Children's Mission Education Part IV
Starting Your Own Program
by John Holzmann
There are a few things a person needs before he is equipped to start a mission education program in his local church.
First and foremost, says Geri Templeton, you need to be committed. Personal involvement and consistency are vital. "You can't give away what you don't have yourself. You need to set an example. Vision is caught not taught."
After commitment comes a plan. No matter what else you may do, she says, "Sit down and figure out your goals and objectives, and prepare several months in advance." What parts of the world will you study? What songs do you want your kids to know? What Bible verses? Do you want to visit an agency? Which one? What's involved in getting there? "Without a plan, it won't happen."
After you've worked your plan, you need to evaluate. Did you reach your goals? "Without evaluation, you can't improve."
Many people, especially in smaller churches, worry about personnel. "I'm all alone!" they say. "I can't possibly do what someone like Geri Templeton or Ele Parrott is able to do. I don't have anyone to help me."
Not so, says Templeton. "If you've got only one person who's interested in missions, then just start where you are. You're a second grade teacher? Start there!"
Parrott is quick to point out that when she started, she was all by herself in the kindergarten class during children's church. Yet "even starting out in the smallest of small corners, the Lord used that to affect the entire church family." On the other hand, there may be sources of help you hadn't thought of before. "Go to the women's mission group, those who are writing to the missionaries," Templeton suggested. "Ask them to help out!"
She says she's also been able to get help from "talent that wouldn't normally be available" for children's ministries. "For biographies, I can get specialists, people interested in one particular person÷Carey, Judson, Livingstone, etc.÷to teach about their favorite characters. I can get, for two weeks, some very creative people who wouldn't otherwise volunteer for children's ministry÷ certainly not on a long-term basis."
When it comes to the actual subject-matter to be taught, all the mission educators agree: it can't be mere "head knowledge." It has to be ACTIVE, practical, and conveyed by as many sensory inputs as possible. See the story on Ele Parrott's Kinder Club for an example. Need help finding materials? Look at Supplement pages 14-15
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