Innovative Program Teaches Public School Kids about Jesus, the Bible
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LANCASTER, PA – Despite the ongoing debate over morals and values in public schools today, one organization is finding a way to bring Jesus to public school kids each and every week.
With all the talk about issues between parents and America's public schools, students across Pennsylvania are learning about Jesus and the Bible, thanks to the unique approach of Bible2School.
Kori Pennypacker, the CEO of Bible2School, told CBN News, "Bible2School is a 40-year-old nonprofit organization and we equip parents, moms, dads, grandparents to teach the Bible to public school kids during their school day – that means typically over lunch and recess."
Kids are bussed to churches or other locations during these periods to learn Bible lessons before heading back to their public school classroom. Remarkably, Pennypacker says this program is where a majority of the students learn about Jesus.
"It's amazing because most of the kids we reach in the public schools have no church at home," she explained. "There's a very high percentage – 60 percent of our kids, over 60 percent of our kids – have no church home. So, we're teaching them about Jesus for the very first time, many times."
You might wonder how Bible2School can make this happen during the school day.
"There is something called the Release Time Court Rulings, and this was from back in 1914 when the Bible actually used to be a reader in school," Pennypacker said. "Everybody had one. Think Little House in the Prairie. And then, around that time period, early 18- or 19-hundreds, they took the Bible out of school, but they had these release time rulings that said you can release kids from school, maybe one hour a day; different in different states, at different times. But you can release kids from school. They have to be offsite, they have to have parental permission, and it has to cost a taxpayer no money, so no tax dollars."
That allows Bible2school to make a positive impact in the lives of around 1,800 kids in 35 schools across the state. Volunteer Erica Ringler says the program helped reinforce a biblical worldview for her own children.
"My husband and I just loved the fact that there were other Christian, caring adults that were pouring into our kids," Ringler said. "You know, parenting is really hard, and as they get older, just knowing that there were other adults that were reinforcing the same truths that we were teaching at home and that they were hearing that again at church and at Bible2School."
Parent and fellow volunteer Meredith Steidler helped start a program in her own community. For her, in addition to Bible lessons, the classes can help counter the negative messages culture sends to the children.
Steidler explained, "They're just inundated with so many lies and so many worldviews and so many hard things that they might even be going through themselves. And they get to come once a week to hear about how they're loved, how they have purpose, and it's just fun to be able to do that with them. And it's amazing to be able to speak truth over the lies that culture is trying to give them."
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Pennypacker says training is expanding to churches outside of Pennsylvania on how to launch Bible2School.
"We're teaching other people how to do this around the country, so we are teaching moms, dads to build teams," she said. "It's a community approach in their school district. We teach them how we have curriculum. We have everything they need. We have a toolbox. We have everything they need and we teach them how to do this in their own school district."
Bible2School offers a powerful way for children to connect with fellow Christians while experiencing a lively presentation of the Bible. It's also a much-needed resource for today's public school families.
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