Children's Leaders

Christmas in August Update

As a kid, Christmas Eve was a day I looked forward to all year long! Christmas Eve was when Santa would stop by our house and bring us presents. Every year, I was so excited about what was to come that I’d voluntarily put myself to bed extra early with hopes that the morning would come sooner. I would not sleep under the covers on Christmas Eve. You see, my mother had a rule that we could not leave our rooms each morning (including Christmas morning) until our beds were made. So, on Christmas Eve I would sleep (if I slept at all) on top of the covers so that I could prevent the 2–3-minute delay of getting to my presents!

I often wonder if that’s how Christmas in August missionaries feel as they approach WMU’s focus on their ministries. Are they excited? Curious about what to expect? A little concerned about how many RAs, GAs, or CAs might give in support of their work? More than likely, there’s a mix of emotions going through their minds as they wait for Christmas in August to roll around.

Are you familiar with Christmas in August? A little history might be good at this point.

Sharing Jesus' Love in Times of Tragedy

Do your kids understand the importance of the Great Commission? Do they truly? It might seem like a silly question to ask of you as a missional leader, but it’s time for a little examination.

It’s hard to ignore tragedies in this world (and we shouldn’t try). The tragedies we’ve seen both very recently and in the more distant past make a few things hit home: we don’t know what the next day holds; this world needs the love of Jesus; and we have the responsibility to make His love known.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to double down on teaching kids to share God’s love with the world. With all of the tragedies we see happening on the news, it becomes more and more imperative to reach lost people in this world. The Great Commission has always been imperative, but the tragedies we read about, witness, or experience tend to make that more clear.

Customizable for You

I have a problem. But it’s a good problem! You may know that I lead younger GAs at my church. We started the year strong, with 14 girls in attendance. And each subsequent week, we have added a few new girls to the group. Now don’t get me wrong—this is so exciting and thrills my soul! But it’s a lot of girls—energetic, giggly, socially interactive girls—in a relatively small space!

Additionally, when you combine fresh first graders with seasoned third graders, you face a different set of challenges, such as various reading levels, skill sets, and abilities. So, after a slightly loud and chaotic meeting last week, my co-leaders and I decided to try something new for this week—centers!

Tips for Enlisting Additional Co-leaders

We hear you. You have tried everything! You have prayed faithfully! Yet, again, you are in the midst of the year with too few co-leaders for children’s missions organizations.

In today’s postmodern culture, the quest for adequate leaders is more challenging than ever. It seems every moment of every day of church members’ lives are already filled with responsibilities for family, career, and church.

These 5 “Be” tips will help you develop an effective enlistment strategy.

Be always vocally positive about serving in missions education.

  • Tell stories of what kids are achieving in missions.
  • Emphasize the joy of serving, not the challenges.

Be on the co-leader lookout. Identify people who . . .

  • Assist with events for kids at church or missions events.
  • Have abilities that complement current leaders’ skills or fill a need.

Begin to plant seeds for co-leadership. Ask those identified to . . .

Recruiting Millennial Leaders

If you visit our blog regularly for advice about leading kids, you might be wondering why I'm talking about millennials today. You might be thinking this isn't the age you lead, so this particular blog isn't for you. You might even be tempted to click away to another topic. But I hope you'll stick with me, because millennials are a very crucial age group to get involved with leading GA, RA, and CA.

As a millennial myself, I've developed an awareness of the disdain and bewilderment people often direct at my generation. And I wonder to myself, "Why are people pushing us away instead of embracing the opportunity?" That's what I want to help you do today: embrace the opportunity to recruit millennials to become a new generation of GA, RA, and CA leaders.

If you're at a total loss of how to connect with millennials and bring them into the leadership fold or you need a few pointers, it's okay. I want to help you with my firsthand knowledge of my generation, which is sometimes described as elusive, but is in actuality ready to embrace the mantle of leadership, if only we could be given the chance.

I'm Excited for a New Year in Missions!

This week, my GAs will be back in our classroom, reciting our pledge, and learning about missions work happening in Kansas City, Missouri. Because we only have GA and RA during the school year, the summer months (while hectic) seem to be missing a bit of excitement, activity, and inspiration as our room sits empty each Wednesday night. When I see the girls during the summer, they want to know where I traveled and whom I met and when we are starting back—because they miss GA.

What they're telling me isn't that they miss me during the summer. They don't miss our wall map showing locations of missionaries we've studied. They don't miss our pledge or my somewhat mediocre storytelling skills. They don't even miss the badges and the projects. What they're telling me is that they've missed the love of our church family.

Put Your Socks Back On! A Quick Checklist for Mission Safety

I try not to think too hard about what a crazy, dangerous world it is. Otherwise, the responsibility of overseeing a group of elementary-age kids at church would scare my socks off! On the other hand, because it's a crazy, dangerous world out there, I need to put on my big girl socks and take a responsible look at the plans we have in place to ensure our kids' safety.

Want to take a look with me?

Safety at church

  • Do we have a worker screening policy? If so, have all our leaders been through required procedures and training?
  • Is our classroom safe? Do I know where to find a first aid kit? Where do we go in case of fire, storm, or other weather emergencies?
  • Do I have current contact and enrollment information for each child? Am I aware of allergies or other health issues?

Safety away from church

What WMU Taught Me

For the past 8 weeks, I have been a summer intern at national WMU on the Children's Resource Team. I was never a GA or an Acteen, so my exposure to and knowledge about WMU has always been limited. I have learned so much about missions and the importance of missional living in these past 8 weeks.

As I look back on my time here, I cannot help but to smile when I think of all the wonderful people I have met and all the incredible opportunities I have had here. All across WMU's publications, the importance of missional living and investing in others is reiterated time after time, and let me tell you—that is being lived out every day in these offices. On a daily basis, most everyone in this building is constantly praying for the churches, leaders, students, kids, and adults who are being reached by WMU. The people here are so passionate about what WMU stands for and the work that it does.

In With the New

It won’t be long and the familiar sound of a ringing school bell will be heard in classrooms. The wheels on the big yellow school bus will be going round and round. And, kids will be dragging themselves out of bed and back to school for another year of learning.

So, what does the new school year and going back to school mean for missions education in your church? For some churches, the new school year will mean restarting their missions education programs after taking a few months off. For those who continued with GA, RA, and CA during the summer, it will mean more stable meetings as fewer leaders and kids will be out on vacation.

As you prepare for the beginning of another new school year and another year in missions education, now is a great time to evaluate your organization and material needs. Now is also a great time to order the Mission: Hit the Road Promotion Pack. This annual pack provides an overview of the year ahead. You’ll find great decorating tips, ideas, and learning activities that’ll help you have a successful new year.

Start Doing Your Homework

Believe it or not, fall is right around the corner. I know it’s hard to think about those crisp, cool, autumn months while the summer sun shines bright. But trust me, it’ll come faster than you think! That’s why this is the perfect time to do a little research.

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