It's More than Compassion

As a former classroom teacher, I wanted the children in my care to be compassionate toward each other, the members of our school, and our community. I created projects to encourage children to understand how other people felt in the situations we learned about, but also created a desire to reach out to someone with a kind word or deed.

It wasn’t always perfect, but my prayer was that those experiences would help children learn to be better citizens.

While compassion is a worthy virtue for adults to model and children to learn, it is just the beginning of what we want children to learn as they grow in Christ.

Children’s Ministry Day 2017: Love Your Neighbor is the perfect time to help children bridge what they are learning about compassion in school and at home with the love of Christ. It may sound like a challenge, but, in reality, missions experiences are just 1 step beyond compassion. If you can create a compassion project, you can create a missions experience!

Here’s how:

  1. See a need. Where are the needs in your community? Is there an unchurched population of senior adults who need physical help in their yards? Is there a woman’s shelter nearby? Maybe a soup kitchen or a homeless ministry? Now consider: What can children do to meet a need in that ministry?
  2. Share God’s love for the person. Now that you have determined a physical need and how to meet it, decide how you will let the person know that our God loves and wants a relationship with him or her. This could be as simple as sharing how God brought you or a loved one through a recent time of need, but should absolutely let the person know that you love them because God loves them.
  3. Pray for God to open the eyes of your children and your church. Ask God to help the children in your organization see how they can make a difference in their community by helping meet physical needs while they share God’s love. Ask God to build a desire in your congregation members’ hearts to work beside children to reach your community.

While compassion is an amazing virtue for us to instill in our children, we help them develop missional lifestyles by showing them how to turn compassion into missions.

 

*For more about Children’s Ministry Day, visit wmu.com/cmd.


Heather Keller is the Girls in Action and Children in Action consultant at national WMU. She and her husband, Tommy, have a hard time keeping up with their 2 growing boys. When Heather is not in the office, she can be found leading a GA group in her own church, crocheting, or traveling.

 

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