Four ways to share your faith at school this year.
Tough conversations aren't the only way.
For those in Australia, school’s about to go back! Another year of learning, friendships, sport, canteens and buses.
When I was at school (a little Anglican school in Sydney), I found the first week back extremely exciting. Yes, I was a nerd, but I was also just so thrilled to back in the company of my classmates, doing life together, sharing our hopes and dreams and helping each other learn. Yeah, sometimes school was hard and people weren’t always kind, but overall I had a great experience at school.
But something I found very challenging was the fact that I was a Christian, and so many people around me were not. I followed Jesus, they mocked him. And often I had no idea how to talk about my faith because being at a Christian school meant people knew the facts, they’d just decided they didn’t care.
So I began to think - how can I open up conversations without putting people off? It was a challenge, but trying some of these things did help to make conversations happen.
Here are four ways you can share your faith at school this year.
Use your talents
I had a friend who took Art in the senior years who chose to create a final project based on Jesus’ progression to the cross. It was hauntingly beautiful, extremely moving and generated a lot of compliments and questions from her friends, and her teachers! She poured her faith into something she was good at and it really opened doors for conversations.
What are you good at? Is it writing? Music? Art? Science? Try and find a way to infuse your faith into whatever you’re good at. Write stories that point to the gospel, choose songs to perform that speak of Jesus or… create a chemical that turns water into wine? I don’t know, I was never all that keen on science! You’re alone there ;)
Don’t hide your devotion
If you’re a Christian, it can be tempting to hide away your Bible, make sure people don’t see the titles of your Christian books or disguise your prayer journal. Instead, this year, make sure that people DO see! Read the Bible on the bus, read a Christian book in the common room or write in your prayer journal at lunch. Obviously you shouldn’t ignore your friends, but take a few minutes each day to publically show your devotion. People will inevitably wonder what you’re doing and why it’s so important to you!
Act like Jesus
High schools are full of gossip, unhelpful talk, disrespect of teachers and unkindness between students. If you refuse to engage in these things, you’re instantly going to stand out. The key here, though, is not to judge those who are engaging in these things. You don’t want people to feel like you think you’re better than them. Instead, quietly step away from things you know wouldn’t please God, and wait to be asked why you’re doing it. Then, gently explain that you don’t think [insert behaviour here] is going to build people up, and as a Christian you only want to display love to those around you.
In your relationships with teachers in particular, don’t fall into the trap of complaining about teachers behind their backs, mucking up in class or whining when you get a bad mark. Be gracious, supportive and kind. You’ll stand out and encourage your teachers!
Be honest about your weekends
“What did you do on the weekend?”
“I went shopping, I watched TV, I did the Ancient History assignment… what about you?”
“Umm I… just the usual…”
I can’t remember how many times this conversation took place, when someone asked me directly what I’d done on the weekend and instead of saying “I went to church!” or “I had youth group on Friday!” I avoided the question. Being honest about your weekends is a first step to showing people what you believe. It’s actually so counter-cultural to commit to doing the same thing every Friday night or Sunday, and being honest about how you spent your weekend will invite questions about why you do what you do. Of course the next step is actually inviting your friends along!
This year at school, don’t be afraid of standing out. If even one person notices and asks why you are the way you are, it will be worth it, because that conversation might lead that person’s life being saved by Jesus.
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