Sonia's Hub 2 Assignment
Updated: Jan 24
Evangelism or Religious Education?
During both experiences of helping and observing in a school environment, faith was shared by honest answers and questions. There was space for volunteers to chat in a relaxed environment to give answers to any questions that were asked; some questions from the children were thought out and others were more spontaneous! There was opportunity to say ‘this is what I believe…’ or ‘Christians believe…’
What surprised me about the children from a non-Christian school was the amount they knew already about Christianity. They already had some knowledge which was great to build on. Many children confidently asked questions, responding well to the fact that we were there. They were obviously used to group work and discussions.
I think it is important in schools work to have good relationships with both the staff and the children you are working with. If you are trusted and seen to be doing good work, you will be invited back. Staff will trust that what you are delivering is reliable and they will get to know you as a person. Therefore, there will be more chance to evangelise to others within this setting as they get to know you. Young people will want to attend the activities and events you are running if they know you and respect you; this provides an opportunity to evangelise through actions as well and being Jesus to the young people and staff in their setting.
Schools work is crucial to reaching the 95% because you are going to where they are at, instead of expecting them to come to you. It puts you in a great position to speak about your faith in that context, enabling you to give personal accounts of what has God done for you.
Using volunteers to help in any kind of youth work is wonderful, as one person cannot be in many places all at one time. Having volunteers means the ability to reach many more young people. The volunteers can need lots of support to complete what is required, dependent on their experience.
I think that the work in schools that we were a part of was both religious education and evangelism. It was religious education because you are teaching the children about God and the Christian faith, however it is also evangelism because you can talk about your personal relationship with God and what being a follower of Jesus really means. Therefore, you are able to share what you believe in (evangelism), within the context of a R.E lesson (religious education).