Released Time Ministries is often new information for many people who assume that Biblical Studies and public schools do not mix. Actually, Released Time Ministries is far from new. In fact, in 1952 Congress passed a law stating that students could be released from a school period each week for religious studies provided they had parental permission.
As far back as anyone can remember, Clover students had devotions and Bible study time in the schools until 1996. At that time, an individual questioned the local school board about the legality of having such a time set aside for Bible study during the school day. Acknowledging the likelihood of losing a court battle over the issue, the Clover school board asked the churches that provided the weekly Bible story time for students to withdraw their program.
The directors of the Bible program that had been offered to Clover 3rd-6th graders sought out a legal method to continue teaching the word of God to Clover school children. During this search, Released Time Ministries was discovered. After being out of the Clover schools for only one semester, Bible classes were once again offered to students in grades 3-6. The only difference in the new program was that it was required to meet off campus.
A school bus that had been transformed into a mobile classroom was the first home of Clover’s Biblical Studies Released Time Ministries. Because of schedule changes, students are now picked up once a week during an activity period and transported by bus to a nearby church for their classes. Also because of changes made in the grades in each school, Released Time classes are now only available to students in grades 3-5. Released Time classes are available for every Clover elementary school each week.
Here is an example of the impact this organization has had.
One of the local pastor’s came into the Released Time room in his church this week and told the teacher he had two entire families now active in his church simply because their children had enjoyed Released Time Bible class so much they went home and asked their parents to take them to church. Now, not just the kids, but their families as well are learning about Jesus! Another fact, when I began teaching 19 years ago, about half of my children were regular church goers. Just two years ago, 1/3 did not attend regularly. This year, only about 25% attend church at all. — 2013