Ideas and Resources for Engaging Local Schools

02.17.15 | Young Peoples Ministry, Wellness and Missions | by Christie Latona
    We believe that every person has the right to education. We also believe that the responsibility for education of the young rests with the family, faith communities, and the government. In society, this function can best be fulfilled through public policies that ensure access for all persons to free public elementary and secondary schools and to post-secondary schools of their choice.

    The Social Principles and Creed of the United Methodist Church

    At its 2008 General Conference, the worldwide United Methodist Church adopted an initiative to engage in ministry with the poor. Within the Baltimore Washington Conference, local churches have been encouraged to adopt schools in their ZIP codes.  

    While every church operates in a unique context, with different ways of addressing the needs of its community, partnering with schools compels each congregation to discern a vision where your church’s mission, the needs of a local school, and your congregation’s distinctive capabilities converge. 

    Resources from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership

     Engaging Local Schools

    If your congregation is considering a school-focused initiative, our Engaging Local Schools video resource can help you take the first steps. You will learn: why schools should matter to the church; how to discern a vision for supporting local schools; how to respond to the needs of your local schools by using the unique gifts that your church has to offer; models and best practices for ministries supporting students and teachers; and more. Engaging Local Schools is ecumenical and is designed both for self study and for use with groups in your church. Available in DVD/CD and downloadable formats. Learn more and watch introductory videos.
    $75 at the Church Leadership Store

     50 Ways to Engage Local Schools

    Learn practical, actionable strategies to help your congregation engage local schools better. Topics include Build Relationships and Trust, Cultivate Congregational Support and Awareness, Help Students Succeed, Support Parents and Family, and more. Learn more.

     Effective Church-School Partnerships
    Education reform advocate Nicole Baker Fulgham outlines some key lessons on what works and what doesn’t work in church-school partnerships, stressing the importance of building relationships and meeting genuine needs. Learn more.

    Other Resources

    The ABCs of Back-to-School Outreach
    Whether your congregation is large or small, Barbara Dunlap-Berg provides examples of creative ways to reach out to students and families in a new academic year. Learn more.

     Partner Today
    This website, a church/school partnership project of the Nashville Area of the United Methodist Church, features great ideas, resources, and success stories for all congregations. Learn more.

     Back to School Resources from Discipleship Ministries (United Methodist Church)
    Resources to prepare children, youth, and adults for the back to school season in diverse school environments. It includes small-group studies, liturgy, books, prayers, and more! Learn more.

     Church-School Partnerships (United Church of Christ)
    This website from the United Church of Christ offers valuable information on church-school partnerships. Topics include: What Can Your Church Do Through Partnership to Support Children, Teachers, and Your Public Schools?; Experiencing Public Schools, A Process of Immersion and Discernment; and Whose Child Left Behind? Why? Learn more.

     Identifying Community Ministry Needs by Listening – Joy F. Skjegstad suggests do’s and don’ts when meeting community residents.