Missional: On Campus

I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately about the “second place” in my life – that is, where I work in order to provide for my family. (The “first place” in my life is my family and home-life and the “third” are those places where I hang out when I have time.)

My employer is a local independent school district. I work as a long-term substitute teacher and after school Detention Hall supervisor at an area high school. During the regular school year I work 50 hours per week. When it’s football season I work for the district’s athletic department as a stadium gate-keeper at home games and my work week hours increase to 54.

Being at school as much as I am, I have the opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of people … a lot of people! This year our student enrollment is about 3,000. There are 245 professional staff members on campus and many others who serve in support roles – para-professionals, short- and long-term substitutes, custodial staff, and law enforcement personnel. 

As a follower of Christ, I know that our public schools are mission fields. I have always understood that I have a responsibility to represent Christ while I am at work and that I am to share Him in word and in deed as I have the opportunity. I commit myself to that every day and have had opportunities to pray with a number of students and staff members over the course of the years for their personal, health, material, and spiritual needs.

Recently, at the Verge 2010 Missional Community Conference, I heard Jeff Vanferstelt from Soma Communities church in Tacoma say something that made me think all the more about being a Christ-follower on the job. I wrote it down in my notes, but rather than try and paraphrase his words, let me quote his statement as I have found it in the Soma School notes.

First, the Soma notes say:

The forms and activities that the Church equips for and leads her people into must be the stuff of everyday life or the Church will merely be events and programs we attend as we fit them in and around the rest of life. This often leads to a de-sacredization of the majority of life, robbing our people of living the Gospel out in the everyday, OR to a life packed with ‘church’ programs pulling people out of the missionary context.”

The notes then repeat what Jeff said at Verge that impressed me,

Every believer is called to full-time paid ministry – God just chooses to route our paychecks through different sources.”

The statement made me begin to think about my job in a different light, from a different perspective. The Lord used it to remind me anew that He has placed me in a particular profession, in a particular location, to be used of Him to reach a particular people for His glory. He has caused me to understand that the high school where I work truly is my “mission field.”

So, I have prayed that the Holy Spirit will help me to see the students, staff, and support staff as He sees them – people in need of  a Savior for the forgiveness of their sins, comfort in times of need, encouragement in every experience of life and studies. I have prayed that the Lord will bear His fruit in my life, especially love and patience, so that I might be adequately equipped for the work that He has called me to.

For some time I have been thinking and praying about the start of a staff-intiated, staff-led weekly devotion and prayer time on campus. A thirty-minute devotion and prayer time at the beginning of each week would give campus teachers, administrators, support-staff, and others the opportunity to gather for a word of encouragement from God’s Word and prayer for personal and professional needs as we prepare to enter our classrooms and offices and engage with students, parents, and other school staff.

With that in mind, I drafted a proposal for a Monday morning devotion and prayer time and submitted it to our school’s executive principal last week. The proposal outlines the purpose of a devotion and prayer time, requests permission to meet on Monday mornings from 7:30-8:00am, and asks that a room on campus be assigned for us to meet in.

The principal’s secretary told me that the proposal and request will be discussed at tomorrow’s (Monday, March 8) administrator’s staff meeting.

It is my prayer that the Lord will open the way for us to begin this time of encouragement from God’s Word and prayer soon.

It is my conviction that our school needs a movement of God’s Holy Spirit on our campus. I believe that the Lord will use a corporate time together to give us His wisdom and strength for our work as teachers and our witness as His people … to build and enhance a greater sense of community among our professional staff … and, open “wide door(s) for effective service ” (I Corinthians 16:9) in our classrooms, hallways, and offices.

May Christ’s Kingdom expand, He receive glory, and His people be glad.

Explore posts in the same categories: Missional Living, Prayer, Uncategorized

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One Comment on “Missional: On Campus”

  1. […] Community, Missional, Obedience | Leave a Comment  Here is an update on my article, Missional: On Campus, that was posted a couple of days […]

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