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Prayer for Area Schools

Sasha Ross

Description

This seminar will explore ways your church can connect with the community by praying for area schools. 

Presenter

Sasha Ross

Director of the Women's Resource Center at La Sierra University in California.

Conference

Recorded

  • July 7, 2015
    12:15 PM
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It's on kindly introduce me. It's kind of neat for me to be able to look back on that project as we said that we worked on this in two thousand and thirteen and fourteen and then and I've moved on to other things in California so it's interesting to look back two years and think about what we did was particularly important about this project to me and that it with taking something that's vital to each of us are pro life and putting it in action and we've got a lot of effort into thinking about how to do that that was the first time the church hasn't necessarily done this type of activity and done a lot of other outreach and engagement projects and actually that was one of the risks that we talked about at the beginning of this we've done this before we've talked about engaging with the community and people get really involved and then you kind of peter out of after a while and how can we do it differently this time so that maybe it's more sustainable. People stay engaged it brings in new members and disappear and we end up doing recreating the wheel every couple years. So that's a little bit of the context in which we started this conversation. Our pastor Charles tappin you've known him came up from before him didn't like he had an initiative called raising the roof and it would by any means necessary not only to bring people into the church but also to reengage church members and to truly be a part of bringing the Lord's back. Second time Harold and incoming today and not think about it maybe someday but what can we do right now to make a difference in people's lives to change the way they think and to have an impact on the church today that the theme of the long term impact. So that raising the roof initiative gave us a starting point for the project but as all of you know particularly those of you who are here in the U.S. at the start always very well known in the community. When I go to church is a very large church it was the largest church that was affiliated with the general conference before the G.C. moved maybe ten or fifteen years ago and so it's become a park used to be full of ads in it and now it's about maybe a quarter hour business and those that are there are secular not as engaged as they used to be. But even outside of those that did know that happen if you have a large community in the Washington D.C. area that simply don't know what I mean it's our and we have a lot of research that shows that this is consistent nationally the party group comes apart at the Burnie group. It's an excellent research pastors often use them to kind of give an idea how we last week we were up in Austin with a North American division pastors and we were looking at their research in terms of youth mobilization the different the views between and didn't use them. You mean other Christian traditions or confectioner's national statistics across the board and the burner group has done that research that only five percent of the adults in the U.S. have a favorable a very favorable strong view of Baptist Church about one in four have a somewhat unfavourable or very unfavorable view of abstinence particularly among non-Christian and women have just don't even know what we are so this is the background of how we started this project trying to educate a little bit at least so that we can get some of the problems of misunderstanding or assumptions maybe that the project was trying to proselytize in public schools which if you know about separation of church and state to us that the theory of NO NO has been straightens and superintendents are not going to be favorable for that so that Christians are evident through an outreach project they're intensely gauge of public school is a little bit problematic and you could come to church have birth maybe like me that's a no go and it's an area that has been content. In the courts for many years so we wanted to think about this in terms of how do we both educate the community to reach out to the most vulnerable that the group of people children age wise that are really the most effective in the knowledge and yet do it in a way that sensitive to our history and to the political context in which we live and then the contextual factor that we have to consider is that and this is really a motivation for the project of the whole people who weren't connected from church even though the fight in the Fang is Christians are less likely to engage in activities such as Bible reading prayer. Well given that this is part of the motivation for it the type of project where the pastor said what can we do not only to engage externally but also to reengage internally. I go has gone from a church in a church is a very large church more than two thousand members where we had every most of our members living in Tacoma area to being this commuter church we are in the vast majority of the membership drive and after church they go home and they don't come back during the week so you have a very small group that can gauge to prayer meeting and Wednesday night activities and so on and that the vast majority are largely engaged and the pastors know that that's not just an engaged in activities but possibly also in their own devotional way and that they gossip and so on till this project this type of outrage. It's important not just to engage and educate the public about who we are. It's