A Christ follower’s back to school checklist

Every store declares and every flashing light in every part of town forewarns: Back to school! Freshly sharpened pencils, crisp folders— many of us have nostalgia around this time of the year. Some of us are checking off the supply lists and stocking up on tissue boxes and disinfecting wipes.

But no matter your age or stage of life, I have an invitation for you today:

Go back to school shopping—  especially if you don’t think you need to!

There are so many kids in public school who do not have what they need to start school and do have the resources they need to go “back to school” successfully. But you may. So, go! Go back to school shopping. 

There are likely organizations serving locally in your community who know what students need and can fulfill urgent needs. Or ask a teacher you know! Many teachers spend their own dollars each year to have on hand extra supplies for students who cannot afford their own.

If you don’t know anyone going to school or teaching in a classroom, then buy whatever the Lord leads you to buy: backpack, lunch bag, water bottle, tennis shoes, clothes…it doesn’t matter what size. God will use them! Pick a grade level list and fill up your cart with everything a child is supposed to have to start the school year. Then drop it all off at your local elementary school, middle school or high school. Tell the front office you went back to school shopping for a student they know needs it. And walk away. Trust me, the blessing is going to flow in ways you cannot imagine. 


Everyone should pray in preparation for and support of students, teachers, administrators, coaches, counselors, campus officers, bus drivers, janitorial and lunchroom staff members. All hands on deck and all of us praying for God’s protection, provision, wisdom, counsel and grace. 
I have three personal practices to commend and then three groups with whom I encourage you to connect. 

Here are three ways you can pray for schools and students today:

  • Slow down and pray in school zones— so simple you can do it on your commute today.
  • Prayer walk the school campuses in your path— grab a friend and go for a walk, but instead of your normal route, head over to a local school to pray (best for non-school hours).
  • Send prayer notes of encouragement to school teachers, administrators, coaches, etc. — consider how these individuals are preparing for the year ahead and speak life and grace over them and their work!

And here are three groups you can connect with others in praying throughout the year: 

Send them off with a blessing every day. 

However old they are, send them off to school every day with the blessing of God. Speak God’s truths over them. Tuck notes in their lunch box, back pack, books, binders or notebooks. Make sure they know you are with them and for them. These Back to School Bible verses to get you going: 

  • Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
  • Philippians 4:5b-7 The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways  acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
  • Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Go to school. Yep, that’s right. You go back to school. It’s called discipleship and it never ends.

Regardless if you have been Christian for a month or a lifetime, there are certainly things you can yet learn about the Word of God, God’s character and ways. And there are surely things God wants to use you to teach and cultivate in other disciples on the journey. So, go back to school this fall. Find a class and go. Who knows what God might do!