Released Time Bible Classes
Camp Grace and its army of volunteers are currently ministering to approx. 4,000 students in 28 local public schools in Robeson County, NC through Released Time Bible classes. Every year, we see hundreds of children come to know Christ as their personal Savior from sin through this vital ministry.
Is Released Time New?
No! Released Time began in 1914 and since that time, thousands of children have come under the influence of the Gospel through Released Time programs all across the country. However, most Christians are totally unaware of the wonderful opportunity that God has made available for us to reach young people in this way.
Camp Grace began Released Time classes in 1991 when it became impossible to go directly into the public schools to teach the Bible.
How Does It Work?
After local school board and individual principal's approval, interested parents give their permission for children to be "released" from school for a designated time to go to a location off the school property (we use nearby church buildings or our Rolling Chapel classroom pictured on the right). There, they can be taught the wonderful truths of God's Word by CBM workers.
Are Such Programs Legal?
Yes! In 1952, the constitutionality of Released Time ministry was tested in the Supreme Court case of Zorach vs. Clauson (343 U.S. 306). The ruling found such ministries not to be in violation of the United States Constitution.
The court said, "When the state encourages religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions, for it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not, would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe."
Why is Released Time Necessary?
While most parents choose to have their children attend public schools, they are concerned about the increased secularization that the doctrine of humanism has brought to their students' classrooms. They realize that traditional Christian value systems are being undermined, leaving children vulnerable to amoral peer pressures. They are concerned that their children are missing the teaching of moral/ethical values taught in the Bible which produce the personal character that made out country great. Since public school teachers are restricted from teaching Biblical truth in the classrooms, parents see a need for a special time of instruction when Biblical values can be taught. A Released Time Bible program has proven to be the answer to this critical need in numerous school districts.
It is true that many students have no understanding of God and the Bible. Well over fifty percent of those in Released Time classes do not attend any church. Therefore, this program provides wonderful opportunities for evangelism. Consider these words from the booklet Released Time Religious Education: An Overlooked Open Door, prepared by the Christian Legal Society: "...It is an opportunity overlooked by most parents, clergymen, and educators. Religious Released Time is the most effective open door by which students may receive religious instruction during their school day. Released Time is the only means by which religious instruction... is allowed during the school day."