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.

New Church Year, New Preschoolers

Picture schedule

Most churches start their new church year in August or September, which includes promotion for the preschoolers’ and children’s classes. With the new church year, you may also have new preschoolers in Mission Friends®. Be ready for preschoolers who will promote into your class or start in Mission Friends for the first time!

By All Means

Christ's love compels us

I wrote the words of my pastor on the notes page of my Bible, “The world is crying out, ‘Show me an example of Christ’s love.’” Though that was years ago, the words are still true of the world today. Our world is crying out to us as believers to show them an example of Christ’s love. Sometimes those cries are as loud as ever, and sometimes they come through the soft whisper of a preschooler in your Mission Friends® class.

Praying for Christmas in August Missionaries

Christmas in August package

Christmas in August is a wonderful way to involve preschoolers in supporting missions by giving ministry supplies requested from a North American missionary. This is also a great opportunity to support Christmas in August missionaries through prayer. As your Mission Friends® collect the items needed, lead them in praying for the missionary and the ministries in which the items will be used.

Literal Thinkers

salt shaker

A preschooler and I were talking about the ocean, and he asked, “Who put salt in the ocean?” Of course I responded that God put the salt in the ocean. By the look on his face, I could tell my preschool friend was thinking of someone with a big salt shaker over the ocean. I realized my response was too abstract for his preschooler’s mind. He was thinking of what he knew about adding salt by a person using a salt shaker.

Preschoolers think of words literally. They take the literal meaning of words or phrases. Another way of saying it is that they think concretely. Their thinking goes to what the word actually means. If you say, “I feel blue,” a preschooler would look at you to see if your skin is blue. As literal thinkers, they are not able to understand abstract concepts or words. Our words can also be very confusing to preschoolers when the words have different meanings.

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.
 

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