It started with an idea, “How do we get God back in to public schools?” and blossomed into a two week initiative that helps prepare students and teachers to focus on God while in a spiritually hostile environment. Students and educators flocked to Columbia’s Metropolitan Convention Center for the first annual “Back to School Zone” on August 1. The following morning, August 2, they met bright and early at the State House to petition God for prayer in schools. This initiative was put together by Disciples in Education, a non-profit that encourages teachers and students in their public walk with God.
For Christian’s, public schools have become a sort of battle ground where their views and beliefs are no longer welcome. At one time God was welcomed in public schools and the day started with prayer in Jesus name; however, over the years, public outcry has made Christian’s afraid to acknowledge Him in classrooms. Many Christians have decided to take matters into their own hands and remove their children from public schools, often homeschooling or paying extra for private institutions.
However, Jesus called us to be salt and light on the earth. We who have Christ living in us need to share Him in the world, but we can’t do this if we choose not to be part of the world. Instead of running from public education, we should embrace it and season it with the gospel of Christ. That is what Ms. Vanessa Frazier had in mind when she started Disciples in Education and hosted the “Back to School Zone.” “The purpose of the event is to promote God in public schools,” she said.
“Back to School Zone” was one of the largest back to school events hosted in Columbia thus far. The event was from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and had many Christian and non-Christian vendors in attendance. Representatives from All South Bank and Blue Choice Health were present and some of the sponsors included Walmart, It-ology, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Rehoboth Baptist Church, Christian Educators Association International, and Harvest Fellowship Church.
The “Back to School Zone” taught kids about book bag safety, offered health and dental screenings, free haircuts and massages, college resources and featured the talents of Richland County Students including dances from the South Carolina Christian Dance Theater. Ms. Frazier explained that her hope is for more churches around Columbia to come together and sponsor a back to school event that is big enough to hold at the Coliseum.
During the school year, Disciples in Education sponsor an after school Bible Study, Christ Teens-Girl Talk and Boy Talk, at Ridgeview High School. The Bible study starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is served for the middle and high school students who attend. If you would like more information about Disciples in Education, or to donate, please Click Here to visit their website.