Welcome to the “Big Top”

Come one, come all. Step right up to the main event—a new year in missions!

As you warm up for this year's Unshakable act, your pre-show checklist might look a little like mine:

  • decorate the meeting space
  • purchase materials
  • organize supplies
  • study the lesson
  • schedule monthly missions projects

All of these things are very important and will help ensure a smooth start. But, before the show can begin, it's important to consider ways you can prepare your heart to welcome a diverse group of kids to an exciting year of missions learning and action.

It's easy to appear ready on the outside; but if you haven't prepared yourself on the inside to communicate love with the children you lead, you may miss out on valuable opportunities to share the real reason why you do what you do each week. Will your actions and attitudes enable each child to know Jesus and be burdened for those who don't?

Welcome kids to the "Big Top" with these performance tips as you lead each week:

  • Love and Acceptance: Serve each child as if he or she were your own child. Let each one know you genuinely care. Smile and look him or her in the eye. Give hugs, high fives, and fist bumps as you take cues from each child.
  • Joy and Gentleness: Radiate a general sense of peace and happiness about your role as a missions leader. Convey a spirit of gentleness by encouraging "calm, kind words" from "calm, kind faces."
  • Affirmation and Blessing: Let your words affirm to kids that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Find positive things to say about each girl and boy. You have the opportunity to make a difference in every child's life.
  • Boundaries and Routines: Just like God gives us boundaries, kids need us to provide boundaries as well. Establish routines and stick to them. Kids need predictability and structure, even at church.
  • Patience and Wisdom: Children aren't perfect. Even in moments of discipline, be slow to react or speak without wisdom. Ask God to help you understand each child's heart in order to speak and react appropriately. Be mindful of each child's unique circumstances; you don't fully know the baggage they bring with them each week to missions.
  • Faithfulness and Self-Control: God has called you to a very important role as you lead kids to grow in their faith development and understand their parts in the Great Commission. Do what you have been called to do with your whole heart and for the whole time. Take every thought to the Lord in prayer, and let your behavior flow from a spirit-controlled heart and mind.

The show's about to start. Are you—the ringmaster—ready? A little preparation behind the scenes, both inside and out, will make for a spectacular show everyone will be talking about for years to come.

So, put on your top hat, take the center ring, and get ready to amaze kids with acts of unshakable faith in God's redemptive love. This year in missions will undoubtedly be the greatest show on earth!


Melissa Whetstone serves as GA editor at national WMU. Between work, three boys, and five pets, she sometimes describes her own life as a three-ring circus. One of her favorite acts each week is leading first- through third-grade GAs at her church.


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