By Cindy Rainsberger, Coordinator for Holmes County RTBE planning effort
For several years we knew God was leading us to start a Released Time program in our neighboring county. I had been involved as a teacher for RTBE for nearly two decades. My prayer partner had helped as a volunteer for a few years and we knew God’s direction.
We prayed “Lord give us Godly connections.” We were patient as sometimes the Lord asked us to wait and other times he gave us a green light to go forward.
One day as I was Googling things on my laptop, I decided to type in the name we had decided to give our new program. To my surprise, there was a link! I clicked on it and it took me to the school board meeting minutes which gave approval for released time to be offered to the students in that school district.
My first reaction was of disappointment — I thought someone else must have already started a program.
I contacted Jenni Miller. She instructed me to go to the board policy page on the school’s website. I found the actual policy. She explained that most likely the policy had been approved because of the efforts made by the group of legislators that worked on the high school credit act in 2014.
My heart began to lift; God had gone before us as we waited for him to show us the next step. This was certainly a “Godly connection.”
I became so curious, I started checking other school districts in our county. Time after time I found approved policies.
Jenni and I had a conversation for which I said that I wanted to check all of the school districts in Ohio. Jenni was delighted although she knew it would be an arduous task. I didn’t mind, my curiosity was great and my spirit was willing.
I was amazed and my heart took a leap every time I saw another approved policy. I checked back with Jenni and we decided to make a database by compiling all of the findings. The process took a very interesting turn: it no longer was about school districts and numbers and policies. It was Christ, it was obedience, it was allowing God to be glorified, it was all in his control, it was how the Spirit speaks into the hearts of people even if they don’t know or acknowledge Him.
God spoke to me. He not only was showing me what He had done toward the effort of the program He has called us to start, but He opened my heart and mind to the communities throughout the state. I could see fields, ripe unto harvest, doors that were wide open, seeds to be planted. Abundant opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with many boys and girls in Ohio. I kept thinking about God saying that in the last days he would pour out His spirit from Acts 2:17. I felt such a burden to go beyond this community. To be a messenger, to share the vision God had given me. To initiate a common thread of prayer among those of us currently serving RTBE. God has laid before us the groundwork like never before in released time history. He is trusting us to go forward as He moves to reach those within our state. To encourage the opportunities and impact that Released Time programs bring to communities.
The effort was not just my curious spirit, a database or a large book of policies, but that of humble servant following our Lord in obedience to go out into all the world!