Children's Leaders

Reflections on Time Well Spent

This month, several of our staff members traveled to the WMU Annual Meeting and Southern Baptist Convention held in Dallas, Texas. For months before the event, we’ve planned, created, imagined, written, put items together, and taken them apart to be packed. We built a hut and pushcart, learned to play mancala, wrote speeches, coordinated missionary speakers, and designed conferences. We’ve made reservations, determined schedules, planned meals, tweaked those schedules, and planned events. We’ve counted supplies and tried to run through every possible scenario imaginable to make sure we are more than prepared.

With all of that preparation, you’d think I was ready for anything. I do have to confess I was not prepared for how a handful of little girls made me feel Monday at the WMU booth on the exhibit floor of the Southern Baptist Convention.

New Products Hot Off the Press!

We're always excited at the national WMU office when June 1 rolls around each year. Can you guess why? It's not because it feels like the start of summer (although it does). It's not because June is our favorite month (although I'm sure it is for some of us). It's not because it's peak wedding season or even time for Annual Meeting (though both of those are pretty exciting). No, it's because we get to introduce you to our new products! After months of hard work getting our new products just right, we're ready to release them for you to enjoy.

Let me introduce some new children's products I think you’ll be excited about.

When you're ready to start planning for the coming year in missions:

Making Bible Stories Stick

There is a beloved storyteller in my community. In fact, she’s very well-known throughout the state, the Southeast and probably the entire United States. She has a following of people who faithfully gather to hear her tales, and this past spring I was able to attend one of her storytelling events for the first time. I was amazed at the ease with which she captivates listeners with her descriptive words, luscious alliterations and dramatic flair — all the while creating beautiful pictures in everyone’s minds. From her very first sentence, she hooks her audience and holds them mesmerized till the very end. How can an hour or even more go by so quickly? You become so enthralled in her story that you don’t want it to end . . . at least not yet!

Getting to Know Children in Action

The Children in Action Guide for Leaders describes CA this way: “Children in Action is an exciting and fun-filled coed missions education organization for boys and girls in grades 1–6. . . . In CA, children learn about the world, pray for the world, and learn how they can be used to tell others about God’s Son, Jesus.”

But CA is far more than just words found in a guide!

CA is a time for girls and boys to explore the world around them, both near and far, in North America and globally. CA is a time for children to expand their worldviews beyond their churches or neighborhoods or schools. CA is a time for children to learn that not only is God is at work around the world but that He has called children to discover their place in His calling.

An Inside Peek into MK Schooling

I zipped up my backpack and stepped outside into the dark night. To arrive at school on time, my dad woke me at 5:30 each morning. Faith Academy was over an hour away, but I was used to the commute. Outside, the street was quiet. My next-door neighbor was a senator, and I imagined he and his family were still snug in their beds. Sometimes I climbed onto our roof after school and peeked into their stately property. They had the nicest private pool I had ever seen in the Philippines!

I've Never Planned a Recognition Service! Now What?

I know who you are. I talk to someone just like you several times during spring recognition season. You’ve never planned or prepared a recognition service, and you have no idea where to start. You’re a tad bit overwhelmed with the idea of a formal service, and you’d just like a simple plan.

The good news is that you’re not alone. The even better news is that you can make a recognition service as simple (or as complicated) as you’d like to make it. As long as girls are being recognized for what they’ve learned and experienced this year in missions discipleship, you are on the right path!

Together, let’s plan a simple recognition service that will allow your GAs to be recognized for all their hard work this year.

There Are 5 Seasons?

In elementary school, I learned there are 4 seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter.

Working on the national WMU staff, I learned there are actually 5 seasons. You read correctly . . . 5!

What’s the fifth season I’m referring to? RECOGNITION SEASON!

It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I love it because it reminds me of when I was a GA and received my Mission Adventures badges in front of my church congregation. I remember feeling like the adults thought what I had learned and had to say about the projects we did during the year was important. And I remember adults asking questions and wanting to see things I had done during the year. Empowering!

That's a Wrap: WMU Celebrates CMD

“We didn’t have anything like this when I was little,” said Ana Cornel about Children’s Missions Day, which was hosted this year at national WMU in Birmingham on Feb. 17, as well as in churches across the country. “This is such a blessing for these children.”

Cornel, a Girls in Action (GA) leader at Iglesia Bautista Cristo Nuestra Esperanza (Christ Our Hope Baptist Church), explained she was born “automatically Catholic” in Mexico, as was Eulalia Ramones who also participated in Children’s Missions Day alongside her 7-year-old daughter, Ana Gutierrez.

“I was raised Catholic,” said Ramones, “then a friend invited me to church and I heard the gospel. I want my daughters learning at a young age about God and missions.”

Cornel said she leads GA because she has a missions heart. “I love missions and I want them [GA members] to learn they can be missionaries as little girls and that God has a purpose for their lives. My prayer is that one or more of these girls will grow up to be a missionary.”

Week of Prayer for North American Missions 2018

The Week of Prayer for North American Missions is nearly upon us! Starting on Sunday, March 4, 2018, Southern Baptists from all over will be specifically praying for various missionary efforts and the folks who oversee them here at home. From church planting to disaster relief and everything in-between, North American missionaries are continually on the lookout for ways to fulfill the Great Commission.

It may be difficult for some of us to think that missionary work needs to be done here at home. But as current trends of church decline and globalization of United States cities persist, missionary efforts here at home have perhaps never been needed more than they are now. In years past, to carry the message of Jesus Christ to different cultures and languages meant traveling the vast seas to parts unknown. Today, it means walking down the street to your neighbor's house! The world has come to our cities and states, and it's our job as believers to offer them a hand of friendship and the way of everlasting life through the life and love of Jesus.

Going for the Gold

Hello from Birmingham, Alabama! The high today — on February 20 — is 77 degrees! Can you believe it? (Probably, if you know anything about Alabama weather.) I love the cold weather, so I'm a little put out about it. It's supposed to get into the low 80s later this week. Meteorologists are saying we're going to break record highs for this time of year. If you like warm weather, I'm happy for you! If you like cold weather, we can commiserate together.

But enough about my weather pattern opinions. Let's focus instead on that word "record" I mentioned above. We're in the midst of the final week of the 2018 Winter Olympics. While the focus is on winning that gold medal, we often hear about athletes breaking world records while they're competing. Talk about exciting! What if you could use that excitement with the kids in your missions group?

Healthy competition can be a useful tool to encourage kids' participation in missions projects and during your weekly meetings. Here are some ideas to help you take a cue from the Olympics and get your kids more involved than ever.

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