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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jackie Minor

THE POWER OF DONUTS. Insights from a Victorious Educator

Victory Series: It’s Time to Share!


God is at work every day, all day in our schools, through the lives of Christian educators. It’s time we share with each other what is happening.  It shouldn’t be kept a secret! One of the AIMS of Victorious Educator Ministries is to encourage others by sharing how God is working in our schools. When I heard about what Lindsey Nelson was up to in her school, it prompted me to interview her because I knew how uplifting this would be for everyone! 


Lindsey has discovered a way to actively, visibly, and legally live out her faith as an educator. By sharing her victory story, it is my hope this blog will be the first of many interviews of victorious educators sharing how God is working in schools and offices across this country. I realize it can be a little scary to share, but we owe it to each other!  Join me in thanking Lindsey by taking a few minutes to read her story.  You won’t regret it!

 

Jackie: Tell us a little about yourself, including your current teaching assignment.


Lindsey:  I currently teach reading in grades 7-9.  I serve as the instructional leader for the secondary reading department. Three years ago I returned to my hometown after many years to teach in the district that invested so much in me. I am a mother of three. I served as a youth pastor with my husband for 18 years.  Together we also ran an on-campus university ministry called Chi-Alpha.

 

Jackie: God prompted you to do something this year at your school.  What was it?


Lindsey:  When I was in junior high and high school, I was a member of a Christian club.  Being able to be part of a faith-based club in a public school was so encouraging to me.  I wanted the students I serve to have the same opportunity, so I started a club here at my school called Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS). I chose not to associate with a national organization so I could tailor it to meet the needs of our students.

 

Jackie: How do you feel this club will help meet the needs of students in your school?


Lindsey:  The negative effects of long-term isolation due to COVID were so evident to me. Students lacked community and desired fellowship.  This club was one way to bring everyone back together.  In addition, I see so much darkness and hopelessness in our students.  It’s as if the light is dimming for so many.  I know I have the answer to that darkness, and I know there are students in my school who know the answer, too.  They just need someone seasoned to help them know how to share the light of Jesus with their classmates.  Together, I truly believe we can make a huge difference. Junior high is hard.  There are so many social pressures and peer issues.  I want them to know that Jesus is so much bigger than their problems. I realize it is a tough age to share, but when they do, it is powerful.

 

Jackie: Did you have to get permission to start the club? What was the receptivity of the leadership in your school?


Lindsey:  I did have to get permission. I filled out the paperwork that is required for the establishment of any club. The administration was neutral. 

 

Jackie: How did you get started once you had the approval?


Lindsey:  I identified four student leaders (9th grade boys) who have become my leadership team. We advertised the group and invited all students to attend.  In the beginning, I took the lead focusing on one key question: “Who am I?”  So much of our identity is wrapped up in our friends, family, jobs, etc.  I wanted to remind them of who Jesus says they are.  It was a powerful way to begin.

 

Jackie: What have been some of the “victories” you have experienced this year?


Lindsey:  There have been a lot, but three specific victories stand out in my mind.  First, I have a young man in my class.  I will call him EH.  EH has a difficult home life and has behavior issues in other classrooms. No one is investing in him, and I have worked hard to let him know I care and believe in him. The other day he started asking questions about the club and noticed the Bibles I have on my storage shelf. I explained we used them in the club, and he asked if he could check one out! “Check it out?” I said. “If you promise to read it, you can have one!”  He left my room that day with a Bible in his hand!


The second victory has to do with our pancake breakfast.  FCS sponsored a school-wide pancake breakfast in the fall.  We had 40-50 students come, eat a pancake, and hear what the club was all about – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We held another breakfast in April, and over a hundred students showed up.  We ran out of food!  From this breakfast, 10 more students (non-believers) have been attending our club regularly. 


The third victory has to do with one of my student leaders.  As I said earlier, I pretty much facilitated our club meetings, but now I have passed the reigns onto my leaders. They take responsibility for everything – prayer, scripture reading, message, application – everything.  I meet with them ahead of time to ensure everything is accurate and appropriate.  This past Friday, the young man leading realized we had 10 new members sitting in the room. He looked at me and said, “I just thought of something. Can I share?”  Well, of course, I said, “Yes!” He shared how he had recently bombed a math test due to his lack of studying. Thankfully, the teacher gave him an opportunity to retake the test. He used this experience to explain that Jesus is our retake opportunity.  We’ve all failed. We’ve all sinned, but without Jesus, there is no retake. Jesus is our hope, and there is always an opportunity for a retake with him. I sat there in amazement watching this young man boldly share in a way I never could have. Now that is a victory!


