Bringing Christian values to your school’s dining program
Mealtimes are always a favorite part of the school day— a break from the classroom and a time to relax and socialize with friends and classmates. Mealtime is also a prime hour to express and embody your school’s Christian values in fun, creative ways.
Here at Pedestal Foods, we call it “Inviting God to Lunch.”
As a specialized managed food service provider, we work with Christian schools of all sizes, shapes, and denominations. We’re always impressed by their creativity and commitment to school culture and values, and honored to help them brainstorm ways to incorporate spiritual habits into their day-to-day student experience.
Looking for ways you can invite God to lunch at your school?
Here are a few of our favorites:
Say Grace Together (and make it fun!)
Many schools say a blessing together before mealtimes. It’s a small but meaningful moment in the day, and full of opportunities for creativity and engagement! Try nominating students to deliver the blessing; use the “Blessing Leader” honor to recognize great behavior, kindness, and school values. To engage students in a group, assign the blessing responsibility to a different class or club each week, and challenge them to work together to compose and lead the school in a special prayer.
Invite Special Guests
Get your community partners involved with special “Grace Guests” to deliver a blessing or pray with students during mealtimes. Your guests will be honored to be invited, and you’ll create a perfect opportunity to engage with supporters, parents, and volunteers as you deepen connections with your mission.
Put it to Music
Summer camps, daycares, and preschools have been singing blessing songs for generations. You probably remember one from your own childhood, whether it’s the Johnny Appleseed song, “God our Father,” or “Thank you for the world so sweet…”. Singing a fun blessing song together sets a positive, fun tone for mealtimes while building a lifelong gratitude habit in young kids and grade schoolers. Even older students—yes, even high school kids—find comfort and ritual in familiar songs and chants. And it doesn’t have to be the blessing for the meal; try singing a few bars of a well-known hymn or contemporary worship song as a group closing ritual, too.
Draw it on the wall
A colorful mural is one of the easiest ways to spruce up a dining space. Why not use your dining area to display a favorite bible verse, song lyric, Christian poem or prayer? Creating a prayer mural can be a fun, budget-friendly, hands-on project when you involve your school’s art department, create a student design contest, or plan a group painting project for a service or church group. Prayer murals can also become a meaningful tradition for upperclassmen and high school seniors; enlist a graduating senior team each year to paint a new prayer mural as a gift and a blessing to the rising senior class.
Put Gratitude on Display
Nurture your students’ gratitude habit with a public Gratitude Board in your dining area. Encourage kids, staff, and teachers to thank God for things they’re thankful for. Get creative with your format and make it match your space and needs: paint a section of a wall with chalkboard or whiteboard paint and encourage students to doodle and write; hang a clothesline and provide slips of paper and clothespins; or use a good old bulletin board in an easy-to-access place. Having a daily visual reminder to practice gratitude creates—you guessed it—more gratitude in and out of school.
Bonus tip: Boost engagement by featuring student and staff contributions on the daily announcements, on a digital board, in a newsletter, or your school’s social media accounts.
Prayer Request Bucket
Encourage the practice of prayer and bolster your culture of support with a Prayer Request Bucket in an easy-to-access spot in your dining area. Like an old-school suggestion box, this idea encourages students, staff, and teachers to request prayers from your community as well as support each other in times of need. Incorporating it into your dining area makes it an accessible daily practice.
To create a Prayer Request Bucket, all you need is a secure receptacle with a slit top, a stack of paper slips, and a writing utensil. When you collect requests from the box, find a way to share prayer requests with the student body, whether anonymously or named. This can be as simple as placing a basket of completed prayer requests near the cash register, encouraging students to choose one and send some love to a fellow student as they sit down to break bread at lunch time. You can also ask teachers and staff to choose a prayer request during weekly team meetings.
Like the Gratitude Board, an Appreciation Station in your dining area encourages students, staff and teachers to notice and recognize the ways that others exemplify school values and live the example of Christ. Whether it’s a bulletin board, suggestion box, clothesline or other method, find a way for students to acknowledge and appreciate Christ in others as they gather at mealtime—and cultivate the same habits in themselves.
How does your dining program embody your Christian values?
Looking for a God-centered partner to manage your school’s dining program? Get in touch with Pedestal Foods here.