Girls in Action

"Mom, Where Is Peru?"

I love conversations with my eight-year-old son, Landon, but I especially enjoy conversations about our faith and sharing our faith with others. He recently claimed Christ as his Savior, so these conversations are increasing.

“Why do some people choose not to accept Jesus?” has been his hardest question for me to answer so far. If we are honest, it’s a tough one for any Christian to comprehend, much less an eight-year-old. One of my favorite questions has to be when he asked why missionaries would leave their families to go around the world to tell others about Jesus.

To help both of our sons understand what we can do to share our faith with others, we are active in missions discipleship as a family. Tommy leads RA, I lead GA, and both boys are active in missions. We’ve been on family missions trips and participated in local Children’s Missions Day projects. We see great value in making sure our children understand the Great Commission and that we are all responsible for living out our faith in front of others.

Communicating Love to Kids

Have you ever taken a road trip?

I bet you have.

Chances are, though, you didn't just wake up one morning, hop in the car, and start driving. You probably spent days, weeks, and maybe even months getting ready. You mapped your route, flagged site-seeing musts, packed your bags, and serviced your car. It's no secret that a little preparation on the front end usually makes for happy travelers and a memorable trip that everyone will be talking about for years to come.

As the new church year rolls around the corner, you are probably busy getting ready to "hit the road" for a different kind of adventure—a missions adventure! Maybe your checklist looks a little like mine:

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

Check, check, check, check, and check! Who doesn't love a nice, little checklist??

But, reality check—I need to add one more very important thing to that list: What am I doing to prepare my heart to welcome a diverse group of kids to a fun new year in missions?

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.

How Your Family Can Live a Missional Summer

There's a misconception that in order to do missions as a family, you have to go somewhere or your church has to organize it. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: that couldn't be further from the truth! Now, don't get me wrong—missions trips are amazing, and your church can be a great resource; but that is not the only way to do missions. Living your life on mission means turning your community into your missions field.

As leaders, parents, and family members, is it our duty to not only teach our kids how to live a life on mission, but to show them as well. Missional living starts right where we are. And if where we are is our hometown, then that's where we need to do missions. Summer is the perfect time to do it!

Incorporating Learning Styles in Missions Education

Every child is different. All children have different likes and dislikes, different levels of ability and education, and different learning preferences. The kids we teach may be visual learners, auditory learners, or kinesthetic learners. While it would be difficult to fully accommodate each learner in the short period of time they participate in missions education each week, there are definite steps leaders can take to facilitate optimal learning. When planning activities for a lesson, leaders should incorporate as many different senses into the lesson as are feasible.

Multisensory instruction is one of the best ways for children to learn. When a child only hears or reads, he or she may retain a small amount of the material. But when tactile activities are combined with auditory and visual components, comprehension increases dramatically. And, of course, we want missions education to be fun and enjoyable! Kids go to school many hours each week, and we never want them to feel like missions education is just another hour of school. Listed below are some ways you can incorporate multisensory activities into your lessons.

Being a Missional Family

“Families on Mission” is more than a concept or even a catchphrase.

At least, it should be.

After all, who better to do missions with than the people you love the most—your own family! What a great future we are providing our children as we not only teach them about missions, but we serve together doing missions.

While summer is in full swing, there is no better time than now to get your family involved in a missions project. Your project doesn't have to be anything elaborate, cost a small fortune, or even require faraway travel. You can do missions as a family in your own community!

Here are a few ways your family can get involved in the mission of God.

A Love of Calgary

I have been serving as children’s minister at Dixie Hills Baptist in Bolivar, Tennessee, for 16 months. Earlier this year, I started using the Children in Action curriculum during our Wednesday night ministry. I was so excited to see Calgary as the featured city for June! I’m originally from Mississippi, but God called me to attend the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains just a few miles from Calgary. I had no idea God would have me on mission in Canada for almost 14 years! For most of those years, I served in full-time children’s ministry.

Creating an Inclusive Missions Learning Environment for Kids with Special Needs

When we create learning environments for missions education, we often forget to plan for kids with special needs. Many preparations for special needs children are easy to include in the classroom, but there may be some you haven’t considered. Understand that some adjustments need to be made as new children begin to participate in your ministry.

Physical Adjustment
Make your learning space clutter-free. Kids with mobility issues have enough difficulty navigating space without additional barriers such as toys, chairs, or other obstacles. Make sure the tables and chairs are the correct height to accommodate children with physical handicaps.

Sensory Adjustment
Some kids are negatively affected by loud noises and colors. Soothing, quiet music and low conversation tones help reduce sensory overload. Bright and busy classrooms often agitate special needs children. Include just the basic instructional tools for your learning space.

God Speaks to Us in the Quiet

Have you ever noticed that you hear a lot of sounds at night that you don’t usually hear during the day? Maybe it’s a dog barking, a quiet clock ticking, or even the wood in your home making clicks and pops as it settles. The Bible tells us that when Samuel was a young boy, God spoke to him one night as he was lying in bed. Samuel did not know it was God at first, but once he figured it out, he responded, “Speak. I’m listening.” Then God gave him a message. For the rest of Samuel’s life, God continued to speak to him in this way.

God speaks to us, too, but we often have to settle down and listen so that we can understand His message. This is one reason it is so important to make time to spend in prayer with God. When nothing else can distract us and we can listen carefully, God can speak to us the best. Samuel knew this well.

Do you want to find out what God has in store for you? Just start listening!

Have children practice these exercises with a friend to see just how much they can hear when they are focused. Give these instructions:

Pen Pals

Making friends is so important for kids! It is especially fun to make friends who share your interests but live somewhere else—a different city or state, a different culture or family. Connect with other missions groups to pair children with a pen pal. Missions leaders can connect over social media with other leaders. Post a photo of your group and then send details.

Lead children to write a letter or email. Or, send a package as a group filled with items. Here are some fun ideas children can include:

  • natural items that you find in your hometown, such as flowers, leaves, rocks, or sticks
  • handmade items like a special photo album, artwork, a keychain, or a craft
  • a postcard from your hometown or state
  • a candy or snack item
  • a favorite Bible verse
  • a map you drew of your town and church
  • a copy of your favorite song
  • a sheet of stickers to share
  • anything from a dollar discount store

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