NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In what some call the post-Christian era in America, it's likely many kids will never darken the door of a church. But they will go to school every day. And that's what's great about student Bible clubs. They're right there ministering the Word of God in the place everyone's going to anyway.
For the last dozen years, that's what's been happening every year for hundreds of students at the Redbank Valley High School in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The town is so supportive of the student Bible club, more adults than students showed up for a recent gathering outside the school to pray for the Bible club and kids as the new school year begins.
You may think separation of church and state means you can't start a Bible club in your school. Not so, says the Redbank Bible club president.
"To start one, it's easy because they can't tell you 'no' in a public school. It's completely constitutional," Peyton Kirkpatrick argued. "The people who are afraid will say 'no' until you prove them the facts, and show them that it is constitutional. They can't tell you 'no' as a public school student."
"Any school is able to have Bible club," said Ethan Reichard, the club's vice president. "And I think that it's a good thing to be able to preach God's Word to other students, because they may not have the ability to learn about God on their own."
The club's public relations officer, Colin Sheffer agreed, saying, "It is absolutely legal to have a Bible club in a public school. First Amendment rights."
The Redbank Bible club presents God's eternal truths, but wraps them up in ways that are fun and fresh – so even those with little or no faith still have a blast at the meetings.
"Every school should have one," Kirkpatrick advocated. "I mean, in a hurting dark world, the light: it shines brightly."
This night when the young and old of New Bethlehem came to pray for their school and Bible club, a large contingent of kids and adults from the nearby Brookville School District was on hand. They came to pray, but also get advice as they attempt to make their own informal Bible group into an official school club. Redbank's success has touched them.
Claire Haines of the Brookville Area High School Bible Club, said of Redbank, "I actually came to one of their meetings once, and I was so moved by just one meeting, that it really, really boosted my want to have a Bible club."
Leaders of the two clubs met around a couple of picnic tables by Redbank's football field.
"I'm very excited to have this opportunity to kind of expand not only the public Bible club influence from here, but to a neighboring district," Redbank's Sheffer remarked. "I think it's exciting for all of us to get to share expertise and knowledge, and really spread the ministry."
The main message from these students is take a leap of faith and bless your own school with a Bible club.
"I think that not only would it be a good outlet for Christians and people of all religions, but I feel like it would promote more kindness in the school because of the Christian values," Haines suggested. "So definitely. I feel that schools would definitely benefit."
Reichard added, "If you are truly committed to God and you want to get His Word out there and you feel like called to that, then I think it's a really good thing to do and pass it on to other students."
These Bible club leaders pointed out starting up and running a student Bible club ironically makes you more than just a student. You become an active disciple of Christ. And it's perfectly legal right inside a public school.