On Saturday, January 28th, I had the privilege to work with the CIPE team in a unique informational format. CIPE, Christians in Public Education, is a dedicated group of administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals who understand their high calling and desire to be legal and graceful servants in the public school. The CIPE planning team designed a community informational session that was fast-paced, inspirational and left everyone with the feeling of the need to serve more. The purpose of the EXPO was to bring community groups together who are already serving in the public schools in some capacity and give them a limited time frame (8 min.) to tell about their organization and how it affects the school community. The format was really fun because each group’s leaders were put on a literal timer and had the task to tell about their passion in only 8 minutes. After two ministry leaders spoke, we then played a Bingo style game called, “Find Your Christian Brothers and Sisters.” Each of the squares contained a description like: attends a local church, teaches in a high school, reads the Bible everyday and more. Everyone got up out of their seats and sought to find a match to as many squares as possible. The participants were on a timer too! After two minutes, the next two speakers were introduced. The Bingo game continued two more times and some of the participants managed to get their whole card completed.
Community groups that shared their group’s vision and purpose included: Mission Interact, FCA – Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Kids Care, Young Men of Excellence, Good News Clubs and Christian Educators Assoc. Int. (CEAI). The beauty of this timed format is that it gave dignity to the speakers and listeners by honoring their time. It is much more difficult to condense your passion than to ramble on as long as you like. Each of the passionate leaders were able to squeeze their group’s message into the time limit and all the participants were interested, inspired and curious to know more. The event was also interspersed with song and prayer because when Christians get together they sing and give thanks.
On a personal note, I walked away with a profound statement by one of the students in Mission Interact. A question was raised about how can we find out who are Christian educators are. In today’s school community, so many Christians are afraid to say anything because they are not sure what they can or cannot say. Unfortunately, instead of finding out, they say nothing. One of the students suggested that they find them! They said it is much easier for them to know who the Christians are because they have more freedoms. Students can express their faith in schools at any time as long as they are not interrupting instructional times. Students in these wonderful groups like Young Life, Good News Clubs, Mission Interact, FCA and more can be the eyes and ears of CIPE and CEAI as we seek to encourage, equip and empower administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals in our public schools to be legal and graceful servants. What school wouldn’t want law abiding, graceful teachers? CIPE and CEAI seek first to help teachers depend on God through prayer and community of other believers and then to walk out their faith legally and beautifully for His Name sake.
Kudos to the CIPE team for bringing a heighten awareness of the need for Christians to serve in our public schools.
Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.