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Back to School

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We’ve recently been highlighting 2:8 Testimonies—derived from 1 Thessalonians 2:8—on Sunday mornings to showcase simple ways TJCers are sharing their own selves as a means to communicate the gospel in tangible and vocal ways. With summer winding to a close, each of us is being handed a strategic avenue to do the same.

In a matter of weeks, kids from preschool to college will be returning to their respective campuses to begin a new semester of studies, making friends, having fun, growing up and more. Many parents are chomping at the bit to get their children back in the classroom. They want to see them learn, mature and be successful. At The Journey Church, these are things we want to see in our people and across our local communities.

All of us at TJC, whether we’re parents or not, have a tremendous opportunity to fulfill the vision and mission of the church by caring for the students around us (being aggressively local) with gospel intentionality. But how?

Pray

This is the most basic of Christian responses. It has, sadly, become cliché. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider its importance—especially in light of our recent sermons on prayer (from July 19 and July 26). There are plenty of specific ways to pray for the students around you.

Every one of us lives in a school district. That means there is a school building somewhere near us or at least on our way to work or the grocery store. Consider leaving a few minutes early and stop to pray while you commute. Or drive in and prayer walk on a Saturday. Think of areas that are often overlooked and then saturate them with prayers for God’s Kingdom to advance and Christ’s glory to be seen in all corners of our schools.

To help in this, TJC’s Prayer Team is developing a prayer focus throughout September that focuses on the schools in our immediate area. We’ll have more information soon, but be on the lookout for it as a guide to lifting up students in our area in prayer.

Serve

You don’t have to go to extraordinary lengths to make a difference by serving the schools in your area. Volunteer once a week as a crossing guard to get regular time greeting students. Take a slot in the concessions stand at Friday night football games and do it with a smile. Prepare a meal or a dessert for a collegiate small group at WCU and ask them how Jesus is making an impact in their lives. When someone asks you why you do it, simply smile and respond “Jesus loves students, and the these are the things He calls His disciples to do.”

Give

Every school has needs. Every teacher makes sacrifices. Find ways you can give strategically. Of course, your tax dollars and tuition payments help fund schools, so thanks for that. But some students and their families are hurting beyond what faculty and administrations can possibly see or even share with others.

While we never want to just throw money at a problem and hope it goes away, we can be strategic. Maybe you could purchase a couple of backpacks (they don’t have to be fancy) and load them with school supplies. Then, take them to your local school and see if the staff can find worthy homes for them. You could determine the most important supplies needed in your school and find a way to donate them. Don’t forget teachers and staff either. Spring for donuts and coffee once a month.

Each of these areas should be simple enough to get involved in. But, to fulfill the vision and mission God has given us, we have to be willing to heed His call to give our time, talents and tithes to advance the gospel, even in subtle ways. If you want an even better way to take aggressively local to a whole ‘nother level, invite your neighbors, coworkers, and even your TJC Life Group to join you in any of these suggestions. Or, create your own and get after it.

All you need to do to start is find someone to ask “What can I do to help?” But, then ask yourself “How can I help with gospel-intentionality?”

Discover the means God might leverage your life, even small segments of it, to inject the gospel in simple yet profound ways. And then share your life with the students around you as a testimony to the great work Christ has done in you!

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