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OPINION

FIRST-PERSON: Honor school officials on 'Meet the Teacher Sunday'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Here's a fresh and simple way to invite school teachers and staff to your church. Honor those important community leaders by planning a "Meet the Teacher" Sunday during the first month of school.
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Students and adult church members could invite school teachers, principals, librarians, bus drivers, school nurses, food servers, coaches, music teachers, home-school teachers, professors, counselors and other school personnel to a Sunday worship service, where they would be recognized with a small gift and a special prayer.

Here are a few ideas on how to do it:

INVITE THEM

-- Students from kindergarten to college could use printed cards to personally invite their teachers and school personnel to come for worship and sit beside them.

-- Church members or groups could prepare big, gorgeous snack baskets and deliver them to teacher break rooms at local schools. Include a card with a promise of your church's prayers this school year and an invitation to Meet the Teacher Sunday.

-- Provide printed cards and e-invitations for adult church members to invite their friends and neighbors who work in the schools.

-- Advertise on your church sign and in local papers to invite teachers and school personnel to Meet the Teacher Sunday.

WELCOME THEM

-- At a welcome table, provide beautiful nametags for the special guests, personalized with their name, job and school.

-- Plan a brief after-worship milk & cookie fellowship. Serve homemade cookies, milk in cartons and coffee. Assign adult Bible classes to chat and invite guests back to worship next week

-- Children's classes could prepare index-size thank-you notes to include with the pastor's follow-up letter to the special guests.

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HONOR THEM

-- Recognize teachers and school personnel by asking them to stand. Student ushers could give them a small gift, such as a Scripture bookmark or imprinted mug or pen. Lead a prayer of thanksgiving, asking God to bless them.

-- Invite students of all ages to stand for a separate special prayer of blessing and commissioning.

-- Include students in leading worship as ushers, prayer leaders or praise team members. Our church planned a simple rhythm Scripture performance, and every student was included in the presentation.

You probably know a school employee you could invite to church. Wouldn't it be awesome if that teacher met the Master Teacher -- Jesus -- on Meet the Teacher Sunday?

Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis. See sample invitations for Meet the Teacher Sunday at www.dianadavis.org. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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