mission friends

Learning about Missions

Learning about missions around the world

My friend’s daughter buckled her preschool son in the car seat of their vehicle after Mission Friends one evening. She asked her son, “What did you learn in Mission Friends tonight?” Her son responded, “THUH missionawies. UH’gain.” What a great commercial that would make for Mission Friends!

Take a minute to think about what your preschoolers learn in Mission Friends. Since learning about missions is one area of growth that we want preschoolers to gain in Mission Friends, what do they learn about missions?

Preschoolers learn the basic concepts of the meaning of the word missions. They begin learning that God loves all people, God wants everyone to know of His love, and that not everyone knows of His love. They learn that God wants us to tell others and show others His love.

You’re Invited

Mission Friends Invitations

Invite preschoolers to Mission Friends® with these creative invitation ideas. These three ideas are from First Steps in Missions, vol. 23. Each chapter offers a different enlistment idea to go along with the teaching units for this year, and the ideas here go along with the fall units. Use the invitations in the following ways. 

Singing with Preschoolers

Music is good for preschoolers

Do you ever wake up with a song in your heart? Songs touch our lives in special ways, and singing is so important for preschoolers. Preschoolers are captivated by both melody and rhythm. As they sing, they experience both heard and spoken sound. They experience alliteration and rhyming and sequencing and patterning. Singing builds a foundation for more advanced language skills and physical development. And, music allows us to praise God with our hearts and minds, as well as our bodies.

Their Attention Span Is So Short!

Short attention span

One minute the preschooler is listening intently as you tell the mission story. The next minute she’s poking at the preschooler sitting next to her, no longer listening to you at all. Another preschooler makes only a few marks on a coffee filter in the Art area, and before you know it he is in the Nature area smelling the matching scents. Preschoolers have such short attention spans, and it sometimes catches us off guard. At this time of year when younger preschoolers may promote into your Mission Friends® class, you might especially notice their short attention span. This is evident in the activity time as well as during Group Time. These tips will help as you teach preschoolers in Mission Friends.

  • Remember that, generally, the younger the preschooler, the shorter her attention span.

  • Give choices of activities so preschoolers can move freely from one activity to another. Teaching through the interest areas allows the preschooler to move in and out of activities as his attention span dictates.

Reaching the Lost in Kansas City

Cole Family

David and Chris Cole started Oak Tree Church in Kansas City, Missouri, 2.5 years ago. Mr. Cole shares that his church’s community is an area of great lostness. Over 20,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the church, and more than 91% of these people are unchurched. Oak Tree is very focused on missions, and the Cole family leads the way in doing whatever it takes to reach everyone at every level in their community.

Mr. Cole says, “What I love most about what I do is seeing lives and families transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Mr. and Mrs. Cole do much more than teach about missions. They intentionally seek out opportunities for sharing the love of God with others. The Cole family demonstrates that missions is not just something you do in your spare time. They live out a holistic missional lifestyle. You could say that missions is written into the DNA of their family.

Life Among the Songhai in Niger

Songhai women and children

George and Megan Lane* serve as church planters among the Songhai [song-GAHY] people in Niger. Around 99% of the Songhai are Muslims. While this creates a barrier to the gospel, the Lanes have discovered that the Songhai people are very welcoming and will sit and listen to their stories of Jesus. Because most people in this culture do not read, the Lanes use storying to share the gospel.

The Lanes are church planters, so they share the gospel with anyone willing to listen, including children. They say that the children are grateful for hearing God’s Word. Singing songs, playing games, and coloring are all special treats among the Songhai children because they love to learn, and they don’t have coloring books or crayons at their homes.

The Lanes’ experience in Niger is that while ministering and living among the Songhai is challenging, the Songhais’ hospitable culture opens doors to sharing God’s love.
 

Planning for Christmas in August

Christmas in August

How do you involve your Mission Friends® in Christmas in August®? This annual campaign gives you a unique opportunity to inspire your preschoolers and their families to join in giving to and praying for missionaries. Through their Christmas in August gifts, preschoolers experience the joy of partnering with missionaries who are sharing God’s love through North America.

Take these steps now to begin planning for Christmas in August at your church:

Choose a Missionary

Begin planning for Christmas in August with prayer. Ask the Lord to guide you in choosing the missionary your Missions Friends will support. After you pray, take the following steps:

  • Read through the list of Christmas in August missionaries on pages 44 and 45 in Summer 2017 Mission Friends Leader, or review the list online.

We Love First Steps in Missions

First Steps in Missions, vol. 23

What do you love most about teaching Mission Friends®? Is it your preschoolers’ natural curiosity and joy? Is it their penchant for telling so much truth? Is it their ability to accept God’s deep truths with simple faith? One thing that I love about teaching Mission Friends is seeing their eyes light up when they develop a new realization about God’s global mission. You can almost see their minds working to assimilate the new thought.

I love teaching Mission Friends. I love engaging preschoolers’ minds with the thought that “God loved us and sent His Son” (see 1 John 4:10). I love exploring new cultures with my little ones and teaching them that people around the world are very different, but that God loves us all the same. Because of my love for teaching, I always enjoy discovering new ideas to try with my classes. This is one reason that I love the First Steps in Missions books so much. Have you ever used First Steps in Missions?

Christmas in August: Preschool

Little girl in front of christmas tree

Involve preschoolers in sharing with others through Christmas in August. Encourage preschoolers to bring items listed below for a North American missionary to be used within his or her ministry.

  1. Select one missionary from the list.
  2. Send home a note encouraging families to participate with their child. List items the missionary requests. Remind parents all gifts should be new. A note you can download, fill in, and send home is in Free Downloads for Mission Friends.
  3. Leave the gifts unwrapped.
  4. Send only the items requested because storage can be a problem.
  5. If Mission Friends make cards for the missionary, remind them they may not hear back from that person because it takes the missionaries lots of time and costs money to write and mail notes to all the churches who send gifts.

Missionaries for Christmas in August are chosen by the North American Mission Board, and the missionaries list the items they wish to receive. Today, stories abound from grateful missionaries who acknowledge that the impact of these gifts will perhaps not be known until eternity.

 

Non-Food Treats

non-food treats

Christmas parties, goodie bags, and gift exchanges. This time of year gives us opportunities to give little treats to our preschoolers we teach in Mission Friends. What do you do if you have a preschooler with allergies? This can make all the difference in what we give and serve to preschoolers.

This year I have a preschooler who has severe allergies to food items, and we have to be very careful about what we offer to our Mission Friends. We do not want to single him out, so we serve all the preschoolers in our class the same snacks that he can have. The nature of his allergies is so severe that we always get prior approval from his mom for anything we serve.

So for Christmas when we want to give our preschoolers a special treat, what can we give? I started searching and making a list of non-food items for preschool teachers to give as treats. What other items can you add to the list?

  • Nativity ornament

  • stampers

  • fun drinking straws

  • small packages of play dough

  • silly sunglasses

  • finger puppets

  • shoelace charms

Pages

Back to Top