As older Girls in Action (GA) members begin to get excited about joining your church’s youth group, it’s important for them to be reminded of the missions legacy that has already been established in their own lives through GA and to begin to nurture the idea of continuing missions education through participation in the Acteens group.
To create a natural bridge from GA to Acteens, leaders of both groups should work together with their WMU director and pastor to create a sense of missions for life throughout the entire church. By beginning mission study and project participation in Mission Friends, encouraging girls to minister to others and learn more about missions in GA, and then challenging them excel even further in Acteens, churches have an opportunity to help foster a lifelong love of missions involvement and missional living in the next generation of church and community leaders.
Church and WMU leaders have to be intentional when looking to promote girls between groups, to see girls continue their missions journey, and encourage groups to grow. To see maximum retention between groups, leaders should consider reaching out to the group that feeds their own and reach ahead to the group where their children have been promoted.
Consider the following ideas to help begin to create that natural bridge between groups:
- Share your leftover resources from your curriculum with your sister groups. Picture kits, leftover magazines, and craft supplies can find new life in another group.
- Meet together once a quarter to plan joint activities for your groups.
- Commit to pray for each other and the children involved in each group.
Also, GA leaders should consider the following ideas to help GAs graduate to Acteens:
- Create projects where younger Acteens and older GAs can work together to minister and learn.
- Help GAs adopt an “Acteens sister” and encourage her throughout the year. Send notes and Scripture verses, draw pictures, and share what GAs are learning. Invite each “Acteens sister” to be part of GA meetings at different times of the year, and include her in special events and projects.
- Invite the Acteens director to visit the older GAs during a regular meeting time to get to know them.
- Working with the Acteens director, allow the older GAs to attend an Acteens meeting.
- Celebrate projects and ministry opportunities that Acteens are part of with your GAs. Create a time once a quarter when Acteens can share their activities with GAs.
- Host a joint recognition service for GAs and Acteens. As a part of that service, recognize GAs graduating to Acteens by having them “cross over” to the Acteens group by crossing the stage or changing sides of the auditorium and sitting with the Acteens once they have received their awards.
Remember, we create missions for life when we encourage today’s GAs to become tomorrow’s Acteens. What an awesome opportunity!
by Heather Keller