You can make missions discipleship part of your church’s DNA and help families with children understand their role in sharing the gospel.
By Heather Keller
The inaugural Children’s Missions Day (CMD) took place in 2008, creating opportunities to move children out of their churches and into their communities to do missions. Since then, thousands of people have taken part in this day as church groups created projects to meet needs in their own communities.
CMD can be a powerful time for kids to experience telling someone, “I’m learning that God loves me, and He loves you, too,” as they help a neighbor, give someone a small gift, or pray with a community helper. Through CMD, thousands of elementary-age children have had an opportunity to realize just how powerful their projects can be when they serve someone and share God’s love.
Our three churches partnered together to go out into our community. One team visited and took care packages to a local apartment complex and our city fire department. We were able to pray with several of the residents and the firefighters on duty. The second walked around our town square giving out treats and praying with and for our local business community. The third group visited a local nursing home to play games and puzzles with the residents and bring treats to the nursing staff as well. One of the residents (who was 100 years old) shared with the children how she came to know Jesus when she was their age.— Darlington First Baptist, Mechanicsville Baptist, Mont Clare Baptist, South Carolina, 2021
CMD is amazing, but it’s only an annual event. If you want kids in your church engaged in ongoing missions, you can use CMD as a launching point to bring awareness to the need for continual missions discipleship. Missions discipleship involves learning about missions, praying for missions, supporting missions, doing missions, and telling others about Jesus."Missions discipleship involves learning about missions, praying for missions, supporting missions, doing missions, and telling others about Jesus." — Heather Keller Click To Tweet
Check out these ideas to keep kids and their families engaged in missions discipleship.
Ongoing, weekly missions discipleship
Help kids and families in your church take responsibility for their part in the Great Commission by providing weekly groups. This could include programs like Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, or other groups. Weekly meetings include missions stories, biblical discipleship, culture studies, games, crafts, recipes, and missions projects.
Host regular events (like CMD) that encourage missions discipleship for children and families. These events could include a missions story, a missions video, a craft, or even games. Allow families to make something to take to someone else in an effort to show God’s love.
A simple idea would be to help families make a seasonal wreath for someone’s door. Then challenge them to give it to an unchurched neighbor. Make sure they remember to invite the neighbor to church or a special event your church is hosting. Hosting a quarterly family-style event gives everyone something fun to look forward to. And it’s a time for your congregation to focus on kids and families while experiencing missions together.
Ask kids for ideas of groups of people who might need to be served in some way in your community. I did this one time and a beautiful little girl let me know that the foster kids in our community needed stuffed animals so they would know someone loved them. Thanks to her, a foster child herself, we began collecting stuffed animals. We prayed over them and gave them to a social worker to give to children removed from their homes."Ask kids for ideas of groups of people who might need to be served in some way in your community." — Heather Keller Click To Tweet
You’ll be amazed how one question may spark an entire conversation. And that conversation could open new ministry opportunities for your children, families, and congregation. Plus, you’ll let kids know your church thinks their ideas are important and worthy of listening to.
Make missions offerings a congregation-wide emphasis. If your church participates in emphases like the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, find fun ways to include children in collecting offerings. Use promotional videos provided for the emphasis week in your worship services. And send children home with information about the offerings.
Invite missionaries who are back in the U.S., disaster relief volunteers, ministry chaplains, state missionaries, and local ministry center directors to speak to the children of your church. Let them see the disaster relief tools. Find out about the work that missionaries do across your state and around the world. And hear how children and families can impact local ministries in their own communities.
Take a trip
Give the families in your church a list of ministry partners in your community and ways they can impact that ministry. Encourage families to get involved in a local food bank, shelter, or literacy center. Families can even adopt a school. Make sure they realize that while getting involved in these ministries is great, the best part is teaching your kids to share Jesus with those you are serving while you’re there."We are not all called to the international mission field, but we are all called to the mission field where we live, go to work and school, and play every day." — Heather Keller Click To Tweet
We are not all called to the international mission field, but we are all called to the mission field where we live, go to work and school, and play every day. You can make missions discipleship part of your church’s DNA and help families with children understand the influence they can have on the people in their everyday lives.
Heather is the children’s missions consultant at National WMU. She loves to see kids understand that they can tell people about Jesus anytime, anywhere. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.