also important to the spiritual life of your own church members. Last Friday when I heard that it that I want to share with you the importance of doing this type of outreach for the development of children and this is because to my heart I worked in child protection. When I was with World Vision. I work on a university campus now reaching out not only to college aged but also adolescent and we know from research this is also part of the research that two thirds of those who accept Christ will do it before they turn eighteen. So if you want to have an impact on someone's life long term we really have to be thinking about young people and not just look at our outreach and evangelism and something for adults and in particular but a by age thirteen a child has already established his or her worldview so well that might change and hopefully it is refined owns men influenced by the experience of going to college and education and starting out in an adult by age thirteen twelve or thirteen kids kind of know how they see the world that we want that to be influenced by our value system by what we believe in so again another reason why when you're doing that outreach and it entered them not only to select or target in and out of their own target the young people but to engage them in that one of the great aspects of that project is that not only is there a pageant school from elementary middle school all the way up to community colleges we have finally the conflict has ended with about twenty schools that we've grown from sixteen of her second. They're really targeting young people who are doing it themselves using peer to peer approach where it's not adults telling the kids what to do with the kids coming up with their own ideas and their own initiative and in adults with the looking back. So providing supply providing a room a contact a structure but the kids really being able to make it whatever they want and they're talking to young people it's far more effective than adults trying to tell children what to think which we know doesn't work. OK. We quickly I just wanted to go through because again this is our own prayer life our own spiritual journey in action that is motivating each of us that were in need to deepen through and through involvement in these types of projects. These are some of the scriptures that were influential to us when we announced them in the book and we put some of the scriptures in the announcement that was on the bulletin. We put them in the letters that we write to school principals we put them in the letters that we sent for other projects that parents attend had held it is a little bit flexible. It's not only reaching out to schools and I'll tell you a little bit about what exactly we did but we also reached out to after the church acted by a tornado in Oklahoma in two thousand and thirteen. Today we're going to do a project with some of you have heard in Tennessee that African-American as it is charged one of the first churches that was burned after at that terrible water in that church. The backlash has been very significant. And so we're going to reach out and today we're going to do a project writing letters of support for that pastor and that church to thank him when we know what happened. We don't quite believe there's we are with you and that we love you. We think you know I'm praying for you that's what this type of initiative to has it wrapped in envelop communities or schools or individuals in prayer and support. It's putting your life into your private life into action through loving and supporting me during a very difficult time. So just some of the scriptures therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you meet the right person has great power and is it working for I know the plans I have for you to clear the work plan for welfare and not for evil to give you the future and the hope. First of all. And I urge that supplications prayers intercessions and think given be made for all people. Whatever you ask in my name that I will do that the father musical or fight in time and he told them a parable to the effect that they are to always pray and not lose heart. Intentionally selected verses that were inclusive network empowering in terms of how we were reaching out to others not rather than judgment on and if we wanted the verses in the motivation we were looking for inspiration that really helped us bring together in the cycle has a very diverse membership. It's one of the most diverse and historically active churches in Washington D.C. area it's not the United States of the whole and so the first is in our our involvement in the project in the members of the committee. We want to embrace that diversity and see that as a positive aspect of our unity in Christ. Some other verses exhort one another daily while it is called Today at last be heartened to see on it and let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good work exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching. Therefore country together and edify one another all verses to to focus on encouragement. Most importantly Train Up a Child in the way he should go and when he's all of he will not depart from it. Verse and Germany are you with. OK So just looking now at what exactly this prayer initiative dead when we initially advertise that this is what we asked church members to do sign up literally for a prayer time slot so a certain time during the week once a week I think it was that church members would pray they could be you know every Tuesday night so that the evening prayer group got involved. With a whole team that was dedicated every Tuesday night to pray for the world. Or you could do it individual you know for your lunch break or when you're driving home from work