March 2023 childrens Blog Image
Missions Discipleship

How to Help Children’s Families Catch the Vision for Missions

“Carry one another’s heavy loads. If you do, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

—Galatians 6:2 (NIrV)

Going and telling. The Great Commission, given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28, propels Southern Baptists out of our pews, through the doors of the church, and into the world to bring the good news of Jesus to all people.

Many of us experience this in a local sense as we live intentionally in our communities, but others are called by God to go further afield.

As a children’s missions discipleship leader, you are well aware of the missionaries trained by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention. You are also aware that all of the individuals who become missionaries could not go to places in Canada, the United States, and US territories without the support of the local churches — individuals who, together, follow God’s call to give and to pray.

But let’s think about the families of the children in your missions discipleship group. Have they caught this vision yet? These families may already be giving to the various missions offerings your church collects throughout the year, but how can you help make their connection to missionaries more personal and inspire a lifelong passion for missions?

Let’s make the connection personal. Here’s how.


Encourage the families of children in your missions discipleship group to brainstorm a list of locations and topics. Have they lived in a place or been to a place that has special meaning to them? Is there a type of ministry or group of people to which they are especially drawn? This could include mental health, adoption, college students, migrants, etc.

Once they have settled on one or two defining factors, they can use that as a guide to select a missionary.

Direct them to the North American Mission Board’s website where they can explore the searchable database of missionaries and chaplains. They can search by the sending city, the state/province in which the missionary is now serving, birth month/day, or by their job title.


Once a family has settled on a missionary, encourage them to learn more about that person or family. How long have they been in the field? Do they have kids? Who are the people they are reaching? What are the needs in their community?

Some of the missionaries in NAMB’s database have links to personal websites where they share recent information about their organization, their work, or their church.

As the family explores and learns, direct them to discuss how that missionary is like their own family. Or how are they different? Also, they could talk about how their own family might feel doing that particular ministry. Would it be exciting? Intimidating?


Now it’s time to make the connection. Being a missionary can be a lonely job. Many of these individuals and families have left hometowns, church families, family, jobs, and friends to pursue God’s call to spread the gospel and make disciples. While they chose to heed that call, it doesn’t mean they are any less vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks and lies.

Each missionary’s NAMB webpage lists prayer requests specific to him or her. Encourage your missions discipleship families to set aside a special time to pray for their selected missionary, maybe at dinner each night or before bed.

Many of the missionaries have included a physical or email address at which they can be reached. Families could send a note and ask how they can be praying or if there is anything the missionary specifically needs. The family can also sign up for the missionary’s newsletter, which will provide updates and recent prayer needs.

Remind your families to learn their missionary’s birthday and to remember them at Christmas. A good way to show them you are thinking about them is to send a card or a care package. If the missionary has children, perhaps there are opportunities to encourage them at the beginning of a school year. Their interactions don’t have to be elaborate or extravagant. Even a simple note from the family that tells the missionary they are daily being brought to the throne of God in prayer is a huge encouragement.


Set up a time to follow up with the families of your missions discipleship children. It could be an informal gathering, perhaps in a home over a meal.

Facilitate a discussion about what the families learned through the process of connecting to a missionary. Has it changed the way they view their own role in doing missions? Has it made them more sensitive and open to outreach opportunities through the church? Has it encouraged them to increase their missions giving? Allow them to share anything that surprised them or that may have been unexpected about the process.

Remind them that there are no right or wrong answers, but according to Hebrews 10:24, we are to “consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works.”

Working Together to Shape the Next Generation

The command to go and tell has been given to us by Jesus. In the Southern Baptist Church, we do this as a team — each individual, each church working with others through prayer, giving, and going to make taking the gospel to “the ends of the earth” a reality.

As a leader in missions discipleship, you are helping to shape the next generation of church — the children and their parents — to be about this one glorious mission. We are praying for you!

Sarah Murray is the children’s editor at national WMU.