The school year is winding down, and all of the hustle and bustle around homework and extra-curricular activities will soon be set aside for lazy mornings and long days full of play.
This summer, help families in your children’s missions discipleship group take advantage of their extra time together to be on mission for the kingdom.
Here are some fun ideas you can share to help them make missions a priority this summer.
Honor first responders. Every community has a fire station, police station, or maybe even a National Guard headquarters. Let them know how much your family appreciates their service by making them a thank-you card and taking them some snacks or a meal. Discuss with your child the Bible verse “No one has greater love than the one who gives their life for their friends” (John 15:13 NIrV). Pray for the first responders to know the love of Jesus, who laid down His life for us.
Create sidewalk chalk art messages. You can do this in your neighborhood, the local park, or anywhere that might have foot traffic. Be an intentional witness by writing out a Bible verse or poem that gives thanks to God. Before you pack up, pray the people who read the words will consider the true Word, Jesus, and turn to Him to be saved.
Have a garage sale for missions. The end of the school year is a perfect time to do a little purging around your house for a good cause. Spend a few days having your family go through old toys, clothes, and household goods for items to sell. Price the items reasonably. Publicize the sale with signs around your community and on social media. You may even want to invite other families in your church’s missions discipleship group to join you with items they want to sell. The more the merrier, and the more money for missions! After the sale, donate any unsold items to a local thrift store. Discuss as a family where you want the money to go. Is there a youth or college student in your church going on a summer missions trip? Is there a missionary family who would be able to use the money to further the gospel? Once you’ve decided where the money will go and have presented it, be faithful to pray for the missionaries as they share the gospel message.
Learn about a foreign country. Let’s face it: It does rain on some days during the summer. Instead of moping around the house, pack the kids up and head to the library! Pick a country your family wants to learn more about and do a little research. Show your kids how to navigate the library to find nonfiction books about the country you’ve chosen. Have them make a list of some things they want to know about the country, like what the climate is like, what animals live there, what the children play, etc. Check out any books you want to read more at home, and then visit the International Mission Board for prayer requests specific to the country you are learning about. Set aside a time every day to pray for the country you selected. Pray missionaries will have access to share the good news about Jesus with the people who live there.
Go to playground or splash pad. Yes! We can even be on mission at the playground! Before heading out, pack a cooler with some bottled water. When you get to the playground or splash pad, go with your child to hand the water out to the families already there. Let your child practice saying, “God loves me, and He loves you, too!” as he or she hands out the water. If people ask you why you are giving away water, be prepared to share how your family is learning to be on mission for God. Invite them to check out the children’s missions discipleship group at your church. Then let your child play. Later, pray the people you gave water to will learn about Jesus, who is the Living Water.
Gift home-baked cookies to neighbors. Do you know all of your neighbors? Even if you do, this is still a fun way to connect and let them know you care. Bake your favorite cookies for several of your neighbors. While the cookies are cooling, make a card for each family that says, God loves me, and He loves you, too! Pray by name for each neighbor before delivering the cookies.
Prayer bike ride your neighborhood. Have you ever done a prayerwalk? This is similar, but on a bicycle! Grab your helmets and set off for a ride around your neighborhood. Pray as you ride for the people in the houses and apartments on each street. Pray that Jesus will meet their needs and help them to live in safety. Pray that your family will be able to minister to them if they need help. Pray that each one will know how much Jesus loves them.
Turn your family vacation into a family missions trip. Before you head out on the road (or in the sky) to your vacation destination, a little bit of planning is all it will take to make the most of your trip and teach your child that we can live the missions lifestyle everywhere we go!
- Before you leave home, pack a few blessing bags to hand out while on vacation. Include Bible verses, sunscreen, snacks, or other appropriate items.
- When you eat out at a restaurant, ask your server how you can pray for him or her before you pray for your meal.
- Bring a list of missionaries on your trip and spend time one evening or in the car writing notes of encouragement to them. Pray over the cards before they are mailed. You can find North American missionaries and their contact information here.
- Prayerwalk the resort or vacation location together as a family. Pray for other guests, the employees, and the local churches.
- Find a local church or church plant at your destination and contact them. Ask the pastor or church planter if there is a volunteer opportunity for your family.
- Plan to have family devotion time each evening of your vacation. Invite other families you meet to join you!
- Write notes of encouragement for hotel or resort staff. Spend time as a family delivering these notes and asking if you can pray with them.
Sarah Murray is editor for children’s resources at national WMU.