Children in Action

Children and Long-Distance Missions

Today’s the day. Another team is being commissioned before the church body to leave on an international missions trip. The children around you look on with awe as each team member is introduced and prayed over. Maybe they even whisper to each other about how cool it would be to participate in a trip like this.

And, they can participate! Maybe they cannot physically go on the trip, but they do have things to offer to the missions team.

Prayer. Every missions team needs prayer. They need prayer before the trip, during the trip, and even after the trip for the hearts and lives of the people to whom they witnessed. Lead group prayers with children. Assign each child or group of children a certain member of the missions team or a particular aspect of the trip to pray for, such as Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, service work, or youth ministry. Prayer is powerful, and children can help shape the missions trip by praying for the people of the country and the members of the team.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1 NIV).

Fall is Coming!

A famous pastor once preached a sermon titled “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming.” Of course, the sermon alluded to Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified and how desperate that day often seems. But, as the pastor reminded us, we can’t stop on Good Friday; we have to look forward to Resurrection Sunday.

Well, to play off of that sermon title, let me remind you that “It’s June, but the new church year is coming!”

Even in the heat of summer, the cooler days of fall will be here before we know it! Our missions organizations will kick off another year of teaching boys and girls about the Great Commission, missionaries who serve around the world, and ways they themselves may be called by God to serve.

As you prepare for the new church year, here are a few ways to start preparing now:

Missions Expedition

Missions Expedition is an individual achievement plan for boys and girls. It helps children deepen their understanding of missions. Missions Expedition can be used as a part of Children in Action. Or it can supplement any children's group or homeschool class. Either once a month or quarter, Children in Action groups are encouraged to work on a Missions Expedition.

Leaders choose assignments from Missions Expedition. These assignments include:

VBS: Very Big Suggestion

In June and July, your church is most likely hosting a Vacation Bible School (VBS). Whatever curriculum and theme you use, whether you do traditional VBS or a variation, you have a great opportunity to be on mission and to jumpstart missions education.

VBS and Backyard Kids Clubs have been on a great trend for churches in Tennessee as a way to get people outside the doors of their church and into their community to share the gospel. This has been exceptionally effective in churches in Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville, Tennessee. However, don’t forget that as you are reaching the lost children in your own community, VBS can also be a great way to introduce missions education in your church if you do not already have Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, or Children in Action. VBS classes can include a missions rotation. LifeWay VBS includes this in their materials, but even if you and your church are not doing the “Submerged” VBS this year, you can include a missions segment in your teaching time.

Some ideas:

How Children Can Come to Christ Through Missions Organizations

Many of the children that come to our church on Wednesday nights do not go to any church on Sundays. Our Wednesday night program might be the only time these children hear the gospel. We reach out to their families, but some of the parents will not come. How do we tell these children about Jesus while telling them about the missionaries, teaching them the lesson, and working on different projects?

Here are a few suggestions I have used.

5 Reasons Why I Am a GA Leader

Ocean View Baptist Church GA
  1. I prayed: Please provide a new GA leader to provide missions education for our girls. The answer was: You do it. I became a Girls in Action® leader then, and I am a still a leader now, because You do it still echoes in my head and my heart.
  2. Jesus said  “Let the children come to me... ” in Mark 10:14. GA® is the best way to “let the children come to Him”—to hear His love for the world and His desire for all to believe in Him. GA takes girls outside the church to recognize physical and spiritual needs and to do missions that shows the love of Jesus and tells the gospel story.
  3. Through GA JourneyTM, girls created missionary prayer cubes. Suggestions were made for prayer needs to be written on each side. Following safety and health prayer suggestions, one GA announced praying for lost people to be saved is the most important prayer need. They get it!

Meet Me in St. Louis!

I always enjoy WMU’s Annual Meeting each year as WMU members from across the country gather to worship together and learn about missions work happening around the world. This summer’s meeting, however, will be extra special. I will be hosting children’s missions groups as they have an awesome opportunity to be a part of WMU’s Annual Meeting in St. Louis!

While planning this experience, a coworker asked me what excited me most about this event. I must admit—I know children and their leaders will enjoy plenty of things about this afternoon experience. But what I find most exciting is the opportunity for children to understand what they are learning right now in Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, and Children in Action can be a way of life for them that will impact the world for Christ.

Exciting? Absolutely!

Go and Tell: Teaching Children to Share Jesus in a Postmodern World

scripture verse

“Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. Then Jesus came to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end’” (Matthew 28:16–20).

The Great Commission. As Christians, this is what we are commanded to do—share the truth of God with the world. But this is not always easy to do in today’s postmodern society, especially for children.

From the friends they interact with at school to the messages constantly bombarding them through various modes of entertainment (TV, movies, radio, social media), children are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern belief that “anything goes.” After all, today’s children are postmoderns living in a post-Christian world. This is all they have ever known.

Children's projects for a postmodern world

Construction paper ready for projects

As our society believes more and more that any belief is acceptable, children need plenty of practice sharing truth and what they are learning about the one true God. As children's missions leaders, you and I have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to empower children to speak out about Scripture. 

Try these ideas with your children’s missions group to give them opportunities to share truth with others in your community:

Postmodernism: Everything is Different

“Daddy, things are different today from when you were little.” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from my eight-year-old son Evan.

Of course, he’s right. Things are different.

When I was younger, if someone wanted to get in touch with me, they either had to come to my house or they had to call my house. After all, that’s where the telephone was located— hardwired into the wall! Nowadays, with cell phones, we are accessible just about everywhere we go.

Cars are smaller today. Planes go faster. The world really doesn’t feel nearly as big today as it did when I was younger.

Evan is right, “Things are different today.”

But, does being different make the things of today better than the things of yesterday? Not necessarily. They are just different.

Over the last 50 years or so, there has been a remarkable transformation in how children see their world and their parents—and in how parents see their children and understand how they should be raised. There’s no debating it: families are different today. Or, as many would claim, we are living in a postmodern world.

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