When Sam Jasper heard that 80% of kids today don’t have a church home, she was overwhelmed.
She knew kids were getting into trouble, not doing well in school and graduation rates were declining, so the lack of church involvement wasn’t surprising.
Knowing that Jesus Christ was the hope kids needed, she was excited to learn at a night of prayer at one of her client’s homes that faith education, called Released Time Bible Education, was something legally allowed in public schools.
Attending a church with a primarily elderly population, but with a desire to connect to kids and families in the community, Sam felt a fire lighting in her to be a part of the change in her local schools, to help make a difference. But where to start? And could this even happen in this time of restrictions?
Sam connected with mentors from two Ohio School Ministries’ RTBE programs doing Released Time. They shared some of the nuts and bolts of how to begin a program and put her in touch with Jenni Miller at School Ministries Ohio. “God brings people together when it’s the right time,” Sam said.
Receiving her pastor and trustees’ enthusiastic response, Sam approached the superintendent and found out that nothing like this was happening in the local schools and that there was a policy in place already by the school board, allowing it. Another green light!
She began knocking on local church doors, seeking support and encouragement from other churches across denominational lines. She found excitement, openness and financial and volunteer support.
Throughout the process, she connected with another program, Kingdom Harvest Ministries in Celina, Ohio. They were her go-to mentor team. They provided encouragement and practical tips, always available to field questions. “Their support has been incredible,” she said.
From first learning about Released Time in December of 2019, “Elife” had its first meeting September of 2020. Even in the midst of COVID-19 and shutdowns, Elife already is involved in 10 schools – some in person, some online.
A scripture passage that has been foundational in the process is Romans 10:11-15, “how can they believe…unless they have heard….and how can they hear unless someone preaches to them?”
God has blessed Elife with a great beginning! God continues to move. Is he moving you? Reach out to a community near you—we’ll help, simply contact us here.