Better than prayer in schools

Better than prayer in schools

Wow, what a statement. I didn’t know what to think when I saw the title of the video clip that one of NZCN’s Secularism discussion panel members circulated, but I’m glad I watched it.

What Role Can Churches Play in Community Renewal?

On 9 August, 2013, The NY Times shared the story of Kip Jacob’s church in Portland, Oregon and the amazing partnership they’ve had with Roosevelt High School. Help from Evangelicals (Without Evangelizing) The Times called it. The initial paragraph reads:

PORTLAND, Ore. — Four summers ago, on her first day as an administrator at Roosevelt High School here, Charlene Williams heard that the Christians were coming. Some members of an evangelical church were supposed to be painting hallways, repairing bleachers, that sort of thing. The prospect of such help, in the fervently liberal and secular microclimate of Portland, did not exactly fill her with joy.

Following is a  6:31 minute sizzle reel of the documentary made about the project. filmed an interview with Kip Jacobs, pastor at SouthLake Church, about this project.  Click here to watch the story of what happens when a mostly white, affluent suburban church shows up at the doorsteps of an urban high school with a desire to work together. Through his experience, Jacob challenges churches to get involved with their neighbourhood schools and invest in their renewal.

After watching these videos, I followed the link on to a follow-up story. In this clip, The presenter interviews two friends, Tom Krattenmaker, who is a regular contributor to USA Today, and Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, as they discuss how God is moving in Portland, what dynamics are at play that movements in other cities might resemble and urge us to prepare for future cultural shifts.

Other videos about this particular project in Portland can be found on the BeUndivided YouTube channel. Their website, which is full of resources and ideas, can be accessed here.

What do you think? Is it better than prayer in schools? What can we take from this and apply to our culture, here in Aotearoa?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below and share this link with others. Challenge your Christian friends to think about what role they can take while living in a secular society. We look forward to the discussions!



Gayann and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN.

Last week, we posted an essay by EAUK’s Danny Webster titled One Way Christians Can Respond to Secularism. In his essay, Danny described how the churches of Southampton partnered with local government when the council asked for their help. Fantastic.