Sometimes I hear Pastors and church members saying to me, “Why don’t we see children coming to our churches?”. This is an important question, but have you ever thought of going where they are and reaching them outside of church?

It is an amazing privilege that I have to visit schools in my local area, speaking at school assemblies to a thousand children over a school term, but you may be saying, “How can we do this in our church?”. You may not have people with the skills to do school assemblies – and even if you have then you should make sure they get training – but this is just one of many ways that you can reach the children in your local school.

Go as a servant, using your skills to be salt and light in the school.

Here are a few ideas that you might like to think about and try out:

Pray for your local school
Do you have children or grandchildren in a school near you? Do you know other Christians with children linked into that school? You could start a monthly or termly prayer meeting for the school. Pray for the teachers by name, if you can, and over time if you build a relationship with the school then you could let them know that you are praying for them. Some non-Christian teachers may even appreciate that you care enough to pray. Prayer changes things!

Get involved in your local school
If you are a parent or someone who is retired with experience working with children then why not think about volunteering in your local school? Go as a servant, using your skills to be salt and light in the school. You could offer help with reading in your local primary school, or even volunteer as a parent governor or part of the Parent Teacher Association. Love in action like this is always a great way to make a difference.

Be aware that some children and teachers may not have any experience of church, so this is a great opportunity to show them that you support them and that all are welcome in the church family.

After school or lunchtime club
It could be that you have skills your local school would appreciate using to start a lunch time club. This might be encouraging a faith-based community in the school, or it may be that you have a practical skill that they could use. I run a guitar club in a local school near to our church one lunch time a week and we learn a mixture of songs, including some Christian ones!

Special local community events
Putting on a special event at your church for the children in your local high school or primary school is a great way to build links between the church and the schools. Get in contact with your local youth workers and see if they’d like to be on board, as well as making the most of the fantastic resources available from organisations like Scripture Union. Christmas and Easter are great times to do these events, and with the right event and attitude they can be really positive ways of engaging children with the gospel message. Be aware that some children and teachers may not have any experience of church, so this is a great opportunity to show them that you support them and that all are welcome in the church family.

Lastly, perhaps you are called to do an assembly!
Believe it or not, you may have the skills to offer to do a school assembly. If you would be willing to do it, then talk to people already doing assemblies and get the training you need so that you can do it well, leaving a positive impression in the school you are working in. Don’t be put off if this door doesn’t open easily as many schools have had bad experiences of the ‘Christian visitor to our assembly’ and so they may be reluctant to open the door to someone they don’t know, even if you are the local minister! If you want some help in this area then I’d suggest seeking out others near you who have experience in this vital area of ministry.

Children matter to God and perhaps the most important thing you can do is pray that the schools across this nation stay open to Christians who have the skills to share Jesus with them where they are.