As August wraps up and Labor Day is right around the corner, your congregation is gearing up to go back to school for the 2023-2024 academic year! With it comes excitement and plenty of anxiety about what entering school or moving up a grade means for students and parents.

Publicly marking this occasion in their lives is important, validating, and helps to break down the walls between “normal life” and faith, reminding your congregration that faith is not merely a Sunday affair, but should be brought into every part of their lives — including school. It also helps build community, reminding them that the whole body of Christ cares about what matters to them.

Creativity is called for! You can mark the occasion in many different ways: corporate prayer, laying on hands, highlighting the children’s, youth, and college ministries at your church (and honor your workers!), and publicly recognizing the educators in your congregation. You could even do a “Lunchables”-style coffee/social hour with milk! (Luchables: Think Ritz crackers, cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter, small chocolate bars, Oreos, and maybe some bite-sized vegetables to vary things up.)

Resources

The Pastor’s Workshop has been gathering a collection of prayers to help you recognize the needs of your students and teachers in your services. Check out our back-to-school Opening Prayers, Prayers for Illumination, and Prayers of the People/Intercessions.

Pastor and liturgist Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia of Coronado Community United Methodist Church has created these handy prayer cards which you can print and distribute to students and educators in your congregation.

Student Blessing

Educator Blessing

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