Be|Undivided’s 5 Core Principles Part 1—Introduction

Churches are serving public schools all over our country. Many have been serving effectively much longer than the 6 years SouthLake Church has been serving Roosevelt High School in Portland Oregon. Clearly, the Be|Undivided movement was not created to invent the idea of churches serving schools. It was created to inspire and equip more churches to serve schools, for the long term, to make a significant and lasting difference, and to elevate the church's role in their local community and in our society.

As doors are continuing to open to this vision of church-school partnerships, we've become very aware- it's not just important THAT churches serve schools, but HOW it is done is equally important.

For that reason, we have identified 5 Core Principles as foundational to this vision:

  1. No Agenda – Our service to schools is not an avenue to proselytize.
  2. Excellence - We under-promise and over-deliver. 
  3. Humility - We recognize the expertise of the professional staff in schools, and rely on their direction as we ask, “how can we help?”.
  4. Commitment - We are not "one and done" volunteers. We commit to schools for the long-term.
  5. Community - We serve together as a congregation, under the leadership of our pastor.

My observation is that one of the primary reasons the SouthLake-Roosevelt partnership has had such dramatic (and reciprocal) impact, is that it has evolved simply as a healthy relationship in a world of institutional division.

In other words, to the surprise of many, social INSTITUTIONS (in this case church-education) have managed to form a relationship by relating more like INDIVIDUALS - for the common good of our kids. This is no small achievement. As so many are painfully aware, we live in a nation, and a world, that is divided on so many fronts: Church-Education, Government-Business, Business-Media, Media- and everybody else. Or so it would seem! Certainly, there are good reasons for certain institutional divisions. The separation of church and state for one, has many positive and important reasons to exist.

However, what we have experienced in the SouthLake-RHS partnership, and are seeing nationally as well, is the powerful impact that is synergized when assumed walls are broken down and people can be people - working together side by side - meeting the vital needs of our children based on principles we share in common.

The Core Principles of Be|Undivided represent the foundations by which this work, and impact, can be expressed. And not only expressed, but effectively sustained, we hope for generations to come ... for the good of our children, and for our nation.

In the coming weeks we will be continuing this 6-part series delving deeper into each of our Core Principles, in hopes that they will help you, and churches across the nation, to serve our kids and their schools well. 

- Kip Jacob