Missions for Children Comes of Age
Our regular columnist, Gerry Dueck, has graciously allowed us to print another kid-relevant article for Kids Korner in this issue. Nancy Tichy, along with her husband Frank, is a USCWM area representative based in Riverside, CA.
Something of significance is pushing its way into view much like blossoms push up loveliness through winter's last snows. Compare it to acknowledging spring's powerful energy by finally noticing that flowers are blooming. This movement has many names, all linking children to missions. Mobilizing children for mission has come of age, and the colorful, exciting evidences surround us.
Nowhere was this more apparent than the April "International Children's EXPO" in Indianapolis where approximately 500 people attended plenary sessions, chose from nearly 50 workshops, and visited publisher and mission agency displays.
One of the primary issues is, why all the fuss? Let me suggest four reasons we make children's missions education a priority.
First, it's a challenge! Children are both harder and easier to convince than adults. "Boring" slips off a youngster's tongue as easily as bubble gum, so our presentations must be top quality. But children are also carrying less physical and emotional baggage than adults. Their hearts are more easily warmed as their minds expand.
Second, mobilizing children for mission makes them more effective Christians where they are—right now! They are pragmatists with great, caring hearts. If we teach them to love those they will never meet, they will be good Samaritans to those they do.
Third, mobilizing today's children will undoubtedly supply tomorrow's cross-cultural workers. Even more strategic, it will enlist and equip a mighty army of future adults who, with truly Christian world-views, will extend God's Kingdom to the final frontiers.
Finally, mobilizing kids now by teaching them to pray draws countless more this greatest work on earth. God puts no premium on age when He responds.
Gradually, we are learning not to despise "little people," to neither patronize nor ignore them. We're developing first class materials to teach them, our most polished and most Godly presentations to inspire them, our best leader and mentors to train and equip them. We're putting children's ministry where it belongs in mission strategy.
Heaven forbid that we should simply baby-sit when one of God's greatest resources jostles our sensibilities and challenges our mettle. Ready or not, the momentum grows—for of such is the Kingdom of God!