new year

Welcome to the “Big Top”

Come one, come all. Step right up to the main event—a new year in missions!

As you warm up for this year's Unshakable act, your pre-show checklist might look a little like mine:

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

All of these things are very important and will help ensure a smooth start. But, before the show can begin, it's important to consider ways you can prepare your heart to welcome a diverse group of kids to an exciting year of missions learning and action.

It's easy to appear ready on the outside; but if you haven't prepared yourself on the inside to communicate love with the children you lead, you may miss out on valuable opportunities to share the real reason why you do what you do each week. Will your actions and attitudes enable each child to know Jesus and be burdened for those who don't?

Welcome kids to the "Big Top" with these performance tips as you lead each week:

On Campus Yet in the World: 5 Missions Opportunities for College Students in 2018

Happy New Year! It’s officially 2018. As you begin to think about all that’s in store this year, is God nudging you to become more involved in sharing His story with others locally, nationally, and globally? With another semester upon you, it may be difficult to see beyond the next couple of weeks. But God can use this season of your life to spread the good news among those who desperately need to hear it. Whether you have a weekend, an entire semester, or a long-term opportunity on your heart, check out these ways to use your time as a student to further the kingdom of God:

Weeklong/Weekend Missions Trips

Ask God to show you opportunities to share His love with others. Learn about the needs of people around you and how missions trips could be a tool for you to meet those needs, beginning with a week or a weekend. Plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of those you serve by explaining why you care and want to help. Look for opportunities to expand your conversations and share about the hope Jesus offers.

Break from Routine

Mornings came early in seminary. I had to be at the cafeteria by 5:30 a.m. to work my shift. I also babysat, cleaned houses, and fulfilled National Guard duties. Between classes and odd jobs, there was little study time and practically no down time whatsoever. Class attendance was expected. Chapel attendance was optional. I hope you will not judge me too harshly, but sometimes I would skip chapel in favor of the $.99 all you can eat biscuits and gravy at a local restaurant. I will say I was not the only seminarian occasionally feasting on downhome cooking rather than the Word during the chapel hour.

Yet one chapel comes to mind as I think about the New Year. The chaplain spoke during this particular service. Our campus had signs posted that read, "Please walk on the grass but don't make paths." I can't remember the specific Bible text he used, but the chaplain said we should pay attention to the grass signs and apply the principle to our lives.

I'm Excited for a New Year in Missions!

This week, my GAs will be back in our classroom, reciting our pledge, and learning about missions work happening in Kansas City, Missouri. Because we only have GA and RA during the school year, the summer months (while hectic) seem to be missing a bit of excitement, activity, and inspiration as our room sits empty each Wednesday night. When I see the girls during the summer, they want to know where I traveled and whom I met and when we are starting back—because they miss GA.

What they're telling me isn't that they miss me during the summer. They don't miss our wall map showing locations of missionaries we've studied. They don't miss our pledge or my somewhat mediocre storytelling skills. They don't even miss the badges and the projects. What they're telling me is that they've missed the love of our church family.

17 Ideas for 2017

Happy New Year! As you think about leading your Acteens in 2017 use these 17 ideas as ways to connect with and guide your girls in the coming months.

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