One of the prayer pointers for February is for Christian organisations working in schools. There are a whole host of charities who are involved with schools’ work. Perhaps the most well known of these are Scripture Union and Youth for Christ. Both charities employ youth workers and have teams of workers who go into schools regularly to take lessons and assemblies; they also seek to make links with local churches and work with youth workers there to equip the local church to have effective ministries to children and young people. Many secondary schools have Christian Unions for pupils, but often these need the input of Christian staff and volunteers to be successful. Scripture Union also provides a lot of literature for children, including the ‘It’s Your Move!’ book for Y6 children about to move to secondary school. At £14 for 10 copies, we could, as a church, have a significant impact on young people in our area through the distribution of this booklet, perhaps.

Many local churches have some input into local schools. Primary schools are often very willing for ministers and church workers to visit to take assemblies or lessons on RE topics. Pray for all those who are able to visit schools in this way. Some of the larger churches in the area have ‘schools’ teams’ who work regularly in schools.

There are a number of other charities who can provide information, resources and help for parents, children, young people and Christian teachers. These include:

1) Care for the Family, who run excellent parenting courses and holidays and often hold regional seminars in Sheffield or Leeds
2) Rainbow Trust, working with families of children with terminal illnesses
3) The Children’s Charity, working with disadvantaged children (running a network of programmes which includes drop-in services for runaways, children’s centres and support for young carers. We support children who are refugees from violence, and we give those in care a voice.
4) The Boys’ Brigade, running a number of children’s and youth clubs for boys
5) Girls’ Brigade, running a number of children’s and youth clubs for girls.

As we pray for our local schools, let’s pray for the children and young people who attend, but let’s also remember the many other influences on their lives. Christian charities and churches work within the local schools, but they are often active in local communities as well, offering support and activities for children and young people outside of school hours. Let’s pray for all the Christian workers and for schools to be willing to allow Christian input. There are so many opportunities for witness and teaching within the curriculum, but it is not always easy to gain access to schools or to win the respect and trust of young people.