Jim, an overworked, underpaid children’s pastor, doesn’t have a program for missions in his children’s ministry. “I have enough to do without teaching the children about countries they’ll never visit. Besides missions aren’t important to these children.”
Kathy, another overwhelmed children’s pastor, understands that missions should be a part of her children’s program. Once a year, she takes two weeks to teach the children about missions. She’ll have the children collect offerings for the church’s mission project, and she’ll teach about the missionary and country they’re supporting. She even has the children do a fundraiser. She knows she should do more, but she’s pleased that she’s teaching the children to support missions.
Beth has implemented missions into her children’s program for twenty years. She teaches about a different country once a month on Wednesday nights. She incorporates different stories from missionaries around the world to go with whatever message she is preaching on Sunday morning.
Last week, she preached about the three Hebrew boys’ boldness in proclaiming God as the one true God. She mentioned a sixteen year old girl in Azerbaijan named Sara who was expelled from school because she boldly told her class that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
Beth’s students have raised thousands of dollars for missionaries even though she never has fundraisers. The children are so overwhelmed by the need, they collect money on their own, sometimes working in neighbors yards to earn money for missions.
Every month, Beth’s students pray for a different nation. This month, they are praying for Azerbaijan. They also write letters to missionaries in different countries.
This is not new for Beth, and she is pleased with how God has moved. Three children in her ministry grew up to become full time missionaries in other countries. Twenty children grew up to go into ministry full time. Many of the children in her ministry have taken missions trips as teens and adults.
Next year, Beth will lead ten children in her ministry on a mission’s trip to Mexico. These children are between nine and twelve years old. Beth is excited about what God is doing.
Missionary training for children is as important as training in prayer, Bible reading, worship, and other important tenants of our faith. God is not an American God. He is at work throughout the world. As we show God at work in other nations, we expand our children’s view of God. They see that God is at work throughout the world and will have a global concept of the Kingdom of God that most Christians don’t have.
Sometimes it seems time consuming to include missions in almost every aspect of children’s ministry, but it is a vital part of expanding your students’ view of the Kingdom of God and is worth the effort.