Adult Team Blog

Get Creative to Focus on WMU

Focus on WMU week provides an annual opportunity to remind your church of the role WMU plays in the church’s missions efforts and to recognize church leaders and WMU members who are making those efforts happen.

This year, increase awareness of WMU in your church by highlighting missions activities from the past year. Include weekly ministries as well as events and trips. Here are some easy ideas you can use to engage more age groups in Focus on WMU week.

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

What’s your biggest fear? Is it spiders? Snakes? Speaking in public? Loneliness? Rejection? We tend to think of the “easy” fears first, like animals or insects, but when we get deeper, it gets uncomfortable. I’ll just be honest. I am afraid to fail. I love to do the right thing and get it just perfect, but sometimes I don’t let myself do something because I am afraid I will totally botch it up.

I’ve shared a little bit about my 20-month-old, Brady, and the fact that I’m due any day now with my little girl, Sophie. I’d be lying if I said the fact that my children will be this close together doesn’t make me more than slightly nervous. For starters, Brady and I are BFFs. I know that a lot of moms love their babies, but I’m serious, y’all—I laugh real live adult laughs at this child. The idea that I might miss one single thing that he does terrifies me and also makes me really sad. I love watching him learn about the world and show off all of his new skills.

One Step at a Time

In one family photo, Dave is holding a 2-year-old girl. In another, a 4-year-old boy. In yet another, three children stand with Dave and his wife, Kara. Each photo represents a step in the journey Dave and Kara have been on since they became foster parents.

When Kara first mentioned foster parenting, Dave was uncertain. Could he love a child coping with unimaginable emotional or physical pain? How would he respond in love to the biological parents of these children? Would he be able to pour his heart into a child and then say goodbye?

Saying yes to God’s call on his life to become a foster dad required a huge leap of faith for Dave, but the rewards of trying something new for the sake of the Gospel have been great.

In his book Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God's Kingdom, Dr. John DeGarmo emphasizes the need for foster parents who are willing to put feet to their faith and love the estimated 400,000 children who are in the foster care system. Who better than followers of Jesus to teach these children that God knows and loves them?

What is God calling you to do for the sake of the Gospel? What’s holding you back?  

A Lack of Skill

I have a really bad habit of doing a quick self-assessment of my skills whenever the Lord gives me an opportunity to share the gospel.

For example, I see someone sitting alone in the cafeteria and the Spirit starts tugging. I immediately think, “Great! I’m really good at starting conversations and I can tell funny stories. This will be easy.” Or someone will tell me a struggle they’re going through and I get excited because of all my “knowledge” on the subject.

I became aware of this bad habit one day while working at a summer camp. My camp director asked me if I would spend my free time in the gym. Normally I spent my free time close to the snack canteen, bonding with middle school girls over card games and frozen soft drinks, and I wasn’t too excited to try something new.

Especially when that something new was the gym.

I’m 5’1, and my basketball days ended in about middle school. I had absolutely no skills in order to be effective in this area. But even so, I made my way to the gym and prayed that the Lord would use my time in the gym.

Minister around the Town

Children’s Ministry Day is an excellent way to involve not only your Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors or Children in Action in missions but also their parents. Too often, parents drop their children off and head to the grocery store or back home and miss the opportunity to be on mission with them. Our church’s theme of Random Acts of Kindness was tailor-made for family fun.

After being given a list of suggested random acts of kindness, the teams were on their way. Items to help perform these acts were available for each team to use. Small boxes of laundry detergent and dryer sheets for visits to a laundromat, bags of microwave popcorn to be taped to DVD rental machines, blank self-stick removable notes for writing uplifting messages to be left on restroom mirrors or in library books, bubbles to be left on doorsteps, and sidewalk chalk for more messages were just some of the items. Each act of kindness was accompanied by an invitation to visit our church.

Love in Action

Children’s Ministry Day has become a much-anticipated annual event for our church. Each year, we choose a country, and members of our team lead the children in playing games, creating art, and eating food from that country. We talk about similarities and differences between our culture and that of the focal country. We emphasize the work missionaries are doing in the region and pray for them and their ministry.

We also spend time preparing for a local missions project. Last year, the children decorated cards with drawings and a Bible verse. We attached each card to a loaf of bread. After lunch, leaders took teams of children to a heavily trafficked area in town to give out the bread along with the message that “Jesus is the bread of life.” Our kids learned that people respond in many different ways to the Gospel but that does not stop us from sharing the Good News.

Children’s Ministry Day is an opportunity to get children engaged and excited. Don’t feel like your day has to follow a particular model. Remember—the goal of the day is to help children learn to put love into action.

Focus on Generations

Imagine a gym full of preschoolers through women in their 80s. Imagine fun and games mixed with ministry. Imagine a multigenerational morning celebrating Focus on WMU association-wide. 

While it might sound unwieldy to have all age levels together for 1 large event, everyone in our association enjoyed eating a potluck brunch before the children led in prayer for those on the missionary prayer calendar. Soon everyone split into groups to work on ministry projects specifically designed for his or her age level.

Moms who were not members of Women on Mission participated with other women and learned more about missions. In a role reversal, the children worked on projects while the adults played games designed to help them learn more about missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® using ideas that could be duplicated in their churches. Laughter swirled around the gym.

Do Not Fear

One question has been a theme of several conversations lately. What would we do—live, be, accomplish, or even attempt—if we did not fear? What would we do as leaders?

I heard a song on my radio app this morning, “To the Very End” by Will Reagan and United Pursuit Band. The lyrics include, “You can have all my fears, God. . . . I know You’re with me to the very end.”

The Christmas echo still rings in my ear: Emmanuel, God with us. How does the reality of Christ’s presence change how we live? How does it change how we lead?

Even the Great Commission is empowered by God with us through Jesus’ promised presence. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b NIV). If Jesus’ presence with us truly makes a difference, then what is it that seems to hold us back? What do we fear? Is it conflict, pain, loss, or failure of some kind? What is it for you?

Better than Nothing

Sometimes in college it’s easy to have the “better than nothing” attitude. It’s a familiar story: You have weeks and weeks to work on a paper but somehow it only gets started 10 hours before the actual due date. Is it the best paper? Nope. But hey, it’s better than nothing.

If I’m being honest, this “better than nothing” attitude has bled over into my relationship with Christ. It’s affected my time with Him and trying to live on mission.

A quick devotion on my phone right before I doze off to sleep at night has become routine because it’s better than not doing a quiet time. Smiling at those people the Spirit tugs on my heart for has become a replacement for actually talking to them because it’s better than just ignoring them. Promising to pray for people that don’t know Jesus has taken the place of actually sharing the gospel because it’s better than nothing.

When did I become so OK with choosing between better and nothing? And when did I begin to believe that those were my only two options?

Through the grace of Jesus, we don’t have to choose between better and nothing. Through Jesus, we can choose the best.

Your Friend, the Chaplain

“When you’ve seen one chaplain . . . you’ve seen one chaplain.” Many people lump chaplains into one big group and, quite honestly, don’t have a clue as to what they do or who they are. In many environments, such as the military, chaplains gain a great deal of respect. Even respect, however, can become burdensome.

The word chaplain originates from the root word, cappella, indicating a piece of music unsupported with instrumental accompaniment. In a very real sense, that definition could be applied to most professional chaplains. By the very nature of their calling and ministry, they are often left standing alone, carrying the burdens of those to whom they minister.

A chaplain friend told me that one of the loneliest times of his life was his deployment in Iraq. “I listened to their struggles and secrets during the day. Then, in the evenings when they got together just to let their hair down, I was never invited. They couldn’t imagine just having fun or relaxing with me.”

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