The first question to ask is 'why bother with schools?' and extended schools?
Andy Hickford in his book Meltdown in Schools says...
'that if we are not meaningfully involved in schools then we are missing our culture as a whole' and he pleads to Churches to get involved in their local schools. He says schools are at a crisis point, just ask a teacher!
Centres of community
Culturally speaking Churches are not the centre of our communities like they once were. Many Churches are there for hatching, matching and dispatching and often little else. So what would be the centre of our community now, of course it depends where you live, but it seems to me that schools could fit that bill in our rapidly changing society.
I believe that schools are the most natural centre of our fragmented communities. Every morning either myself or my wife Clare take our kids to school, we meet local people, we chat to them we pick them up at the end of the day, we go to kids parties, we are involved in the parent teacher association and I even do school discos! So it really is a point of connection where all people meet regardless of faith and social standing. If we want to reach young people then school is a good place to start as an amazing 98% of young people "officially!" go to school anyway.
Schools a good place for the church to be
If we have established that schools are a good place to work in then the next step is to check out motives, lets ask ourselves the brave question why do I want to do schools work, is it because I just want to promote my youth club on a Tuesday night, get more bums on pews? or is it because I genuinely want to serve in some way. I have found that if we go in with the right attitude not only are schools more open to Christian involvement but strangely we see growth and a transfer of young people to our out of school clubs anyway. Thinking kingdom not youth program first seems to work - err I wonder where I have heard that before...
A number of churches in the Eastern Synod are linked ecumenically to projects that employ Christian Schools Workers click on the links shown below: