KITTANNING, Pa., (BRN) – Harvest Church in Kittanning, Pennsylvania., started a Bible2School program geared towards second graders on Sept. 14, 2022 at one of our local elementary schools.
This program operates under the federal time release law that allows outside organizations to take children to an off-site facility for one hour a week for a total of thirty-six hours a school year. There are three rules to the law: (1) the organization cannot use taxpayer funds, (2) the program must operate at an off-site facility and (3) a parent/guardian must sign a permission slip allowing their child to attend.
Our mission at Harvest is to increase the health and size of God’s church everywhere. By starting this program, we are providing the opportunity for children in our community to attend a program during their lunch and recess periods to learn about Jesus. The program is specifically designed for children who do not attend a church, which is why it is held during school hours. More children can hear about Jesus with a program during school hours because some parents are either unwilling or unable to provide transportation to and from an after-school program.
The second grade curriculum is broken up into 30 lessons that cover the major events in the Old Testament. The program continues to third and fourth grade and covers the New Testament and Discipleship respectively. The idea would be that the kiddos who start in second grade would continue for the next three years and learn about the whole Bible and what it looks like to follow Jesus every day. Our plan is to work our way up each year, adding a grade so that within three years, we will be offering all three grades. Within a few weeks of advertising Bible2School, we filled our initial spots of 24 kids! Now, we are waiting to hear from a local bus company if we can rent a bus for the program, so we can double (maybe triple) our capacity. God is so good!
Harvest Church in Kittanning, Pa., first launched the Bible2School program in Sept. 2022.
December 2022 Update:
We now have 48 children enrolled in our program and a full-sized bus coming each week to pick the kiddos up and take them to Bible2School and back! The volunteers and children have begun to build relationships with one another. We’ve even seen several of the kiddos and their families start attending weekend services at our church! Our relationship with the school is growing in that the administration allows us to send home flyers to all the kiddos enrolled at the school for our upcoming events.
Starting the Program
Megan Caporali, the children’s ministry director at Harvest Church, started the preparations for this program late last year by doing research on the area as to how the program would be accepted by parents, community members, and businesses. She was able to build her leadership team quickly because several business and community leaders were very excited to serve on the team and help get the program started.
Those on the leadership team testify that they are Bible-believing Christians and will uphold the morals God ordained in the Bible. Each member is required to submit their testimony, prove local church membership to a Bible-believing church and commit to serve on the team for three years. They are responsible for the continuation of the program.
We purchased the curriculum from Bible2School in the spring of 2022 and Megan began attending workshops to learn how to run the program that summer. She then met with the school principal several times to establish a relationship with the school, to create a game plan for what it would look like and to iron out the specific details of the program. The program will run for 28 weeks this school year.
Megan will be meeting with the principal in the next few weeks to discuss adding third grade to our program for the following school year. She said that she’s heard from kids and parents that both are loving the program and are excited about it! Many of the children have told them that they love coming and can’t wait each week for the program!
Day of Program Details
Volunteers for the program arrive by 11 a.m. to start setting everything up. There are small group leaders, a worship leader and a large group teacher who serve each week during the program. We use round tables with six students and one small group leader per table. All the kiddos stay in the same groups throughout the school year so that they can get to know the small group leader and the small group leader can get to know them.
Once the room is all set up, we leave the church to pick the kiddos up at the school. We then load the children into the church vans and drive back to the church. Upon arrival, the children use the restrooms to wash their hands. They are seated at their group’s table and start eating lunch while the large group teacher teaches the lesson. After the lesson, the kiddos participate in small group time with their small group leader. This consists of crafts and games.
After small group time, the children are welcomed, but not required, to participate in worship. Our worship leader creates motions to go with the songs so the kiddos can both worship Jesus and get some energy out! After worship, we load the children back up into the church vans and take them back to school. The volunteers stay to help clean up.
How The Money Is Used
The evangelism grant funding for the program was used in a variety of ways. We purchased curriculum, school supplies, craft supplies, Bibles for each child, volunteer shirts and child welcome gifts. In addition, we paid to advertise the program and rent a bus to transport kids.
Thank you so much for your continual support of Harvest Church ministries!