Ministry Moment - Blessing for Teachers
Did you know that, on average, teachers spend around $500 a year on their classroom? That's $500 of their own money. They spend it on classroom decor to make the classroom warmer and welcoming. They spend it on supplies that aren't in the school's budget, like headphones, tablets, art and science equipment. Or they compensate for the basic supplies, like paper and composition notebooks, that their students couldn't afford to bring.
But even more than classroom supplies, teachers are often first responders to a child's most basic needs. They will keep snacks on hand when they know a child is hungry. One teacher was quoted in the Texas Tribune saying: "I’ve bought clothes for kids before when I knew their shoes were falling apart. We would truly do anything for our kids.”
One church in Austin, The Church at Highland Park, recognizes the sacrifices that teachers make for their students. The pastor, Rev. Cheryl Kimble, says that they have 13 young teachers in their congregation. She believes they felt a calling to work with children in part because of growing up in the church, which involved a lot of mission trips serving kids and volunteering with children's VBS.
The Church at Highland Park blesses the work of teachers in a beautiful way every year at the start of school. Many churches hold a "blessing of the backpacks" service, or something similar, to bless students and teachers going back to school. Highland Park holds a specific "blessing of the teachers" moment in their worship service.
Recently on August 15, they held their "blessing of the teachers" service. It was mentioned on their electric church sign out on the road, and in addition to the church's own 13 teachers, they had two visitors show up that day, hungry for a blessing.
Rev. Kimble gifted every teacher with a $100 Amazon gift card to spend on their classroom, a $10 gift card to Sonic, "for those days when you deserve a treat after school," and bags full of school supplies that the congregation donated to the teachers.
After the short presentation, the church joined together in this litany of blessing and prayer, printed below. You can watch the service on YouTube here; the blessing of the teachers is from minute 17:00 to 22:00.
Pastor: Teachers, we as your congregation of faith recognize that you are cultivators of young hearts and minds. This is your sacred calling. Each one of you has spent your time and energy to prepare for this new year.
Children’s Minister: Teachers, we recognize that you do so much more than just teach reading, writing and arithmetic. You wipe away tears, you calm fears, you inspire and encourage, you change children’s lives.
Pastor: We know that there are days that you go home and you just don’t know how to go another day. Yet you get up and you get yourself ready and you venture back into the classroom. We know that you spend countless hours working on lessons and grading and preparing activities. We pray for your strength, your health and your peace of mind.
Children’s Minister: Today your church wants you to know that we keep you in our prayers. When you feel alone, know that you are loved. When you feel exhausted, know that you are loved. When you see the lightbulb go off and you know you’ve made a difference, remember you are loved. Know that we lift you up and we want to be encouragers, supporters and friends. Please allow us to pray for you today.
Pastor: Loving God we come to You today to say thank you. Thank you for these teachers who have given of themselves to the upbringing of Your children. God, we ask Your blessing upon them, may they feel Your presence every day, may they know that there are those remembering them and praying for them as they do their work.
Congregation: As we ask Your blessing on these teachers, we commit to remember and pray for them as they go through this year. May they be reminded of the love and care of this congregation that surrounds them each day. May these teachers feel confidence and a calm spirit. May they have students who have open minds and open hearts and may this year be full of promise for them and for their students.
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
For those of you in the Fort Worth area, we hope you can join us September 28 for a breakfast celebration honoring Texas State Senator Beverly Powell. Details can be found here: BeverlyPowellPTC.eventbrite.com