Three dedicated released time Bible education practitioners who attended this year’s School Ministries‘ 25th anniversary conference in beautiful Black Mountain, North Carolina want to share their key take-aways with you! This conference wasn’t just “any” professional development opportunity for released time teachers and administrators, this was an opportunity to come together with like-minded and gifted released time folks from many parts of the country. Encouraging fellowship met inspiring speeches, all in a retreat setting. God has a way of sharpening us and speaking specifically to us when we give Him the spaces to do so. According to Pam, Becky and Cindy, this was one such space! [To see a video of photos from the event, visit the School Ministries Facebook page!]

Here these leaders share valuable nuggets of knowledge you’ll certainly want to take note of for your current or future RTBE program!

Becky Ehrman – WyandotCARES teacher
“I can’t remember being at any conference where the speakers flowed together seamlessly, confirming and building upon each other’s messages.”

Urgency – What we do is so important and we need to take advantage of the opportunities to take Jesus Christ to people all around us, especially the children we teach. Has God given you a sense of urgency? Sometimes we can get bogged down in details. Pray and ask Him for an increased sense of urgency to share His Good News!

Relationships – With each other, with our students and their families, with our donors, churches, volunteers, with school staff, with other RTBE programs, with unbelievers. “Fruit” that brings God glory happens best in relationships. What are your plans to build relationships this year?

Encouraging Donors – To piggyback on the above, Cheryl Self emphasized relationships with donors; this has encouraged me to take more opportunities to speak at churches in our area. The key is to concentrate on major donors in fundraising and that part of fundraising is all about relationship! Do you have an organized list of your donors, including contact information and notes? Prioritize and ensure that you’re regularly communicating with those who’ve made larger contributions, though remembering ALL supporters – are important!

Cindy Rainsberger – Holmes County start-up administrator; longtime RTBE teacher
Legal – “I appreciate learning about the legal issues that RT programs may face. I believe it is most important that every program be aware of the up to date policies, issues etc. so that they can make adjustments in their own policies and procedures.” Is there someone on your board who could take on the legal needs of the ministry? This is crucial to sustaining a healthy, ethical and fruitful program.

Keep the Main thing the Main Thing – Former Gov. David Beasley said something so simple and profound that really resonated with me: “Love people, unconditionally. Show them Jesus.”
May we always be committed to this mission!

Pam Johnston – WeCARE board member starting new program in suburban Columbus
School Ministries – Ken Breivik encouraged us to go through School Ministries for both insurance and legal needs. This was a great reminder — SMI is a wealth of resources, especially for new programs like ours! For ideas, curriculum and how-to’s, become a member and gain access to MemberZone.

Curriculum – Milt Uecker and other Board members worked so hard on a policy to evaluate curriculum. Milt also said that he would come to Columbus to meet with all of the Ohio program leaders to encourage and help us understand the curriculum evaluation policy.
Curriculum can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! WeCARE and SMI are here to help, as well as seasoned RTBE leaders from around the state. Let us know if you’d like to have a curriculum conversation — email Jenni Bacon Miller, WeCARE/School Ministries Ohio director at jmiller@wecareforstudents.org.

Opposition – Ken said, “opposition helps define us!” This reminded me not to live in fear, but to keep stepping out for the Gospel to be shared with more and more students and families. He always goes before us. Jesus is controversial; don’t be surprised if you face opposition, but don’t let it overwhelm you! Keep your school board policy handy, be meticulous in staying legal and have faith that God always goes before you!

We hope these take-aways are helpful to you, whether you’re a seasoned released time practitioner or a brand-new program community leader. As always, we’d love to hear from you if we can answer questions or come alongside you in any way. Please contact Jenni Bacon Miller, WeCARE/School Ministries Ohio director at jmiller@wecareforstudents.org.