by Roy W. Lowrie, Jr. Ed. D.

It was the last day of school and I was out on the parking lot saying good-by to the students for the summer. They were exuberant. One boy was whistling as he walked toward me. His blue eyes sparkled with enjoyment as he whistled, he did not sing, the words to what has to be the best-known student song in elementary and secondary education. You will recall all of the words and the tune immediately. "No more pencils, no more..."

Beckoning him over to me, I said, "Have a great summer, Jim. I'm glad that school is out, too." He looked relieved that I had not reprimanded him. Then he looked slightly perplexed that his administrator was happy for the arrival of summer.

Summer is a great time for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. But don't forget the Christian school during the summer. Important things worthy of your involvement happen during the summer in the life of the school. The following recommendations of praying, talking to others, working, and giving, are illustrative of school matters deserving the wholehearted support of your family.

Summer is a period of spiritual and physical renewal, and of professional development for the teachers and administrators. Ministering in a Christian school is a good way to serve God, but it is demanding.

Many teachers, especially heads of households, have to work at other jobs to make it through the summer. It is difficult for them to get a real vacation period because they cannot afford to take time off. The change of pace to the other work has to suffice.

During the summer, some teachers and administrators must go to graduate school, attend professional seminars, do extensive reading, or work on curriculum development. It is not always easy to shift gears to become a student again, particularly if several years have gone by without such intense study.

We should pray as a family for the teachers and administrator as faithfully during the summer as you do during the school year. You minister to them through such prayers for the Bible says, "…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16, KJV). In addition, invite some of them to your home for a meal, perhaps a picnic, to show your love for them. This is good for the teacher, your children, and perhaps even you!

During the summer, we can also talk to people about enrolling their children in the coming semester. God will use your endorsement of the school, your practical testimony of what it is meaning in the life of your own family in a remarkable way as you encourage others to take steps of faith to enroll their children in a school where the Lord Jesus Christ is high and lifted up. Mothers talking to other mothers are especially effective because frequently (to the husband's shame) the mother's heart is touched regarding Christian school for her children before the father's heart is. Fathers talking to fathers are necessary, too, for the father is the head of the home—and big financial decisions such as paying tuition needs both parents to be in agreement.

Not everyone you ask will come, but do not be discouraged. Continue to speak, and over a period of time, some will be led to enroll their children who would not have come had you been silent about the values of Christian education.

Summer is also the time for accomplishing important maintenance projects. It is better to do many jobs when the students are not on campus and when the weather is more favorable. These work projects save the school large sums of money. They are also quite valuable for another reason, namely: they bring school families together in shared activities that encourage relationships within the school. Working shoulder to shoulder brings benefits that are not gained any other way. Families begin to feel that this is "our school," not just "the school." That shift in attitude is significant.

Budgetary expenditures slacken during the summer, but there are expenses in completing the past year and in getting ready for the new school year. At our school, summer bills are normally paid with gift money because tuition coming in at the end of the spring is used up more rapidly than any other time of year.

In general, it appears that there is rarely an easy financial year for Christian schools. If that is true of your school, perhaps there is a deficit right now in the operating budget. That is a serious matter that needs correction before the larger expenditures begin for the new school year. It is not good to carry an operating deficit over into the new school year, for that can become a pattern that brings distressing consequences within just a few years.

Consider giving the equivalent of another month of tuition as a gift to the school during the summer. Or, simply give as you are able several times during the summer months. Few Christian schools receive large gifts—almost all pay their summer expenses with gift money given faithfully by people of moderate means who believe in the school. Moderate gifts from many people given faithfully add up to the often-large amounts of money needed. There is no insignificant gift and there are no insignificant needs.

Candidly, we are in a day when those who believe in Christian education must dig deeper in their pockets for the school. We cannot depend on others to do this. We must trust God for the money and give proportionately as He provides for us. There are no short cuts, no easy financial solutions, for financing the school. Faithful gifts are the only answer.

This call to not forget the Christian school during the summer is serious, but I don't want to come across as negative. There are blessings from God in all of these areas of support—praying, talking to others, working, and giving. Please get involved. Be a family who says, "This is our school."

Father all of us thank you for this coming summer. Bless us throughout these months. Our eyes are upon you on behalf of our school. Show us our part, our portion. In Jesus' name, Amen.