Children in Action Blog

Prepare Your Heart

This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Advent season, a time of preparation for the birth of Christ. I spent the weekend decorating my house, both inside and outside. At church, we adorned the sanctuary with wreaths, garlands, holly and ivy, poinsettias and Chrismons during the traditional Hanging of the Green service. It's even beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the national WMU building!

Yet, just as we decorate our homes, churches and offices for this special season of the year, we should also prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child into the world. A meaningful way to do this is by participating in the Week of Prayer for International Missions from December 3–10.

Throughout the week, pray for missionaries around the world as they share the good news of Jesus with all the nations. Visit this page on the International Mission Board's website for more details about the missionaries, as well as specific prayer requests for each day:

Connecting the Dots: Help Start a New Missions Organization

Do you remember doing connect the dot puzzles when you were a kid? As you traced your pen from dot to dot, a picture was slowly revealed. It was fun and exciting without being labor intensive.

Did you know that helping other churches set up missions groups is much the same? Each new program is a dot that helps reveal the picture of God’s work in your area. By working together in our own special ministry locations, we add more dimension to the picture—opportunities to reach more people with the gospel.

Just like the childhood puzzle, it is fun and exciting without being labor intensive. You don’t have to worry about where to place the dots, because churches already exist in the communities of your association. You don’t have to fret over who will participate—churches know their members and their communities. Your joy is in sharing missions organizations for children. Share your loves, passions, and thrills. Excitement is contagious, and the gospel is the most exciting news ever!

Family Traditions

Country music fans are probably familiar with the song titled “Family Traditions.” It plays quite frequently on the radio.

This weekend, that song went through my mind as I remembered my family's tradition of putting up Christmas decorations during Thanksgiving weekend. Back in my childhood days, my father, brother, and I would head out to the woods to look (for what seemed like hours) for the perfect Christmas tree. Finally, once we had found the perfect tree, my dad would take the axe and cut it down. Then, we’d head home and get the tree ready to be decorated. For the next few hours, we’d pull out old decorations, lights, and even that long, stringy, silver tinsel that wound up everywhere but on the tree.

Raising Thankful Children

Growing up, most of us were taught to be thankful for what we had. For many of us, saying “thank you” was just as important as saying “excuse me” or “yes, ma’am.” If you grew up in the South, that was especially true for you! But beyond saying the words themselves, how do we teach our children to be truly thankful people? It starts by modeling real thankfulness.

Giving thanks before a meal is a great place to begin. After your prayer, explain everything that had to come together to make that meal happen. Talk about the plants and animals grown and harvested, the packing and shipping processes that delivered these goods to the store, the store clerks and workers who received it and put it out on display, the resources you needed to purchase the food, and all the time and effort to make the meal and set it out for them to enjoy. Maybe you could say something like, “When we thank God for our food, we remember all that had to happen to bring it to our table.”

Tips for Keeping Older Kids Engaged in Missions Education

As you have probably noticed, kids have short attention spans. Often, a large dose of creativity is required to keep their attention for even a few minutes at a time.

A practical way to keep older kids engaged in missions education is by varying presentation methods. This takes time and preparation. As the missions leader, you must plan ahead to provide an assortment of informational items.

You can use the Internet to show videos about the focus country or people group. This is a great way to find a wealth of information, but be sure to preview any search results beforehand to avoid inappropriate material. Some older kids may be interested in becoming pen pals with a group of children or MKs in another country. As the leader, you can use social media to facilitate these interactions!

Don’t be afraid of trying foods from the area you are focusing on. Recipes are readily available and sometimes include suggestions for substitutions if something unusual is not accessible at your local grocery store. Kids will be delighted to try different dishes, especially if you eat it first!

Encouraging the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

I love this time of year. The leaves turn many shades of beautiful, people wrap themselves in comfortable sweaters, and something about the air feels different as it turns crisp and cool. The fall season sets itself apart in beauty and the promise of something new. It’s a time to think about the past year and what God has done in our lives.

November is my favorite month—and not just because it’s my birthday month (shout out to my fellow November birthdays!). This month is the time when we give thanks for the many provisions, blessings, lessons, and growing moments God has given us. With Thanksgiving in our line of sight, why not start counting our blessings a little early?

Put the beauty of November to good use as you spend this month focusing on thankfulness. Teach your GAs, RAs, and CAs about the meaning of thankfulness and why we give praise and glory to God for everything from joys to hardships. Try these ideas to get your kids into a spirit of thankfulness as November kicks off:

All Aboard the Kindness Express! IMS: Russia

In early October, Janet Erwin (Missions Mosaic editor) and I traveled to Appling, Georgia, to experience this year’s International Mission Study (IMS) at Patty Blanton’s farm. For nearly 20 years, Patty has sought fun, creative, interactive, and meaningful ways to provide an unforgettable IMS experience for the Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors of Kiokee Baptist Church and Damascus Baptist Church. It was an invitation we did not want to miss!

As we turned down the gravel drive leading to her farm, the brightly painted onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral peered through the clearing in the trees. Just around the curve, the whole facade of the barn had been transformed into the iconic symbol of Russia, welcoming everyone to a whole new world. I knew then that we were in for a treat! Patty’s husband later exclaimed, “I can see Russia in my backyard!”  

Time for Appreciation

October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Month in many churches.

It’s not too late to recognize your pastor and church staff, whether you choose to do it corporately as a church or as an individual. Here are some quick thoughts on how to recognize the leaders God has placed in your church.

Missionaries, Cookies, Kids, and Stickers

A few weeks ago, we learned about a missionary who bakes cookies and shares them with neighbors in an effort to eventually share the gospel with this new friend. Making cookies to become someone’s friend and eventually tell him or her about Jesus seemed like a very long process to my GAs.

“Why not just tell them that Jesus loves them?” one of my first-grade GAs asked.

This conversation led to a discussion about what it means to be a friend, why we do nice things for people, and how being nice to someone may make him or her want to be our friend.

We waded through a ton of comments and questions.

“I don’t have to give people cookies to be friends with them.”

“Does the missionary keep any of the cookies for herself?”

“Does she get to pick who she gives the cookies to?”

By the end of the discussion, I realized that my first-grade GAs were not going to fully understand this concept until they tried it for themselves.

Because I didn’t have cookies or the time to make them, I did the next best thing.

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