
Project 567 focussed on yrs 5-7 aims to present the Christian message, and help to make transition to secondary school smoothly. Do we only offer it to key schools, or do we try and work with all schools?
When does the opportunity become a threat as you only have limited resources – people burnout trying to accomplish too much, and this can cause issues not only with our health but also with our values.
Why do we want to do the wide – external pressures – key supporter sees their child’s school not mentioned in the newsletter, a head teacher who attends church and wants more of your organisations input, is the driver for the wide wanting to be seen as a success?
Drivers for the deep can be the amount of fruit you can reap, the knowledge of what can open up once a relationship has been established.
“Staff or students … who am I there to minister to?” – Gordon Raggett (CRIBS, Bexley)
Schools worker managed to get an opening into a primary school that had had no Christian input, developed with assemblies and lessons. She was asked to become a Governor, and offered to go on some school trips to cement trips. When she got the invite to the Christmas Nativity Play she knew she’d made it. The pupils loved her, she was looking to just continue Christian input, and maybe add a lunch club – the supporters were thrilled with her work in this new school.
She got to know the staff, especially in the residential times, the Head Teacher got quite warm and friendly – she was a safe listening ear, the school was struggling with a dip and OFSTED looming, the stress was growing in the school. The friendly chats with the Head became a little more intense, the atmosphere was different. She found herself thinking more about the staff rather than the lesson plans, she was finding she was carrying a heaviness, she knew things that other Governors knew, it was all quite awkward.
She couldn’t communicate this to her trustees and board – would they really get what she was about so she spoke in vague terms as she wasn’t sure if she’d be supported in it. She often prayer walked, and studied the Epistles as Paul related to this.
What does it mean to change culture, it seems so complex, how can you introduce the Kingdom of God in a stressed environment? What if the teachers were so stressed that their lessons were really poor, what if she offered less lessons and help teachers more.
How could she do things like a 3 course meal to say thanks to the teachers, what would the trustees say?
“Reflective Room or Christian Prayer Space … how much does language matter?” Emily Bosworth (LFIS)
Ran two weeks of prayer back to week, first week as a Christian prayer room running lessons on what is Christianity, an explicit Christian prayer space, engaged well with Christians and Muslims. In another space it was Reflection, and the same lessons happened, but the young people were given space to Reflect.
School A is Church of England school and keen to share Jesus, School B moderates the language. The feedback from both said it was peaceful, it was full of truth, it was a good opportunity to think about God.
God is big enough to take these young peoples questions so do we therefore not need to worry about language. Does it matter who we think and pray too – should we not encourage young people to direct their prayers to God. Are we not in danger of just saying to young people is make a wish.
Would you do multi-faith, standard answer is no but we would partner with others. Normally the door gets shut down and it gets labelled in a spiritual discussion rather than Christianity. The young people know Emily is a Christian, but they think we are just nice and make themselves feel good, but what does that mean for the Christian young people – does it not just encourage people to see Christians as super nice people.
“Abstinence or safe sex” Rachel Gardner
Apparently two things that blow peoples mind – religion and sex. Interestingly this is the only one that engages the wider society. Not a conversation about what Christian schools workers, or what young people need to know for safe sex. But the debate isn’t working, we still have damage of young people, in one sense she couldn’t care what we do, surely free chlamidya kits in every school, and condoms given out by Christian schools workers if she thought it would prevent another abortion, chaotic pregnancy, STIs etc.
14 yr old Kieran in the summer at a PRU was suspended internally because he was given a blowjob at the bus stop, 17 yr old lost her tights and virginity on the same night. Rachel is pro wrestler, debating it, and is uncomfortable with Christians who only want abstinence, surely it is absolute and moralistic. But equally comfortable with liberal sceptics who want young people to be told to do whatever you want so long as you do it safely, it is defeatist, and fails to understand the context of young people.
Youth workers say save sex is for marriage, but that is a practice, what is the belief. Here’s a few different ones:
- God hates chaos caused by selfish sex
- God cares passionately for young people’s sexual life
- Even legal behaviours can be damaging
- Sexual intimacy can bring about one flesh, cf. Mt 19
- God wants to deal with lots of areas with young pople and sex might not be that area for now
- Refusing to teach no as a powerful word for decision is powerful
- We value grace and mercy.