Isn’t being a Pastor’s wife enough? “Why would you want to do that?” And “How do you find the time?”. These are some of the questions I often get asked when I mention that I am currently also the chair of my children’s Primary School Parents and Teachers’ Association or PTA. Our kids are in 2 different schools in North London and at present I’m highly involved with the PTA at the primary school.
I have been involved in the PTA at Raglan for over 7 years. It’s been full on, busy but overall a very happy experience. Initially I was asked to be treasurer because there was a lot of money in the PTA account and as a Christian it was thought that I could be trusted with it. Maybe it was that – or maybe people just didn’t want that role!! Who knows – but it definitely started me off on my PTA journey.
This isn’t a blog post to make you feel guilty or twist your arm to get you to join your schools’ PTAs. It’s not meant to make you feel bad for not having enough time to be involved. I know only too well that life is busy. But I wanted to write to share the positive and beneficial experiences that I’ve had in being involved. I also share this for those of you who might not be directly involved in a school; to think about other ways you can be involved in the community you find yourselves in.
Living a life that points to Jesus.
As Christians we are called to live lives that point to Jesus. The world we live in is a dark place. I wanted to help bring some light into the corner of it where my children spend much of their day. Being a trusted presence in school, amongst the parents, the staff and senior leadership team has shone light in the area.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12
The way I conduct myself regarding the money we collect for events and the parents who complain. How I deal with a grumpy site team, and interact with the children speaks into the darkness with the light that brings glory to God. How about you? The communities you are involved with are little pockets of darkness in this world – can your involvement in them bring light? Can it bring glory to God? It takes time and commitment to invest in these areas. But friendships form and opportunities arise and we need to pray that we can take them and God can use us in them.
Serving within our community brings gospel opportunities.
Yes, being involved with the PTA takes time. It takes energy, it takes effort but in my experience the benefits have massively outweighed the costs.
There are the general benefits of being involved in school that any PTA will advertise to get you to volunteer: friendships, an insight into school life, your children seeing you involved in school. Being part of the PTA roots you not just in the school community but the wider community too. It sends a message that you care and are invested in the area.
But more than these benefits, in my experience, there has been great benefit for the gospel too. Being involved in the PTA has meant that I have a growing relationship with the senior leadership team at school. I am known and trusted and as a result I have been able to be a greater witness in how I deal with situations as they arise. It has also meant that my husband has been approached more by staff to lead lessons and take assemblies because we are known as Christians who can be trusted.
As Christians we are called to be like Jesus. Those qualities that Jesus demonstrated so well, and that I desire to grow in – being trustworthy, being kind, being welcoming, being friendly, being slow to anger (and incredibly patient at times). Those Christ-like qualities that make someone stand out in the playground as they interact with their children, with members of staff and other parents.
Maybe these things might have happened anyhow as we stand firm as Christians in the school playground, maybe not. But I do feel that they have happened even more so as a result of being part of the PTA.
As I said – this isn’t a guilt trip post, but it is a challenge to us all, no matter our involvement in our communities to be more Christ-like in our interactions and to pray for gospel opportunities to arise.
Katherine Chaplin is currently serving the Lord at Bush Hill Park Community Church, Enfield. She’s married to Stu, and mum to Lucy, Daniel & Zoë. She is a keen sewer and loves a cup of tea and a chat.