We all know the importance of creating strong relationships with our students. But what about our staff? We run around all day on campus, passing one another in the hallway, slipping papers in and out and our boxes, empathizing with the craziness of our jobs. It is easy to "know" people we work with, but I am often struck with the idea that even though we see one another each and every day, we do not get the chance to actually sit down and KNOW the people we pass each morning.
So I got enough courage to hit the send button 2 months ago (in a non-religious school), and like magic- I got responses! My initial email was to the entire staff, asking if anyone would be interested in a bible study. I shared that this was the only email I would be sending out, and anyone was welcome. I was hoping to 5-10 responses, but God works in crazy ways, and had 21 people respond to me email:) Christians, non-christians, Buddhists, all emailed- and it was amazing to see all the faiths that stepped forward.
We hold "Community studies" on Friday mornings. I bring muffins, and someone might bring coffee/OJ. We sit in an empty classroom from 7:15-7:45AM (before school hours), and I bring a mini lesson. I have been using Jesus Calling, but have been supplementing with other online studies as well, depending on our character virtue of the month, or events happening at school.
After each week, I send out the prayer requests to the 21 people who responded, and let them know what others wanted to share.
It is bizarre to think that 30 minutes can make a difference.. but it is! I have found myself praying and thinking about people from work, and my empathy has grown for these people even stronger. Building positive culture and community can be a difficult thing to do, but it is crucial that we take a minute (or 30!), each week to actually ask- How are YOU doing? How are things going?
Originally I had not thought of school- my workplace- as a meeting place for my faith, but the Lord kept putting it in my head to share with others. The word is spreading and my relationships with these people are growing deeper and stronger each week. I encourage you to think about your own work place...what type of community can you bring to the table? Maybe it is faith, but maybe it is community service projects, or happy hours? Maybe it is a running club or an after school work out videos?
The list is endless, but I have come to realize that if you do not put yourself out there, there is no way we can keep the benefits.
Encouraged to keep growing,
Your Floridian Chicka!