Three Keys to successful Public School Campus Ministry

03.24.2016

HaydenSummerhillToday’s guest blogger is Hayden Summerhill. Hayden joins the Cross Church School of Ministry from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is studying Student Ministry.

The public school campus has become one of the hardest places to carry-out ministry. For one, public schools are wary of any sort of religion having a place on their campus. Also, administration, teachers, and coaches are very protective of their students (as they should be) and can be very hard to connect with. Student ministers are consequently met with a big challenge. My experience on a student staff that has a growing presence in regional schools has taught me 3 important keys to keep in mind when reaching a public school campus.

1)   Establish trust with administration

If the administration of a school does not want you on its campus, then you will not be on its campus. To establish trust with administration a student minister must first start a relationship with the school’s staff. This can be done by simply bringing a small gift like a Sonic coupon, introducing yourself to the principals, thanking them for what they do, and letting them know how to contact you if they ever need anything. They may need help putting on a tailgate for a football game or providing a dinner for the school’s band prior to a concert. Be genuine and don’t have an agenda. The administration needs to know that you just want to love on them and help them love on their students.

2)   Help teachers and coaches care for students

All good teachers and coaches want to take care of their students in any way possible. Due to tight budgets and limited time, it’s often hard for them to do as much for their students as they would like. This is where the church can be active in the community and can come alongside teachers and coaches to care for students. Traveling sports teams and clubs can often use a meal. Coaches love it when people from the community stop by practice with popsicles to thank the athletes for their hard work. Since most athletic events happen off campus and students can voluntarily stay late, they make a great opportunity for inviting students to an event or share a message of encouragement. School clubs or sports teams that don’t have a large following could always use a few more fans in the stands. Just as with administration, let teachers and coaches know they can contact you if they need anything.

3)  Be present as much as possible

You can minister to public school students and faculty most effectively when you become a part of the “family.” Each school has its own unique culture and family-like atmosphere. The only way you can be moving with the school’s flow is by being present. Of course it is impossible to be present all the time, but if you establish even a weekly presence you can become part of the school. You can do this by visiting and loving on administration and faculty, showing up for events and competitions, and volunteering to speak or bring snacks to the school’s Christian clubs. You know you’re “in” when as soon as you walk in the door people are greeting you and glad to see you.

The goal for reaching the public school campus is to minister to students, faculty, and administration. Just like anyone else, they can see through false motives. Be the hands and feet of Jesus in your region’s schools. You may face opposition, but you can trust God to open some awesome doors.

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