Changing Your Attitude and Actions to Involve Kids in your Missions Outreach
We hear new stories almost every day, coming from all over the globe, bearing evidence that mobilizing children for mission provides both challenges and rewards. Many voices are speaking out for the need to prayerfully redesign ministries to children and their families. “Let’s get back to the partnership of the Christian home and the church.” “Let’s return to Biblical principles that include high expectations and excellence in training for our kids.” “Let’s produce materials that train kids, and let’s equip the men and women who use them.” These reflect some of the issues that motivate present involvement in this valid mission strategy.
For those whose business it is to mobilize the church for God’s global cause, here are a few suggestions:
- Take every opportunity to inform, educate, challenge and involve children in your church’s missions enterprises. Be serious about what God can do through them.
- Help church missions enthusiasts be aware of the incredible resource in their midst—their church’s children. Help them encourage those who work with kids and provide opportunities to train and uphold these men and women in their ministry.
- Become acquainted with the abundant resources for discipling children and missions education now on the market. Professionally produced and readily available, these materials are designed to do more than “entertain the troops.”
- Take time regularly to pray for children. Incredible statistics about the needs of children worldwide make us weep. Incredible stories of how God is using children today, all over the world, cause us to rejoice.
- Get acquainted with those in your area who are dealing with these issues. Include training for children’s workers in your missions conferences. Display resources for children’s missions education at Perspectives courses and missions conferences. Encourage people in the churches of your area to attend Children’s Missions EXPO conferences, national and regional.
- When you network with others, share ideas for mobilizing kids for missions.
Early in Dwight L. Moody’s career, someone asked him about the success of his previous night’s meeting. He replied, “I had two and a half conversions.” The friend asked if he meant two adults and a child. His reply, “No, two children and an adult.”
Could it be that any missions mobilizing strategy that does not include the children in the church fails to measure adequately the full extent of the job? Those of us concerned with long-range vision must certainly be aware that the children in our programs today are, potentially, the prayers, senders and go-ers of the future. A successful gardener does not ignore the tender seedlings, waiting to cultivate the plants only after they’re half-grown.
Some consider this generation of children to be the ones who will complete the Great Commission. Be that as it may, they are unquestionably a generation “at risk” when we ignore their potential to worship and serve God, now, even as they develop Godly character for future leadership. We may protect, entertain and tell them to wait until they grow up to serve God, but God has not so designed His Kingdom work! (Luke 18:15-17).
Nancy Tichy lives in Riverside, California where she and her husband, Frank, direct the Center for World Mission—Inland Empire. Besides managing an extensive resource collection, she writes stories for children and curriculum plans for children’s workers. She also provides leadership for the SW Children’s Missions EXPO, a networking and conference ministry to adults whose love for children motivates them to want God’s very best for kids. The Tichys are veteran, tentmaker missionary teachers retired from West Africa, who are presently “People Advocates” for the Buddhist group in Asia, known as the Buryats.