Relaymedia

Adopt a School – Evangelistic Outreach to Public Schools

Apr 26, 2003 04:20 PM EDT

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The “Adopt a School” evangelistic plan expands its outreach to smaller rural churches and schools. The program, which existed for several years, challenges churches to impact students in their community with the Gospel by “adopting” a nearby school even if they do not have an organized youth ministry.



"Public school campuses are a mission field," said Len Taylor, overseer of student evangelism efforts. “We want individuals, churches, grandmothers or whatever to adopt the school and start a process to get the Gospel on that campus.



"The problem is that the large schools are not just in the largest cities. They're in rural America. And the small churches in rural America who don't have youth leaders haven't heard the message," he said, because much of the focus of Adopt A School communications has been through church staff members who work with youth.



According to Taylor, adopting a school is the first step towards evangelistic strategies, including student-led Christian clubs on campus and the commissioning of students as “campus missionaries.”



Small rural churches can impact students in their communities with the Gospel by "adopting" a nearby school -- even if they do not have an organized youth ministry. Adopting a school is the first step in a process that can lead to other evangelism strategies, including student-led Christian clubs on campus and the commissioning of students as "campus missionaries." But adopting a school can begin with something as small as a commitment to begin praying for students in a school, or finding ways of getting involved in schools.



The “Adopt a School” plan is detailed at www.everyschool.com. The website also suggests an approach called “First Things First,” in which three Christians meet three times a week to pray for each other and three non-Christian friends each. Taylor encourages individuals to take advantage of the resources offered on the website itself. A student, concerned adult or an entire church can adopt the church, and develop relationships through online communications.



Taylor told of one pastor in Texas who decided his church needed to adopt a school. He attended a basketball game as an initial show of interest and wound up talking with a teacher in the next seat about how his church could help the school.



"A year and a half later that church is doing a Teacher Appreciation Day," Taylor said. "... Now that church has a huge impact on the school."



He noted that the Adopt A School effort also helps build relationships with likeminded evangelical Christians of other denominations.



"What God's doing is incredible," Taylor said. "If a church will start a school campus ministry, and the students on campus start participating, that draws in ... other evangelical churches. Then the adults in those congregations also get involved."




By Pauline J.