or to work you could do it individually it didn't have to be as a group. But basically you adopt a school a school or all of the schools as you'd like and then put your prayer into action in some tangible ways and so we suggested some ways such as not just praying once a week or up to that time signing up for the school newspaper sending a card or a gift of encouragement to the principal or the teachers donating classroom learning materials going to the school we had some of our elders on the committee who had already been very active in the community and had already been supporting and wanted to continue supporting the school inspections that that was something that they could contribute to those schools. Another aspect that has been very popular is after school tutoring and coaching. So again as a and unaffiliated. Heck you're not a parent but just that that member of the community that is engaged and want to invest in that school spending your time and your money and your time with all three in the affected particularly in low income school. I didn't mention it but some of the challenges that we here in the U.S. And I know this is exacerbated around the world even here in the U.S. some of the challenges that these public schools that we are working with not just public schools we also working with avenues but schools across the board are facing issues about action by insufficient resources problematic attitudes on the part of both students as well some of their parents' chronic poverty hunger abuse. We were worried about also the secularization of society the impact that that has on families. Immigration legislation is a very important issue in the D.C. area we have a very large migrant community at the same time. Now Clinton county and state budgets and so even social services that provide resources to low income families into the family and if you know how to get into the D.C. area you know where to come apart. And due to the couple. OK if you've heard of M S thirteen and some of these the credit in the blood taking there's extremely high impairment in a town that's immediately adjacent to it to come apart Cortlandt Park Project where we have international game prevention and response. Working with partners in Guatemala Honduras and various places in Central America that are linked through family links as well it was literally building with communities in metropolitan urban areas here in particular Washington D.C. Angeles Chicago a couple others but since this is a this is a highly charged not just won't come in a very vulnerable area. Kids are coming to our school even though I haven't a school has radically changed. When I was a kid there when I was a kid you know it was I guess I didn't really think about it that made it very racially diverse which is a good thing and yet economically challenged school where the parents are working two and three jobs very difficult for them to invest in the lives of their children or have the time time to be able to spend at the school. So even our cabinet schools are facing a lot of challenges from the demographic that the students are coming to us there from less affluent families than they once were facing greater barriers to completing their education let alone developing and having to face it for a healthy future. Even just mere nutrition some of you from outside the U.S. might be surprised at how bad it can be. There's Let me tell you it's that it's on par with some of the great challenge. Around the world are public schools and even our private schools even having a school there's a lot of challenges so they need our support this is why the project was so important and I think church members understood that so we had a great turnout at first the first week and we launched it we had forty five church members signed up very quickly that group particularly through involvement focused Sabbath school as well as prayer meeting so Sabbath school classes would adopt a school prayer groups we had a group in the in the prayer group that would pray to physically fit in school so it became I think mainstreamed through so you heard about it on a regular basis and they said initially we picked sixteen schools that ranged from elementary all the way through to community college. But we're all basically within a five or ten mile radius of like a church which is in a very urban metropolitan area so there were quite a few student and in school so we didn't have to limit it. Some of you might have far fewer schools that you're looking at you might just invest in two or three schools and have an even greater impact you don't have to have quite as broad a coverage as we had but we didn't want to limit anyone from the benefit of parents are obviously a very important benefits for the community and initially we didn't really know where that was not me just knew that we wanted to do something what that would be inable that wouldn't disappear after a couple weeks or a couple months and so we gave ourselves about a six or eight week timeline but that it has grown and continued in that is what we hope for that it would continue through that ongoing involvement of the church members. I've got to mention a little bit about how we put our group together. You won't know these individuals but I'll just tell you we actually kind of had a challenge in getting dropped support for this that they were really interested in the late members getting involved but they weren't quite so sure that it was something that they wanted to put a budget with. Or that they wanted to spend a lot of time and so it really became truly an initiative of the church. The laity their members and it's not a top down approach at all and so I was on the committee will became very important Joe and Chris Daly