Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A new trend is keeping students connected with their spirituality when they are at school.
Students in the Midlands, like 5th grader Anna-Page, says the School Time Bible program keeps her close to God.
"I think every kid should get a chance to learn about the Lord," said Anna-Page. In 1995, School Time Bible first was introduced to the area.
"We went to a local school board and asked would they adopt a policy allowing students to go off campus for Bible education classes," said Director Grayson Hartgrove. Church members and supporters met Thursday to discuss how to grow the project. Hartgrove says students can still learn about God, just not in their classroom.
"There is three criteria that has to be met: It has to be off school property. There is no government money used, and the kids have to have parental permission," said Hartgrove.
Lauren, Mary-Kathryn and Jade are also 5th graders and leave school every week for Bible study.
"I think this will help kids who don't know about him learn about God," said Lauren.
"I think every child should have a relationship with the Lord because it helps you get through your ups and downs in life," said Mary-Kathryn.
"Getting to know that God will love us even though we sin, we have a strong relationship with Him," said Jade.
Eleven schools in the Midlands offer Bible education and eight more will join in spring. From kindergarten through high school, they leave school and go to a nearby church or a building not associated with a school.
"A school district doesn't start a program. A local church goes to the school board, and says, 'We would like to create a church school partnership, and provide a Bible class off-campus during the school day,'" said Hartgrove.
And as churches continue to reach out, the Christian faith will reach more students.