A former pastor of mine made a statement that I often remember during the Christmas season. Brother Roger said that his Lottie Moon Christmas offering for International Missions was his Christmas present to Jesus. He always gave as much or more to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering as he spent on the most expensive Christmas present he bought that year. What an inspiration to give Jesus only the best of our offerings!
This is the Week of Prayer for International Missions, a time when Southern Baptists pray and give to support the 5,000+ Southern Baptist missionaries serving throughout the world. This is also a time to give thanks for the hundreds of thousands of souls saved, the thousands of churches planted, and the over one million gospel presentations made during the previous year.
Yet Christmas time isn’t the only time of year to be made aware of the importance of missions. Mission education throughout the year is fundamental to the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church. And who is the future church? Our kids are the future church, of course.
Can kids be missionaries? Sure. Are they too young? No! Kids are never too young to serve God and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. With the guidance of an adult, even the youngest kids can perform mission work in their local community or through online mission projects while learning valuable life lessons. Instilling in children a mission-minded mentality can change the world!
Below are simple electronic and traditional methods to educate kids on missions.
- Begin by teaching kids about the Great Commission.
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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Provide paper books or electronic books for older children to read on their own time. The Heroes of the Faith series has some great stories of real-life missionaries such as David Livingstone and Jim Elliott.
- Set up a Skype session to communicate electronically via webcam with a missionary that is state-side or in the mission field. Both you and the missionary will need a webcam, free Skype software, and a microphone for the session. Don’t forget to coordinate time zones.
- With guidance from an adult, allow children to help select a class mission project. By allowing children to select the mission project, they will feel ownership as they pray, serve, and provide financial support. If it is a local mission project, allow the children to meet the people they will be serving and present in person any donations to be given. Some mission projects ideas that children can relate to can be found at www.onelifematters.org, https://gobgr.org/ or www.missionpossiblekids.org. When selecting mission projects consider the not so obvious mission opportunities in addition to the usual mission projects.
- Invite a missionary to speak to your class. Ask them dress in the attire of the country they served, show lots of pictures, and talk about how their work impacted the Great Commission. Video and take pictures of the presentation. Post to your class web site, wiki, or blog for children and parents to view.
- Encourage children to pray regularly for unreached people groups. Check out PRAYERthreads KIDS for a list of people groups who kids can pray for who have no gospel witness or missionary.
- Reference paper maps or electronic maps such as Google Earth when talking about where missionaries and unreached people groups. Children are visual learners.
- Utilize online mission education resources such as the plethora found at http://www.wmu.com/index.php?q=children.
- Have children build a shoebox Christmas gift to be given to a child in a foreign country through Operation Christmas Child. Kids can even track their shoeboxes online to a specific country through online tracking.