Jackie: What has surprised you the most? 


Lindsey: How inquisitive kids are. Kids want to stick their noses into everything. They’re open and curious. They have lots of questions and are seeking answers. For example, I always serve donuts at our weekly FCS meetings.  Since we meet in my classroom, the donut box is always left on my desk (with or without donuts in it). Invariably, a student will ask, “Hey, Mrs. Nelson. Who are those donuts for?”  I’m always excited to tell them we serve donuts at every FCS meeting to which they are invited.  Never underestimate the power of a donut!

 

Jackie: This makes me think of a question many reading this may have.  How do you walk the fine line between separation of church and state? 


Lindsey: Our club meets before school, which is outside of my contract hours. Since it is recognized as an extra-curricular club, we can hang posters and make announcements about our meetings. As I said earlier, our student leaders are doing most of the facilitating now. During school hours, I don’t initiate conversations with students, but I do answer their questions. If they ask questions about the club, I can answer honestly. I also have “supplies” in my classroom for the club like Bibles, table tents, etc. Since the club meets in Mrs. Nelson’s room (I made sure the announcements did not just say a room number), everyone is aware of my Christian faith. So far, there have been no issues. In fact, I now have some colleagues who want to help next year!

 

Jackie: What final words of wisdom do you have for the educators reading this?  


Lindsey: Everyone can have an impact. We don’t have to hide our faith. God has uniquely placed everyone where they are for a reason. Every Christian is a missionary in his or her school. Look for ways to help students or colleagues get a little bit of Jesus while they are in school. For you, it may not be starting a club. Maybe it is doing prayer walks around the school, setting up a mini-VBS experience for elementary kids, or having open prayer time before school.  I would encourage you to pray about how God wants to use you and your giftings to shine His light into your workplace.  Whatever it is, you might want to think about serving donuts!

 

The Challenge


After reading this, you may think, “Wow, I could never do that.” However, maybe some of you now want to start your own club!  Thankfully, none of us are the same.  We all have different gifts, circumstances, and passions. God doesn’t “need” us, but the Bible says we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). The Bible also says each of us has been given gifts to serve others through His power, not our own (1 Peter 4:10-11). God provides all we need to live out of faith in the workplace and to make an impact where He has placed us.  The question is this: Are we taking advantage of all He has provided? 


Your answer may be a resounding “Yes!” If it is, that is awesome! You have victories to share. However, if the answer is “No” or even “I don’t know,” prayerfully ask God how He wants to use you this upcoming school year.  Pretty soon, you will have victories to share, too!

 

Final Thoughts


As I read back through my interview notes with Lindsey, I was struck by something. I am a member of a Facebook group organized for those who want to heal from healthy eating. I am amazed at how forthcoming everyone is with their struggles, successes, questions, and concerns.  Transparency is always welcomed with encouragement, support, and direction.  It is truly a group dedicated to serving each other.

This made me wonder.  Why is it we are so comfortable talking about physical issues but so uncomfortable sharing about spiritual experiences? I recognize some things aren’t for social media. However, there is so much we could share to encourage each other. This blog is a perfect example.  I have no doubt you have been encouraged by Lindsey’s victories, and I have no doubt you have victories of your own you could share!  It isn’t about bragging about ourselves; it is about bragging on God!


I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together.  Psalm 34:1-3


Going forward, I would encourage you to engage with this group more frequently.  Share your questions, concerns, and victories with us!  Let us know how God is working in your workplace and how He is using you to be a small (or big) part of His purposes and plans.  We were created for community (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  We need each other! Even though this is just a Facebook group, I truly believe God wants to use all of us to shine the light of Jesus in our workplaces. Please prayerfully consider making this group a part of your spiritual journey. Most importantly, pray that God will be glorified in all we do.

 

Want to reach out to Lindsey?  Contact her at: lindseyevy@yahoo.com 

Want to share your victory? Send an email to info@victoroiuseducator.com We would love to have you be part of our Victory Series!

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