Royal Ambassadors Blog

Being a Cool Adult

Last week, my wife, son, and I were driving down the road. My son said to his mother, “Mom, you are cool.” She thanked him for his kind words. For a moment, there was silence in our car. Finally, I said, “Son, what about me? Am I cool?” Evan paused longer than I wish he had, but he finally said, “Yeah, I guess you are cool, too.”

You guess? I’m cool “too?” Seriously? Was that the best he could do?

Well, truth be told, I never really thought of my parents as being cool either. You know how it is. Parents and adults are just old and out-of-touch. Kids think that adults don’t understand what it’s like being a kid these days. Adults don’t dress the right way, don’t talk the right way, and certainly don’t understand kids at all.

Over the years, I have noticed that some kids are drawn to certain adults and see those adults as “cool.” I’ve watched those kids hang out with the “cool” adults, spend time at their homes, and go places with them.

Have you ever wondered why some adults are like magnets to kids and some simply aren’t? Have you ever wondered why some adults are “cool” and some aren’t?

"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.

Men Make a Difference at Royal Ambassadors Camps

Have you ever wondered what makes attending a Royal Ambassadors camp such a unique experience? The first time I experienced the excitement that comes from attending an RA camp, I was ten years old. I was invited to join the RA chapter at First Baptist Church, since our church did not have an RA chapter. It was at RA camp that I first heard the words of the RA Pledge spoken at flag raising. I watched as boys and men recited the RA Pledge together, and I could see in the eyes of the men that they had a passion for living out the words of the pledge. At RA camp, I learned about archery, basic Campcraft skills, and missions. I still remember the words from a campfire service. The words were spoken by young men who performed a campfire drama called “My Life Was Never the Same,” which illustrated how people’s lives are changed forever when they accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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?

Recruiting Millennial Leaders

If you visit our blog regularly for advice about leading kids, you might be wondering why I'm talking about millennials today. You might be thinking this isn't the age you lead, so this particular blog isn't for you. You might even be tempted to click away to another topic. But I hope you'll stick with me, because millennials are a very crucial age group to get involved with leading GA, RA, and CA.

As a millennial myself, I've developed an awareness of the disdain and bewilderment people often direct at my generation. And I wonder to myself, "Why are people pushing us away instead of embracing the opportunity?" That's what I want to help you do today: embrace the opportunity to recruit millennials to become a new generation of GA, RA, and CA leaders.

If you're at a total loss of how to connect with millennials and bring them into the leadership fold or you need a few pointers, it's okay. I want to help you with my firsthand knowledge of my generation, which is sometimes described as elusive, but is in actuality ready to embrace the mantle of leadership, if only we could be given the chance.

How Can I Recruit New Leaders?

Occasionally, Royal Ambassadors and Challengers leaders step down from their positions, leaving the mantle of leadership for someone else to take up. This happens for many reasons. A leader may relocate and change churches. Some leaders get "burned out" and desire a break from the weight of responsibility. Oftentimes, leaders step down because their son is too old for RA.

When this happens, churches often struggle to find a new leader. Sometimes, they combine boys and girls together into one missions class. Other times, churches end Royal Ambassadors altogether, reasoning that if no one is willing to lead the ministry, then it is not needed. The boys, however, suffer the most from the loss of their leader. At a time when they need to be patiently taught the Bible, equipped with valuable outdoor living skills, and mentored in a missions-oriented lifestyle, they are left to turn their energy to other things.

What can current leaders do to ensure that their boys will continue to be blessed by the missions discipleship ministries of Royal Ambassadors and Challengers? I offer you the following suggestions:

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.

Put Your Socks Back On! A Quick Checklist for Mission Safety

I try not to think too hard about what a crazy, dangerous world it is. Otherwise, the responsibility of overseeing a group of elementary-age kids at church would scare my socks off! On the other hand, because it's a crazy, dangerous world out there, I need to put on my big girl socks and take a responsible look at the plans we have in place to ensure our kids' safety.

Want to take a look with me?

Safety at church

  • Do we have a worker screening policy? If so, have all our leaders been through required procedures and training?
  • Is our classroom safe? Do I know where to find a first aid kit? Where do we go in case of fire, storm, or other weather emergencies?
  • Do I have current contact and enrollment information for each child? Am I aware of allergies or other health issues?

Safety away from church

Different Faces, One Mission

One year has come and gone since I first walked through the doors of national WMU. A year ago, I couldn't have possibly imagined all the things I would learn, people I would meet, and places I would see. But in all that time, the one thing that still intrigues me the most are the many different faces of Royal Ambassadors. Sure, most all of us say the pledge, know the motto, talk about the virtues, and tell the missionary stories, but outside of that, there is a boundless ocean of variety and uniqueness that varies from chapter to chapter. I am continually stunned that the heart of Royal Ambassadors can be adopted in so many distinctive ways.

What WMU Taught Me

For the past 8 weeks, I have been a summer intern at national WMU on the Children's Resource Team. I was never a GA or an Acteen, so my exposure to and knowledge about WMU has always been limited. I have learned so much about missions and the importance of missional living in these past 8 weeks.

As I look back on my time here, I cannot help but to smile when I think of all the wonderful people I have met and all the incredible opportunities I have had here. All across WMU's publications, the importance of missional living and investing in others is reiterated time after time, and let me tell you—that is being lived out every day in these offices. On a daily basis, most everyone in this building is constantly praying for the churches, leaders, students, kids, and adults who are being reached by WMU. The people here are so passionate about what WMU stands for and the work that it does.

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