Gatherings...School Days
“School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days
'Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick”

Theme:  Planning a back to school missions event is as simple as the 3 Rs – Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

When:  August and September are perfect months but you can adjust the event for any month. A sample schedule might be:

  • Introductory Group Activity - 10 minutes
  • 3-Rs Rotation - 15 minutes each (45 minutes total)
  • Closing - 10 minutes
  • Refreshments - 15 minutes 

Invitations and Decorations:  Anything related to school.

  • Slates with A-B-C, or math equations written on them
  • Pencils, erasers, crayons, rulers, apples
  • Browse back-to-school ads to get inspired
Event Details:  Choose at least one.
  • Secure high school graduation pictures ahead of time from those who will be attending and have the participants match the person with her picture.
  • Display pictures of area schools. Divide the group into two teams and have them name the school. Team with the most correct answers and the fastest time wins.
  • Have participants share memories from school days.
  • Play School Days Bingo (see Game). Instruct the participants to find someone who matches the description in a square and have them sign their name. Different names must be in each square. Decide if all squares or just a row need to be completed before “Bingo” is declared.
  • Sing the song School Days

3-Rs How To:

Designate one of the Rs to a different section or corner of a large room or depending on the facility use individual rooms. Enlist a “teacher” for each R to facilitate the assignment. Small groups can stay together through each section while a large group can be divided into three groups and rotate through each section. A school bell can be used to signal time to rotate.

Reading: Display favorite children’s books, missions books and magazines. Ask the participants what their favorite children’s books were or what books they enjoyed reading to their children. Ask participants how reading has impacted their lives. Discuss what your world would be like if you couldn’t read. Share information about a missionary that is involved with ESL, literacy, tutoring or some other ministry related to reading. If someone in your congregation has personal experience in one of these areas have them share. Discuss ways you might be able to help with an ESL, literacy or tutoring program. Discuss the importance of reading mission books and magazines to be aware of needs around the world and opportunities to serve the good news of the gospel.

‘Riting: Display a world map, dictionaries and Bibles. Have pens, pencils, stationery and cards available. Secure names, addresses and if possible pictures of several missionaries that have an upcoming birthday. Share information about the missionaries. Have participants locate on the map where these missionaries are serving. Discuss the challenges the missionaries might be facing. Provide 3 X 5 index cards to write down prayer needs based on this discussion. Collect these papers/cards and use them in the closing session. Instruct the participants that their ‘writing assignment’ is to write an encouraging note to at least one of the missionaries. Collect the cards when finished. (Don’t forget to check with the post office for correct postage before mailing.)

‘Rithmetic: Assemble bags from the school supplies collected. Discuss who will receive the supplies, other ways to minister to them and their need for God. (See additional tips for large group suggestions.)

Ministry Project
Identify families, an organization or a school that needs school supplies. Prior to the event collect the items requested. Publicize an entrance fee of school supplies for attending the event. Take advantage of the back-to-school sales at many stores in August and September.
Challenge the participants to become involved in some type of literacy ministry or other ministry mentioned in the session. Use the cards collected from the ‘righting rotation for a time of prayer. Pray also for those who will receive the school supplies.
Refreshments Suggestions
Peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and milk, any childhood favorites.
Additional Tips
  • Adopt a school: contact a school and ask how you can help. Some suggestions are to provide snacks for teachers at their staff meetings, help improve school landscape, provide items like Kleenex and hand sanitizers. Once you establish a relationship with the school you would be surprised by what they need help with.
  • Don’t forget the homeschooling families in your area. Make special school supply bags for these families with a word of encouragement.
  • Prayerwalk local schools.
  • Contact a homeschooling missionary family and ask what supplies you can send them.
  • Provide childcare for a literacy group.
  • Provide snacks for a literacy group.
  • Form a prayer group that will commit to praying for local schools daily.
  • Alternate idea for the ‘Rithmetic rotation could focus on the Cooperative Program. Include videos, brochures and posters. Use figures and percentages to make the arithmetic connection. Go to for information and resources on mission giving.
Last Published: June 15, 2008 11:49 PM