This is part 2 of a 3-part series on "Making the Most of Your School Year". Listen HERE to the full conversation with our Public School parents or find it on the Watermark Family Ministry Podcast. Be sure to check out Part 1 on Private School and Part 3 on Homeschool for helpful principles specific to those educational environments.
At Watermark we’ve learned to treat church as a battleship, equipping us to deploy our gifts, rather than as a cruise ship. This school year is an opportunity to put your training into action as you bring your giftedness to the mission field of public school. Here are a few ideas of how you can make the most of this school year:
Last semester at dinner one night our kindergartner Caden asked “Can something be older than God?” We recognized a teachable moment and leaned into the conversation. “Why are you wondering about that buddy?” He replied, “Today in class we were studying trees. One tree was really old, and our teacher said, ‘This tree is so old, it may be older than God.’” My wife asked, “What did you think about that?” to which Caden replied, “I don’t think anything can be older than God.” We said, “That’s right, buddy. So, if something like that happens again, let’s say ‘In our family we believe that nothing is older than God.’” We role played the situation again, then role played a few other situations that may come up in school with teachers or friends, and finally helped them to memorize the phrase “In our family we believe that…”.
This situation is a microcosm of the faith-testing that our children will receive throughout their life. We love the opportunity that public school provides us to shepherd and coach our children to respond respectfully and winsomely through these conversations. As parents, not only are we the main discipler of our children, we are also the main educator of our children; it is our responsibility to help them develop a Biblical worldview.
I’ve heard stories of Christian parents whose children had a Christian teacher, and they went the whole year without ever knowing the other was a believer and connecting about their beliefs. Our faith should pervade every aspect of our life, and people shouldn’t be around us long before they bump into our faith.
To help this happen, at the first parent/teacher conference of the year we’ve been diligent about saying, “We are a faith-based family. We are concerned about our child’s academic growth, but just as concerned about their emotional, social, and spiritual growth. How are they treating their peers? How is their attitude? How is their work ethic?” And before the conference is over asking “How can we pray for you this year?” Let’s not miss the opportunity to invest in and minister to teachers.
The first step to ministry is having a relationship, and relationships start by learning names. How many names can you learn of classmates, faculty, and other parents? And as you learn names, and develop relationships, and are known as a Christian, ministry opportunities will start falling into your lap (and if they don’t, go ask the school counselor – they will provide some for you)! Not only is fulfilling the Great Commission a blessing to a Believer, it is a double-blessing when you get to do that in front of and alongside your children, modeling for them what it looks like to live out our faith.
In summary, we are either a missionary, or a mission field. Let’s be on mission at our school this year. It’s so easy to slip into a consumer mindset, criticizing the cruise ship. But we are called to be producers, to be foot soldiers in God’s army. It is the responsibility and privilege of a Believer to “rebuild the old waste places and raise up the foundation of many generations (Isaiah 58:12).” This school year is your opportunity. Make the most of it. Let’s go, church.