What is your calling? What do you feel God is calling you to do? We all have specific individual tasks set before us by God. He has also called every Christian to go and share the gospel with the world. Missions is important to me because I was once lost and stumbled in the darkness until Christ came into my life and gave me salvation. I was blinded by my sin until I accepted Christ. He opened my eyes and gave me sight. Likewise, there are people in the world who do not know Christ. They are lost and stumble in the darkness. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” —Matthew 28:18–20 (KJV) Missions is important to me because I want to help people find salvation in Jesus Christ. God has given me the tools and the talents I need to share the gospel with people who do not know Him. He has given me the ability to have conversations with people I meet. He gives me boldness to make those conversations about Him! I was not always like this. I used to be too shy to evangelize. When I accepted Christ, everything changed. Now, it does not matter where I am. I will share the gospel at the library or the laundromat. I will stop and share the gospel with anyone God places in my path. God has done such an amazing work in my life I am no longer afraid of sharing the gospel with people. God also gave me the ability to write fun, fictional stories that communicate His hope and salvation. These stories are for young children and middle school kids. This may seem like an overwhelming task, especially if these stories and conversations are driven with the hope of salvation. However, God has already given me everything I need to accomplish the task set before me. I do not need to be afraid because God has formed me for this very task. He has already given me what I need to succeed and prepared me for what is to come. I am designed for a purpose and He already made His plan for me long ago. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” —Romans 8:28 I did not begin to think and pray about my calling until I was challenged to do so by my Acteens leader. Now, my friends, I challenge you to pray. Think and search deeply for what it is God is calling you to do. He may be calling you to teach or go into the missions field. He may be calling you to share His salvation and hope with someone specific. He has created you with a specific purpose and divine plan. He has called you for a specific task. He has given you talents and tools, knowing what He designed you for even before you were born. The Bible says, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power” (2 Thess. 1:11). What is your calling? Hannah Rickman, a 2023 National Acteens Panelist, is from Kingsville, Texas, and attends Retama Park Baptist Church.
How do you as a leader take missions discipleship for your children to the next level? Here are three “next steps” you can take to level up.
While we are always striving to put our best foot forward when teaching and discipling, we need to be aware of the full impact our words and actions have on children. As children watch our actions and interactions, they are not only soaking it in on a superficial level but also on a neurological level. That’s a big deal! We want to make every effort to model positive behaviors.
If I asked you to define a “healthy mind,” what would you say? Maybe you would give an example of someone who makes “good decisions” and seems to have it all together. Or maybe you would say it is someone who always gives a smile and exudes the love of Jesus when they walk into the room. While these can be true, many people can be and actually are struggling under the surface. A huge part of promoting healthy minds is being aware that “healthy” isn’t always something you can see, like a positive behavior or a friendly smile. So, how are we supposed to help something we can’t see? How are we supposed to help children with things they may be struggling with under the surface?! Let me tell you, it’s not quite as ludicrous as it may sound. There are many things adults and leaders can do to promote a healthy mindset in children, even without “seeing.” After all, on a spiritual level, that is our foundation — by faith we believe and act, often without seeing and knowing all the answers. What Can I Do? In this blog series on Fostering Healthy Minds in Children at Church [tag link], we’ll provide strategies you can use to promote a healthy mindset in children to whom you minister. Topics we’ll cover include: modeling positive behaviors giving children opportunities to make decisions establishing positive expectations creating a sense of belonging promoting resilience ensuring a safe and healthy environment and tone encouraging children to help others using and teaching active listening incorporating and encouraging physical activity and movement asking for children’s input and putting it to use as appropriate modeling and discussing healthy coping strategies teaching and practicing conflict resolution That’s a lot! I know it may seem like a tall task to be mindful of all of this while also teaching. I know, I’ve been there! But we’re going to walk through one topic at a time. Why Is this Worth the Effort? Why is it important for us to build our knowledge and skills in fostering healthy minds in children at church? Because children are like sponges. They soak up and learn from every interaction they have. The more often children have developmentally appropriate experiences that foster and support their mental well-being, the better their foundation for continued growth will be in years to come. Remember, you may be the only place where some kids will receive this level of acceptance, love, and understanding. For other kids, you may be supplementing the acceptance, love, and understanding they receive in other environments. In either case, what better way to show Jesus than that? Thank you for taking the time to learn about how to support children’s mental health while engaging them in ministry! The Fostering Healthy Minds in Children at Church blog series is a part of WMU’s Project HELP: Mental Health initiative to raise awareness about the critical issue of mental health and equip the church to lead and champion mental health initiatives in the church and local communities. Find more great resources at wmu.com/mentalhealth. Brooklyn Hancock is Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, former Certified School Counselor, and a mom. Her passions are working with children, adolescents, teens, adults, and parents to navigate life’s toughest challenges. Disclaimer: The information shared on wmu.com is not meant to diagnose or treat a mental health condition. We encourage you to follow up with your health-care provider and seek a mental health professional for individual consultation and care.
People may think the church has it all together, that believers are the “good ones,” but if I have learned anything in my mental health journey, it’s that the “good kids” struggle too. Counseling provides us with an objective, outside perspective when we are overwhelmed with circumstances around us.