Perhaps you’re already planning your programmes for next term.  Many schools invite visitors to their Chapel services, assemblies or Christian meetings. Frankie Knight, TISCA Trustee, gives us a few tips on what to remember to tell those you invite.

Mrs Frankie Knight

Clear details go a long way

It goes without saying that every visiting speaker will want to get it right. However, when you are immersed in your school every day it’s easy to overestimate how much a visitor knows about your context and the event you’ve invited them too.  It’s not patronising or micromanaging to send them very clear details about the school and the Christian meeting in advance and it might save a few awkward blunders on the part of the person you’ve invited! 

Keep it practical

Of course, there are practical things that it’s important to spell out: where and when to arrive, what to wear, who will be meeting them and their phone number in case of delays, any admin requirements (some schools require ID on arrival or visitor forms completed beforehand).  Give the visitor a sense of timings for their whole visit too: when will things begin, will you have much time to see them, when will they realistically head away afterwards. Visitors can be nervous and landing in a school context can be bewildering so practical details set their mind at ease.  

Spiritual and Pastoral information

As well as this, do consider any spiritual or pastoral details that would help the speaker in their preparation and prayers. Is there anything particular in the life of the school it would be worth being aware of ie. stage of term / bereavements / big school events happening.  What is the general vibe of the school when it comes to Christian things – warmly enthusiastic or reticent?  Visitors can find it hard to pitch their talk appropriately for the ‘spiritual temperature’ of the school so feel free to help them or even offer to read a draft of what they’ve prepared. 

Christian Union tips

If you’ve invited someone to speak at Christian Union, give them a feel for what to expect.  How have things been going in the meeting this term, how have pupils responded to the series you’ve been doing, how many usually attend and what is the mix between Christian and non-Christian pupils coming, what’s the age range of those coming…all of these details make a big difference.

Smaller details go a long way to helping the visitor make the most of the time too: will the pupils have sight of a Bible or does the speaker need to bring the passage printed?  Should they prepare a game, discussion starters, or questions to chat about afterwards? What should you expect in terms of engagement from those who come? Do pupils usually pray in the meeting or would that be weird? Who runs the meeting – is it the member(s) of staff or the pupils themselves? Is there a ‘hard end’ to the meeting, when pupils need to dash away, or will there be time to hang out afterwards?  

Gospel partners at school events

Visiting speakers are gospel partners, the more help you can give them in advance, the more help they can give you when they get there! 

This article was first published in our e-TNV – an online newsletter from TISCA.

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