Ministries of a Local Church

The local church is the physical expression of the body of Jesus Christ in a specific location. The church is described in many different ways in the Bible. The most explicit description used is “the body of Christ”.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.  Romans 7:4

Jesus came to the earth with a definite purpose. He did not just stumble upon His destiny or go through the early years of His life looking for meaning or what it was that He was suppose to be doing. From the age of thirteen He was keenly aware that He was on a mission.

As a young man, He was taken to the temple by Joseph and Mary, His earthly parents. While He was there He engaged the doctors of law and the religious teachers in discussions about the spirit and letter of the biblical writings. They were confounded by His knowledge and understanding of the mysteries contained in the books. He shared insights that no one had ever shared before.

Once His parents discovered that He was not with them, they went to look for him. When they found Him they asked what He was doing  and why He had left their side.

He responded immediately that , “He must be about His Father’s business”. This unequivocally demonstrated that He was cognizant of  His place and purpose in this world.

Years later He entered into the synagogue and stood before all the people that were present to declare to them that He had come to fulfill the ancient promises contained in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah.

He had come to give sight to the blind, to set free those that were held captive, to lift up the oppressed, and to heal the broken hearted. In other places He made it clear that His work included revealing who the true and only living God is. He came to preach the good news of the kingdom of God and to call all who would listen to repent and enter into God’s kingdom.

When He ascended to Heaven He did not abandon the work that He had begun. He commissioned Hid followers to be faithful in carrying the message and the work that He started to the farthest reaches of the world. He explained to them that they would not have to go about this work all by themselves , but that He would send His Spirit to indwell each and every one that would receive Him.

This commissioned group of disciples were to assemble on a regular basis for the purpose of continuing their growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ. As they became more like Christ then as a by-product of this transformation they were equipped to enter into the world and perform the same kind of works of compassion that Christ modeled.

These works of compassion are services perfumed for specific people in specific places. They are not just empty words or good intentions, but actual ministries.

The local church, in the modern era, has always had a heart for helping children.

During the late eighteenth century children were used a cheap laborers for factories in England. As a result of this the common child never had opportunity to learn about the Lord of the value of life that comes form an understanding of being made in the image of God.

A layman from a church decided that this was not acceptable and decided that he would begin a ministry to help raise the status of young people. The ministry that he started was called the Sunday School.

The Sunday school grew from just a few boys meeting for Scriptural education. It became a world wide phenomenon that included people from all ages.

The Sunday school systematically teaches the Word of God, provides opportunity for fellowship, and gives people the chance to make friendships based around the common desire to become like Christ.

If you have never been to a Sunday school, take time to find one near you.

How to Choose the Right School for Your Child part 1

Education has remained basically the same for hundreds of years. The one size fits all approach has left many children behind. Parents have been given the impression that their child’s education should be left to the professionals and that they should just stay out of the way.

As a parent, I know that I want very best for my children, no doubt, so do you. A child’s education plays such a vital role in their development and in their adult life. The current system is more like an assembly line. With all of the advances in our modern world why have there not be as many advancements in education?

No one knows your child as well as you do, or at least that should be the case. No one has your son or daughter best interest at heart more than you. Shouldn’t you play a vital role in the selection of where and how they will receive their education?

If you stop and think about all the reasons that you should be involved in choosing the right school, you will quickly see that this is a task that should not be taken lightly. Let me remind you about a few key reasons below:

  1. Your children will spend more of their conscious time (time when they are actually awake and not asleep) at school during their childhood then basically any other place.
  2. The teachers that your children have will spend more time with your child then you will. The instruction and demeanor of your child’s teacher will have a lifelong impact on the formation of your child’s intellect and emotions.
  3. The peer influence of the other students in the classroom will be one of the most influential factors on your pupil’s life.
  4. Your son or daughter will develop their self-image in relation to how the teachers and other faculty members ret them. If they are taught properly how to listen, pay attention, be disciplined, learn, and think then they will feel better about themselves and will believe that they can achieve anything that they set their mind to.
  5. A poor teacher can convince your child that they are ignorant and incapable of learning. Once this attitude is adopted it can lead to many other forms of destructive behavior.
  6. Curriculum selection will determine world view. If a student reads “facts” in a text book they have no guard or mechanism that would suggest that they should question what they are being taught. Children simply believe what the authority figures in their life say or teach.
  7. Facilities play a major role in creating a proper learning environment. If the school buildings are not adequately maintained then there can be health or safety concerns.

These are just a few of the factors that should help you as a parent start to think seriously about choosing the right educational institution.

So how do you choose?

Financial Considerations

Many people make the mistake of letting the cost be the biggest factor that comes into play. Finances definitely can be a hindrance to school choice but it should not be the primary deciding factor. Obviously public schools are considered to be free. While it is true that there is no cost for the parent or student it is far from the truth that these schools are free. They cost the local and federal tax payers millions.

If the federal and local governments would make these exact same funds available to the parent and give them the ability to make the choice as to where their child’s education funding would be spent then this would go a long way in improving every parents ability to choose the right school for they child.

Even with the current state of educational funding you still should consider every option before simply choosing the cheapest one. Most schools have some form of financial aid. Be sure to find to what types of assistance or scholarships are available and what the application process is for each.

Staff Considerations

The years of childhood fly by. It may not seem like it at times but those eighteen years come and go much more quickly than can be imagined. The quality of the investment in those first years can give a lifetime of return. If those first years are not handled wisely then the struggle that ensue will be daunting.

Children spend an average of seven to eight hours a day in or around school. If you listen to many successful adults they ill often reference the influence of a childhood coach, teacher, or principal. As parents we would like to think that we are the most influential figure on our child’s life, and we probably are. However, the influence of other key authority figures cannot be overlooked.

Before selecting a school get to know the staff and faculty. Do not be one of those parents that never shows of for the PTA or never makes it to a student parent conference. Play an active role in the school. Take time to volunteer. Be a chaperone on field trips. See how the faculty interacts with the student body on a daily basis.

My son had a teacher in second grade, Mrs. Sherman. (The name of the teacher was not Mrs. Sherman but I have changed the name in order to protect the guilty) When we came to orientation she was the sweetest kindest older lady. She spoke in a slow, calming, southern drawl. My wife and I both thought, “how fortunate to have such a sweet, seasoned teacher”. When we would drop off our son at the classroom door she would always say, “Ya’ll stay as long as long as yawl like, honey”.

After a few weeks our son told us that Mrs. Sherman is not who you think she is. He explained how that once parents left she became a raving lunatic. We simply chalked it up to a second grader’s imagination and told him that he just needed to be a good boy.

As the school year progressed we were running late for school so we asked our daughter to run him into class and explain that we stuck in traffic. Class had already begun and all the other parents were long gone. When she returned from dropping him off she informed us that he was telling the truth.

As she approached the door she overheard Mrs. Sherman yelling, “Sit down and shut your mouths or else you know what’s going to happen”.

The point being, another great way to find out about the spirit of the staff and faculty is to ask and then listen to your children. Of course you can’t always believe every detail but it never hurts to listen.