by Sarah Lee and Ronda Malin
Being involved with the local public school system has been one of the most rewarding and incredible experiences for our family ministry team here at Oakbrook Community Church. For us, it all started with an art teacher who attended our church. With a dream of seeing an inward attitude grow into an outward action, the school adopted the Core Essentials curriculum. As a way to help the school center around the curriculum, we began as a ministry providing an entertaining assembly, based on the value for that month. From that, we are now serving seven elementary schools and impacting 3,500 students each month—60 percent of which would have never stepped foot in our door!
It’s all about trust. Start with a relationship when approaching a school. We think a great way is to find someone in your church who has a vested interest in the school, is involved (a teacher, administrator, or parent), or wants to use their influence to build credibility on your behalf. This allows you, as a church, to have an open door of communication.
Offering to do just one “no strings attached” School XP at an assembly or PTO meeting could be an easy step in the door. With School XP, you are sharing values that schools (and parents!) want children to learn. After you introduce a school to an exciting experience and they see the star-power quality of your performers, your concrete position is inevitable!
Another way to build a positive relationship with your schools is to gift the Core Essentials curriculum to the school. Who doesn’t want a school where they: treat others right; make smart decisions; and maximize their potential? This flat-fee curriculum is a user-friendly way that schools can implement values into their school culture.
When met with resistance, take time to build a relationship with a school. There are other ways to serve your local schools. Click here for some examples. Listen to your schools and take the opportunity from their lead. Soon, you’ll be sharing your influence for good all through your community.
Sarah Lee leads the production of the family ministry at Oakbrook Community Church, and has partnered with schools to take that experience into the public school systems around Kokomo, Indiana. Sarah has been producing a Family Experience at Oakbrook for eight years. She is also a certified Zumba instructor! Sarah lives in Lafayette, Indiana, with her husband, Mike, and four-year-old son, Mason.
In 1985, Ronda and Mark Malin founded Oakbrook Church in Kokomo, Indiana, where she has served as the director of family ministry. Eight years ago Ronda and her team started KidStuf at Oakbrook. In the last two years, God has given them the opportunity to influence the next generation via a relationship with public schools. She has led the charge taking Core Essentials into four public schools.