"You mean America doesn't allow the Bible in schools, even with all its history of Christianity and thousands of churches across the country?", asked one of my curious Kiwi friends. He was a bit shocked when I told him that the answer to that question was "Yes".
Fortunately, the same is not true of schools here in New Zealand! CRE (Christian Religious Education), also known as "Bible in Schools" is a viable ministry that is still allowed in some New Zealand state/public schools. Thank the Lord that we still have an open door for planting the seeds of God's love in one of the largest mission fields ever, the public school!
New Zealand schools are all self-managed and basically under the jurisdiction of their individual board of trustees and principal. If the board of trustees recognizes the value in exposing children to the Bible as teaching a valid and beneficial way of living, it's gives a green light to volunteer teachers trained with CRE to have access to classrooms for 30 minutes a week. Conversely, if the board and principal oppose Bible, they do not have to allow it and the whole school community misses out. At any given time, parents always have the choice whether or not to permit their child to participate in the weekly lesson, and can pull or add their child at anytime.
Yesterday, I completed my first two modules towards national accreditation as a teacher for Bible in Schools here in New Zealand. When the training is complete in 5 weeks, I will be allowed in the schools as a CRE teacher anywhere in the country, should the opportunity present itself. This Thursday (Wednesday for you in the northern hemisphere), I will step foot into Whangarei Primary School and begin this incredible ministry to a class of 24 year 5s and 6s (4th grade in US Education system) and am so excited!
It has come to my attention that Whangarei Primary is in jeopardy of losing the Bible in Schools program, because there are vocal board members who oppose Christianity and are trying to get the program kicked out. Please pray that the Lord would grant us favor with the schools and that we would do such a great job with the kids that the school leadership would realize how much they would be missing out if we were no longer allowed to expose the kids to the Bible. Thank you for your faithful prayer.