he was our chair he worked at the patent office are in for the government. Jennifer Bellamy she works for the A.C.L.U.. Marilyn image she's an attorney she works very closely with immigration issues. Sparky homestead I think he lives in publishing ran a business of some kind. John and myself. Marcus Robinson we had you had individuals who were already engaged in a community already versed in how to relate to nominate in this community and it and particularly I think Chris is white with a schoolteacher so she brought in that element as well. So the conversation was very rich with substance about what practical thing can we do and how can we have a tangible impact not just in terms of our or our understanding of the Scriptures but also on the actual needs of the schools where we're going and where are the schools that were engaging with so our start a time line was about three months really took us about a month maybe three or four meetings just kind of hashing out what it is that we wanted to do how we were thinking about it what their response was from the pastors whether we should scrap the whole idea if there was really support and if we thought we could get them going. We did a risk assessment of the work and I mentioned some of the factors I literally did a page of Iran from international much of it was going to be so I didn't prepare a situation or an outfit just to wrap my own head around you know not only the big picture and situational issues but that people factor in what their reaction might be what we were really up against. So that took some time. We want to watch it. Quickly though we didn't want to wait too long. So in April we launched it after getting the approval of the pastors introducing it to the church. Again that was to the Sabbath school and through their prayer groups to the evening prayer group and most importantly for any of you that are thinking of doing that the most important thing is to work directly with the superintendent's office and with city council so we worked create our share with very helpful in presenting that whole concept in the project to the to come apart City Council getting their value and working directly with the school superintendent and the teachers again to work out those communication issues because they understood what we were attempting to do. Not to proselytize but rather just to envelop their school and prayer to provide community support and any other type of sustenance or support that we could that they might ask for that if they had needs that they'd like to bring to our attention. And finally in May We also reached out to the school directly once we had the buy in from the superintendent. City council engage continue to engage pastors and church members and continue publicizing the project and they have been mentioned there was a terrible turn that hit went through Oklahoma and we took the opportunity to mobilize the same prayer committee on Tuesday evening to send letters we sent seven letters a letter to seven different or six different churches in the conference office saying that we had heard the news we knew what they were going through that we were praying for them. We have a picture of the letter that we sent here on the left. Our hearts are filled with much happiness as we hear the stories of the enormity of the devastation from the recent tragedies that have affected Oklahoma and they killed so many this past Monday so that the leaders of the. Maybe sent that letter to these charges again to encourage them even though they were the schools that we had targeted that was what we were engaged in church members to encourage others to plea putting your faith into action in October. This is around the time that I moved to California so unless I have the most adopted it I don't have one of the charter members that this heart hearing this Karen card club that was started at the local cycle school but Don and some others are very influential in saying OK now how do we engage children themselves. So we had at that point about six months or eight months into it really just been focusing on adults and I think what what makes the project so successful is that it shifted into working directly with you and so they created it like a school. This kid Kiran car club and we're going to do a little project of that making cars like the kids to engage young people in reaching out to others directly and in the following spring. They had a renewal service that renewal of the commitment both with church members as well as for principal and then making plans to continue doing that so having more meet and greet those are this summer in August as well as the holiday prayer blessing and number and continuing next year again to invite a school principal to cycle church have a luncheon with them during the week during their work time meet with them I can find out you know how they're going what can we pray for like we support how can we be more effective in lifting you up to enable you to do what you do better. These are some of the cards that the group has me so to have been really helpful in creating supercard that are praying at the beginning or at the entrance of the school not just the individual small size that lay twenty by thirty big supercars. It's one that everybody in the school can seem kind of generic conversation. So these are some are so you have some more pictures this is done with Chris Daly the chair of the primitive committee paying tiny Grant will be draw schools in our area. Carol Highlands on wintry cool so the cards are just again a way to kind of generate conversation. Anybody who walks in the front door knows that something different that they're cool that something's happening and we had a great response. So as I mentioned this is an