Preparing Tomorrow's Missionaries

Take a moment and think about two children in two very different mission settings:

  • Consider the child who has participated in GA, RA, or CA for several years and has been taught by an adult leader. Over the course of time, the child has heard great stories about missionaries both at home and in other lands, the need to send more missionaries, and the hope those missionaries bring to people throughout the world. Imagine that after sitting in this environment for several years, the child is asked if they want to be a missionary.
  • Now, let's think about another child. This child has been involved in GA, RA, or CA and has listened to the same stories as the first child. The difference is that this child has created things with their own hands, drawn pictures of things they heard about in the stories, participated in role playing about things their leader described, and seen pictures (and maybe even video) of the work happening in other places. This child has held a globe while they looked for the region or country being discussed each month, baked cookies for the local fire department, and been recognized in front of their church for completing fun activities and projects. The child can explain how scraping glue off the preschoolers' tables helps in the work of the church and can explain the pledge or motto of their children's missions organization. This child has helped missionaries by collecting and sending needed items and isn't afraid to pray in front of a group because they have practiced so many times. Imagine that this child is asked if they want to be one of the missionaries.

Leaders help plant the seeds for children who grow into adults called to full-time or short-term missions by engaging children in meaningful activities that promote learning in a wide variety of ways and styles. Leaders take time to see each activity, each learning opportunity, and each recipe as a chance for a child to feel God tugging at their heart. Great leaders invest time and effort into learning activities that involve movement, a few messes, and motivation to understand one's place in the Great Commission.

Start small. Encourage children to memorize Scripture, pray aloud, and find countries on the map. As their excitement grows, increase the variety of projects and activities children do each week.

Look around your room and pray for tomorrow's missionaries. Do everything today to help prepare children's hearts to respond to God's call to fulfill the Great Commission. Which of the two children above will respond to the call to be God's servant? Hopefully, both will; but realistically, it will be the child who was fully engaged in a variety of hands-on projects and activities.

by Heather Keller



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