The new school year is here! Students, teachers and administrators all will be heading back to school. There will be all kinds of back-to-school sales, promotions, events and attention given to the new school year. The traffic will get busy, school zones will be watched, school activities will be numerous and teachers will begin to teach classes full of students.
This also is a great opportunity for Texas Baptist churches to connect to their communities by praying for their teachers and administrators, maybe providing a breakfast and some kind of survival kit and/or inviting them to church to have a special service or recognition for their work and their calling to lead and teach.
It also is an opportunity to provide school supplies to assist families and children, to have a special service to pray over the families and students, and maybe to organize a prayer walk around the school on a Saturday to ask God to bless the school and school year.
What a great time for Texas Baptists across the state to affect our public schools. I use the word “affect” because it is an opportunity for our churches to act on or produce an effect on our communities and schools. God has called us to be his witnesses in “Jerusalem”—our homes, our neighborhoods and our communities. What a wonderful way to love our communities and be connected to educating and training our students.
Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth.” Not only do we have the opportunity to add flavor and seasoning to our communities through the Spirit of Christ who lives in us, but we are a preservative to our culture against corruption and evil that happens all around us. We bring change. We bring healing, and hope and life. We can bring a difference to our schools and teachers and students—a difference schools and communities need and many of them are requesting in faith-based efforts to assist or share in training students today.
This is a time of year for Texas Baptist churches to be ambassadors “as though God were making his appeal through us.” As this new school year begins, we need a concentrated effort to affect our schools by asking God to use us to extend life. We should look for opportunities to connect, or maybe commission a few people from the church to be missionaries to their local schools. We are called into our world and communities to be Christ, to think and be used in kingdom work.
Start praying today about the schools across our state. It is a great mission field for us to connect and bring change. Let’s go to school!
René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.