example of a letter that we sent on the right is an example of some of the feedback that we've gotten. I don't don't have a copy but I know we've got a very kind letter from several of the pastors in Oklahoma after we did their parents except where we sent these letters to them after the journey out so I just had the letter that we sent them I don't have the letters that response that they sent but I do have a letter response that the pastor has to gun violence. Chris Daly the chair of our group Tom Reynolds at the church were being Thank specifically for the support that they've given to the Montgomery Blair High School which is a very large public or to come apart for Silver Spring area and so I just want to wrap up my question of the presentation I went again to exhort to you obtaining an answer to prayer is not the highest goal the purpose of prayer is that we will be one with God's will so that God can work in this is an opportunity to let God work through us to take us into areas we might never otherwise go and do something that we might might seem so insignificant. And suddenly to look at teacher or parent just the idea that someone cares and that someone understand what they're going through they have no vested interest for any other reason but they are when the person they care that can make a huge difference in their life. So I hope that each of you have influence in schools. Even in the local area that you could pray for and strengthen. Find creative ways to do that and bring others in your church community project entitled to do that. So before we move forward here to this project everything until we have one young people has been really active in this curing car club. We wanted to have a question thanks for correctly by the way her and her brother Sebastian is sitting. Would you just wave your hands and Isabella you think with one. As I remember her she moved from Sly go after one year. But as I remember Isabella she was very creative. I have heard a memory verse club where we could learn memory verses with instruments. Isabella love the drums and she was always thinking of something different. Isabella take with something different and that's what we want to encourage kids to do that is to parrot what we're doing or imitate it but to take that idea and go with it she said of their school now but she still remembers the things about the car globe. She's a rising sixth grader very sick about one group might think it's OK to tell the group what you thought about the club what when did you first hear about it and what was your first impression. Well when I first heard about it I decided to join because I knew that I was in imminent risk our witness Reynolds and it was really fun so I wanted to try. It Kiran Karnik club because that sounded like a great idea and that we could send cards to different schools and stuff and tell them that we know what's happening and we care. And so I don't really want to do that. How long were you involved and what types of things did you make. I was involved for about one year and we made like a bunch of cards. We made a super card on time. You should read up on there. And I'm like this tree grass with all these flowers and stuff and it's a big club. OK And. And we made like different cards and just paid about the school and had devotionals about them. Had you heard some of these other schools before. Yes I did. So they're in where you live. How did you get an idea for who you're writing to. Some of them I heard about but the others were very distant and. But yeah. If you ever think about the students that you were writing to like did you get to meet them or engage with them at all. I think we did one time and like one of the principals came and we met with him and he told us stuff and so would you do this again which you did you have a good experience doing it. Yes I did. I had a very good experience. Now it's your turn to ask he's going to go. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Welcome back to school. So if you do at home as well and that's what we want. Do in school. But that's a way that you taking something that I had one car or not or tell me I don't like literally every time we go to a craft store. We asked about the course but the idea that those kids in a way to make them here is what you like to do most about the car. Hello. And I was like oh oh oh oh oh oh oh. Thank you so much for being here. Your memory. So now we're going to do. Now that's part of our go quickly to is it as a lot. Yes and is a fellow to cut a visit. We had like pastors shepherds like respect and Moscow. She is one of our. And you will start very powerful courage. And one of the purpose of the harassment twenty years. We have I spent some time in house create something I don't probably know and so we were able to buy our older and be willing to come and work with it is what impressed me was in past talk talk talk talk you know who you're talking to and balance of what you're doing. We talked about where and a lady called the school one day she had time to read. I went back to me that I had this army when he read the first evident close look at what you see on the you know the ending. But that's the nature of the schools and whole schools if we go around and pretty prompt remember but after a while what they wanted to do was call them. Without this and all of the names out there every home and one morning. Let me know that one of the schools on lockdown because I suppose you think you know if we were able to get where you're going for that often. There was this great. And you told me as an example of one of the school's supercard we do crack in Carson City make it all and semi corrupt it was already old to go. But then it is fine right. But that we need to