Tips & Tricks
Love is an Action Verb
– Susan Haglund
Bible clubs in public schools face some out-of-the-ordinary obstacles. But building relationships with school administrators, teachers and parents can lead to clubs with firm foundations. A few practical ways to begin are outlined here.
Promote according to school procedure.
Be ready with your posters and promotional pieces but don’t forget permission slips. Kids aren’t allowed to stay for club without a written go-ahead from their parents. Make a point to be at school registration, back-to-school nights and other events designed to get the new year rolling. Meet the kids and their parents, invite them to your club, answer questions and hand out brochures and permission slips. These slips should explain exactly what will be taught and happening in the club. Never hide the facts. As long as you are up-front with the truth and adhere to it you’re less apt to encounter complaints. Every school is different so make sure you’re committed to doing things their way.
Keep safety first!
Ask pertinent questions on your permission slip. What allergies does the child have? Who has permission to pick him up from club? Does the child walk home? Ride his bike? Is he a latchkey kid? Get emergency numbers, hospital preferences, etc.
Establish security precautions. For example, you should always have adults escort children to the bathroom or elsewhere if they need to leave before club ends. Provide all club teachers with basic first aid kits that include bandages, tissues and a chemical ice pack (no medications).
Have an orderly dismissal plan to avoid mishaps. We dismiss walkers first then escort latchkey kids to their room. Last is, parent pick-ups; that way we know all remaining children need a parent to leave. Make sure parents come into the school to pick up their children. Plan to stay at least half an hour after club if necessary. If no one comes to pick up a child after that time follow the school’s preauthorized procedure.
Inform parents about your precautions. This type of information is invaluable for worst-case scenarios but also helps parents see that you care about the safety of their kids.
Be responsible with registration.
Careful attention to club registration is essential. Be early to club and have a clear check-in system in place. Enroll only those with signed permission slips. Report to the office immediately any questionable situations such as “My mom said I could stay over with Jenny but I didn’t bring a permission slip.” Provide the office and latchkey teachers with a list of your enrollment as well as updates.
Maintain a good testimony.
Come prepared and maintain control of the class behavior. School authorities may not necessarily approve of your club’s presence. If they find that the students are leaving messes or are inadequately supervised they will have ammunition that could ultimately lead to your club’s removal from the school. But if visitors observe that your program is more impressive than other school clubs because of its quality instruction and positive results, you may acquire unlikely fans and support.
Love, love, love!
Love often requires sacrifice. School workers already know you give your time to work with the kids in Bible club. But do they know you care about their teachers?
Bring a basket of goodies for the teacher’s lounge. Thank the staff for what they do and let them know you’re praying for them.
Give love and dignity to the custodians. Show them how important they are by letting your kids do projects for them from time to time.
Be involved at the school if at all possible. Offer to help supervise on the playground or during lunch. Support school projects and sports. Volunteer to be a reading buddy or a tutor to struggling kids.
If your club is a love light in a public school, opposition will often crumble and your ministry may expand. It takes time and patience, attention to detail, genuine interest and involvement. But a little love in action will help you join hands with those who can impact your Bible club’s success.
Learn More about Good News Clubs
Find out what a Good News Club is and how you can get involved.