Celebrate "Back-to-School" in your congregation


Dear United Methodist Clergy: We hope you and your congregants will celebrate teachers and students with Back to School activities and recognition in August. First day for most students is August 28 but check your local system. We have seen many powerful ideas for lifting up our teachers and students, and below are some you may want to adopt. 1,720,042 students were enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12 in 2016. You may have many teachers in your congregation as well as others who actively support our children in their education. Remember our administrators, assistants, bus drivers and child nutrition workers, custodians, counselors, crossing guards and the many others who support all children. We can show our love and support for children and teachers on our ‘Back to School’ Sundays. Here are some suggestions for HOW you may want to celebrate teachers and students as they begin another year of learning and growing:
  • Write about Back to School activities in your newsletter, bulletin or outgoing emails.
  • Hold a Back to School service, lighting a candle for each school in your area. Consider partnering with other churches for this service.
  • Laying hand on teachers and school workers commissioning them for ministry in their work.
  • Bless the Backpacks, asking students to come to church with their backpacks one Sunday.
  • Invite a teacher or principal to speak briefly at a service or United Methodist Men or Women’s gathering
  • Ask everyone who works with children to stand to be recognized during a worship service
  • Add a prayer or responsive reading for teachers and students to your worship service
  • Send an email or note to your child’s/grandchild’s teacher showing your appreciation
  • Ask children in Sunday School classes to make cards for their teachers
  • Write an email or letter to your local or state representative expressing your support for strong public education and its importance for all children
  • Focus the children's sermon on the importance of teachers and learning
  Sample prayer from graceforms.com:

Dear God,

Thank you for the amazing teachers who have given their lives to serve our children. As they prepare for the new year, give them the strength to lead, grace to guide, and hope to thrive. Bless them beyond measure for their willingness to pour into the next generation through education. Amen

  The Annual Conferences of both the North Carolina And Western North Carolina Conferences in 2016 approved committees to advocate jointly to develop ways that the value of public education can be promoted and communicated through our churches, districts, and Conferences to the leaders of North Carolina’s government. UMAPS (United Methodist Advocates for Public Schools) Committee is working on ways to support students and honor teachers for the crucial work they do. Thank you for joining us in this effort to celebrate and encourage. Tell us about your events and ideas by emailing: jbissett@wnccumc.net or bheymans@mindspring.com.  


Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
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