do a car quickly then use some commercial grass is one but because we're so hard to get the most important thing and then we don't go on it seems you know the isn't there a good site that the advantages that they're there and you know our graphic are legal or so but the electronic didn't have that nickel quickly and we responded to several specific. So you know I don't know anybody to the long range. Well there were several countries that were affected by what we do. Well this isn't our. Our drug trafficking. You know this is quite challenging. Still she was able to strike and we left it and that is encouraging people to actually or relative support in the country. I took that picture and we went in there just for this one part of it because it is about. It was it's very serious. And I think about going to her for the traffic stop that without making her doctor. And then about two hundred by James why they had stopped traffic. So it's all going to come apart and it's very thing. But we were able to The Carter Center band. Oh one of the another activity with schools or kids call them were everybody. If so what are your great lines to take us all in his car and we drove around to different schools and we took pictures of school. So because this is what this looks like so that was interesting. Those ones to your left or you there. And as we know this. And what works in terms of academics and here and I think I've talked with regards to this time to come back and to not only come by go and pick him up but he said No I get it taken place or that great car it's got a party. But not only their early twenty's and early all their talk about actively you know this early. It was still setting up to work out the Jackson. So kind to this worth of aggravation. And it was brilliant. Oh great day. Now what I want to tell you if you like their asses have a smartphone that you could get this. Yeah that's for sure. I don't know if it's a different country. Probably. One to get this passed along and hands on Facebook. There are many things since and that's what all the people out there. Post your card with me and you know tell you how they are very willing and they'll tell you about blood and you will probably already that So they'll tell you what that is all one ever an awful long time for our churches. With me we have an article about the car. Sure those who are supporting have a Church week or two years old and we try to help if I'm going to be too long or trust changes to the resources. I tried that number eight hundred out of that list. I don't think that list I don't want answers but we need to our ideas for praying for was great for each one with Scripture. This right there. Oh here's a hard winter Hallmark cards and they're reading a script is what it will. There are many of them who are personally I think shamelessly borrow things done differently than what happened that Churchill's an hour or so for me. There are you know we just have to go. So we say things so we weren't so much to take them at me. They all agree that there is a ball here. They still work on that we must win this. We had a blessing to get through to the voters. That was. And then there's something called anything for free. Why did it took five years old. I don't go and I know you know. All right. God knows that the three cycles and you can see where you are there was three Gold Silver Spring Maryland here is that we have a lot of different. And then commercial. In conclusion connecting with great effort here. Car Care. OK with your. And you sometimes like to write that very thing you will be able to go online and that will say about the first or some other. Well all of them will be available. Thanks to all of us. This is organic all year. Right. I think that it was then when we try to get one thing. Yes for me. And when you go there it will take you to look OK or if you have your your area where you are in yours. I don't know whether you know what we'd like to ask you we have bases for me. People we want to do to this church and read what we can do. We're already table and table over here so that will want to share right. We have them and you don't have to worry about them. Oh you don't have to worry about bailing it once you write it and we will tell the cartoons that have passed their hardiness. There are still college you know there are certain painting in a little bit later that church. But are there are concerns there from average Americans or target with our perspective. Well I found that double check on this. The church was not totally Dame's the fire department got there and time too. No the Bible there are so good curry but that is right. But there are well paying very much what we also. So this project for the idea is that you there and you've seen that we're already old you probably are correct in your all nighter being prayed for but time of year where I spent reading right. But I appreciate that kind. Is that true and so they started it so helpful. And this was only the dress are right. Tray magazine is no longer available but prayer connect is so you can go to the website prayer connect and you could subscribe to that Indianapolis now so pray magazine was closed out some nav press but our Connect is quite a bit like it because the editor is Jonathan Graff who started training magazine and is powerful. We're going to. But we remember after two cars here. Yes Facebook play cards right. So it's not a better place for it. Thank you. And there are they build a way to connect with little communities. Call them to find ways to connect with a Web site dedicated to spreading God's word through free German audio and much more. You would like to know if you'd like to sleep. W W W.

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