The implication of these kind of comments, heard often from public school officials, is that RT programs are academically harmful to those who participate.
A recent evaluation of the Oakland California Released Time Bible Education Program conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency clearly refutes this misconception. It reveals what many RT providers as well as public school principals and teachers already know: RT programs impact participants positively, including academic performance. The Bible clearly teaches that reverence for God and wisdom go hand in hand (Prov. 9:10). Kids who receive the Lord, begin to memorize scripture and pray, will change for the better, and many will improve academically. RT workers see this over and over again (that is why most of them do it). Yet in the United States we have elevated academic learning as being more important then spiritual understanding and growth and thus there are some public education officials who discourage Released Time Bible programs. This report provides important research data as we make our case for RT programs before those who want solid facts. Now we have them. This important report can be obtained from School Ministries, P.O. Box 952 Columbia, SC 29202.
A Released Time Christian Education program in Orange County, CA was growing, but there were many families who knew nothing about their RT program. The RT board president sought district permission for students to be given permission slips to take home along with other non-school literature that was routinely sent home with students.
"I contacted the associate superintendent who responded promptly and negatively," states Jack Van Auken, the RT board president. The district offical claimed that distribution of religious material violated separation of church and state. Although Mr. Van Auken cited several court decisions which stated otherwise, the district refused to budge. Mr. Van Auken then requested legal assistance from the American Center of Law and Justice (ACLJ).The ACLJ attorney instructed the RT board members to gather "non-school" literature that the school system was handing out via the classrooms (i.e., scouts, karate, soccer, etc.). The material was gathered along with the district's official written policy on the distribution of 'non-school' literature. The ACLJ attorney reviewed the material and then wrote a letter to the district saying that Mr. Van Auken's right had been violated and cited both court decisions and Federal policies. The associate superintendent contacted Mr. Van Auken and requested a meeting and informed Mr. Van Auken and other members of the RT board that there had been a policy change; cards could be sent home via the classroom and the district would carry them to the classrooms via their central system. Soon 5000 forms were delivered to the distribution center and as the program began last fall enrollment jumped significantly. Mr. Van Auken comments that both sides were cordial and courteous throughout the appeal process but faith and persistence on the part of the RT board paid off.
In John 7:37-39 water is a symbol of the fullness of the Holy
Spirit and in Galatians 6:18 fruit represents the work of the
In John 15:5, Jesus tells us that as we abide in Him our lives will bear much fruit.
As you share the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, choose a student, hand him a glass and tell him or her that you would like to give him some water. Fill the glass until it is overflowing and running over on to the floor. Then explain that God wants our lives to overflow with the Holy Spirit so that it 'splashes' or gushes out onto the lives of others. You might want to read them John 7:37-38 and Psalm 23:5: 'My cup runs over' (we then recommend 'splashing' a bit of the water out over the class, be creative, but we will give no further recommendations in writing due to highly resourceful teachers known for pushing the envelope to get a point across.) For the mild-mannered teachers, we suggest showing your class a branch with fruit on it, again be creative but discerning, as rumors have circled of flying pineapples, coconuts, mangos and oranges in some classes with some teachers nearly escaping concussions, but successfully however truly bringing alive the fruits of the Spirit.
Read John 15:5 and explain that like the branch, our lives can only bear fruit when we are connected to Jesus (we become 'connected' to Jesus by asking Him to come into our lives). Mention that the branch that you are showing them can never again bear fruit because it has been cut off or severed from the tree. Then pointing out the fruit on the branch explain that the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives, and that the fruit is called love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This fruit represents our attitudes and actions. When our family and friends see these good character traits in our lives then they know the Holy Spirit is working, making us like Jesus. Some teachers have used different kinds of fruit to represent the various fruit of the Spirit. At the end of the lesson we will often pass out cut up oranges for the kids to enjoy, reminding them that as the fruit of the Spirit grows in their lives their life will become sweeter and sweeter!
For more information on getting a RTCE program started in your school or district, please first view the State Laws for your area. You will also find on that page a directory for any existing programs in your area, or a contact for your state.
If you have any questions from there, please contact us! We are here to help you get a program started.