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INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Begin a new first-day-of-school tradition at your church this year.
Plan a community-wide coffee for moms after they drop kids off at school. It could begin right after the school bell, so if your district's elementary, middle and high schools start at different times, plan three coffees. There's no formal program -- simply fellowship and a sincere, encouraging time of prayer for the children.
Here's a few tips:
-- Advertise the community-wide coffee with an exterior sign, and create Facebook and email invitations for members to forward to friends. State a half-hour schedule, such as 8-8:30 a.m., so working moms may be enticed to come, too.
-- Your planning team -- a mom from each grade level, a minister's or deacon's wife, and a senior adult woman -- could plan advertising and schedule, and could delegate responsibilities for the details. Since moms will be wildly busy getting kids ready for the first day of school, a senior adult ladies' class could prepare and serve drinks and light snacks.
-- Create a celebrative mood as guests arrive, and use the first 15 minutes for snacks, informal conversation and friend-making. Ensure a welcoming atmosphere by assigning friendly moms to intentionally meet and include newcomers and members. Invite the pastor's wife, if she's available.
-- Divide moms by grade levels or schools for prayer groups. The pre-selected leader can invite ladies to introduce themselves and tell their child's name and grade level. She then could lead a time of prayer, assuring that each mother and child is mentioned by name, and praying for their teachers, friends and school leaders.
-- Conclude by inviting those who don't have a church to worship with you on Sunday, and give printed invitations to upcoming events and Bible classes for parents and school age kids. Then serve more coffee for those who'd like to fellowship longer.
One more idea: Offer a similar event for schoolteachers and administrators. They could stop by the church right after school for a "pray for your new students" cookie fellowship.
As this new school year begins, "make the most of every opportunity!" (Colossians 4:5)
Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis.