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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Want to inspire kids for daily discipleship? Run a School Bag Sunday

If you’re looking for ways to inspire and encourage your congregation for their daily discipleship, ‘School Bag Sunday’ is a great idea to embed in your church’s rhythm. Held in early September, it’s an invitation for kids to come to church with their satchels, folders, and backpacks in tow, ready to embark on a new school year or start at a new school.  

It’s a brilliant opportunity for the church to stand with them, praying for God’s blessing on them as they learn and affirming that what they’re doing day-to-day really matters to him. Some churches give gifts of rulers, pencils, keyrings for backpacks, or things like that: small practical gifts to remind the kids that the church is praying for them and that God is with them every day.   

For some churches it’s a great follow on to a holiday club, offering an invitation to something more ‘normal’ in the church life, while showing care for the kids as they start back into the new term. It’s also an easy, low bar for parents of holiday club kids to connect with the wider church family.   

What would the kids in your church say if they were asked to come and share about their frontlines – their time with schoolmates who don’t follow Jesus? What would the adults learn as they listen to stories from those who we often hear the least from? They may be noisy, frequently interrupting the quiet moments in our services, but how often do we stop to really hear what they have to say about their everyday lives? 

As well as a great moment to celebrate your kids and young people, School Bag Sundays are the perfect moment to encourage and pray for teachers, lecturers, uni students, and those who work in education, both the obvious and the easily missed: support staff in educational settings, admin teams, caretakers, teaching assistants, and beyond. You could invite them to share stories from their frontlines, spotlighting the big and small things God’s doing in their everyday lives. Or you could highlight mission partners who have an educational focus, or make the link between the gathered ministries you run for youth and children and the impact they have in their schools. 

Perhaps there are kids in your church community who don’t feel valued, who don’t find school easy, or whose behaviour is challenging. What does it look like to give them a couple of minutes of the church’s attention and speak of God’s great love for them?   

There may well be other moments in the year when you stop and pray for those in education. We’re often good at this when people are facing stress and anxiety around exam times, but it strikes me that this is a more hopeful moment to stop and pray; a better moment to pause and listen to our brothers and sisters share about their frontlines. Having taken the time to hear at the start of the year, how much more will we understand when we come to pray for those times of pressure and stress.   

Take something simple like the start of a new school year and make it a chance to listen, to welcome, to understand, and to pray for blessings on our young people.

Jo Trickey
Church Advocate

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