Children

Easy Steps to a Fun Lock-In

Give parents some time off and keep your kids excited about missions with one missions-focused and fun-packed lock-in.

Use this schedule to help you plan a great event:

6:00–6:15pm
Registration: Collect parental permission forms, contact numbers, and insurance information. Divide children into three groups, using different-colored stickers.

6:15–7:00pm
Pizza dinner

7:00–10:00pm
Missions Rotations: Set up three missions-rotation stations. Assign a leader to prepare and lead each station. Ask an adult to guide each group from station to station.

1. Bible Study: Ask your pastor or children’s minister to tell a Bible story. Have children make their own play based on their story. Perhaps during game time, the kids can perform them for each other.

2. Missionary Moment: Recruit a missionary on assignment in your state to discuss customs in her or her region of service. Ask the missionary to share how kids live—what they enjoy, play, say—in their region. Finally, have the missionary tell kids about how he or she shares Christ with people.

Scripture Memory Verses

What does the Bible say about missions? Have your children learn the verses below to find out!

You might use these verses to design a Scripture learning program for your group. Or add verses to your missions learning experiences each week. Or you could challenge children to see how many verses they can learn in a year. The verses are divided into categories. Each verse includes a number (1-6) that suggests the grade for which it is most appropriate.

These numbers are just suggestions. Feel free to customize the list to fit your church’s needs.

 Giving to Missions
1—James 1:17a
1—Acts 20:35b
2—Psalm 96:8b
2—1 Chronicles 16:29b
2—2 Corinthians 9:6
3—Luke 16:10
3—Malachi 3:10a
4—Matthew 6:1
4—1 Corinthians 16:2
4—Deuteronomy 16:17
5—2 Corinthians 9:7
5—1 Timothy 6:18
5—Leviticus 27:30
6—Matthew 6:20-21

Children and Media: Entertainment or Exploitation?

by Melanie Howard

As a parent, you ensure that your children eat their vegetables, wear their bicycle helmets, and ride in their car seats. You want them to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. But what are you doing to protect your kids from the negative influences of the media? Today’s children are repeatedly exposed to media—primarily television and the Internet.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the average child watches three hours of television per day. This replaces more meaningful activities such as outdoor play, exercise, and reading. Children who spend too much time in front of a TV are often less imaginative, less able to focus, and less able to plan ahead. They are also more likely to be violent or aggressive, to have academic difficulties, and to be overweight.

The content of television programming is often at odds with the values of Christian families. Many television shows expose children to profanity, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, violence, and sexuality. Even some “family friendly” programs include sarcasm, back-talk, negative portrayals of parents, and an overemphasis on romance.

34 Ways Children Can Serve

This article by Tonya W. Heartsill was originally published in the Spring 2010 issue of Missions Leader. It is used here with permission.

Use these 34 ideas to help your children’s group get busy and share the love of Christ with others: 

Addressing Child Sexual Abuse

by Melanie Howard

Child sexual abuse: Few topics are more uncomfortable or more difficult to discuss. Such abuse is one of the most extreme forms of human exploitation. To acknowledge the reality of sexual abuse is to believe the unbelievable, to recognize unthinkable evil, and to grapple with the terrible effects of the sin. This topic may even cause an individual to question his or her beliefs about God’s sovereignty and protection.

In the sexual abuse of a child, an adult (or bigger child) uses his or her dominant position to force or coerce a child into sexual activity for which the child is not developmentally prepared to give informed consent. Non-contact abuse includes having a child view pornographic materials, taking sexual photos of a child, asking a child inappropriate questions about the child’s sexual development, and exposing a child to adult sexuality. Contact abuse includes fondling a child, requiring a child to touch or kiss an adult inappropriately, and rape.

Suggestions for keeping your child safe:

Productive Partnerships

by Edith Fisher

Discipleship training and missions education go hand in hand. Both provide a spiritual foundation for children to learn biblical truths and to apply those principles to their lives. But convincing leaders of the importance of fitting missions education in with other church programs may lead you to hoist up the distress flag!

Here are some ways you can build a productive partnership between missions education leaders, children’s ministry leaders, and the pastoral team:

Special Kids, Special Needs

by Jennifer Smith

Although all children are special, some have unique needs that must be addressed in order to create a positive learning environment. Whether the needs are physical or mental, some simple accommodations can make learning more satisfying for everyone involved.

Follow these steps to create a positive learning environment for girls and boys with special needs:

Consider the space.
For a child with physical disabilities, keep the room free of clutter. Create plenty of space to manipulate a wheelchair, walker, or other such equipment.

Children with autistic tendencies tend to respond better in spaces where distractions are at a minimum. Use cabinets with doors to store extra learning materials. Display only what is necessary for the session.

Consider the ability.
In order to make learning a positive experience for the special needs child, you may need to modify some activities:

Read material aloud to girls and boys with reading difficulties.

Leading Children to Fight Hunger

By Stacy Nall

As a child, I often heard this reminder from my well-meaning parents and grandparents: “Clean your plate. There are starving children in China.”

While I felt sorry for the starving children in China, I never figured out how eating all the food on my plate would help their situation. Now, many years later, I’m still cleaning my plate (and then some!). But children in Asia, Africa, and South America are still starving. Even children in my own country go to bed hungry each night.

In the United States, the cause of hunger is due to poverty. The US has more than enough food to feed its own people, but one in every four children live in households who struggle to put food on the table. They simply don’t have the money to buy food.

Worldwide, 925 million people—or one in every seven persons—is hungry. Hunger has many causes: economic and political problems, climate changes, lack of agricultural education, and poverty.

While the causes of hunger seem complex, you can help children in your missions organization do a lot to fight hunger:

Bullying: What You Need to Know

Written by Melanie Howard

It causes children to cry, and parents to panic. It happens on our playgrounds, in our homes, at our schools, and even in our churches. A child can become a victim when she turns on her computer. Bullying is a widespread form of victimization and abuse.

Bullying is intentional, aggressive behavior that intimidates, belittles, or physically harms another person.

Bullying involves an imbalance of power. The bully is often an older, bigger, or more popular child. The victim is usually a younger, smaller child, or a child with fewer friends.

Bullying can affect victims in many ways:
• Children become depressed, lonely, and anxious, and to develop low self-esteem. 
• Children report more frequent health problems such as headaches, stomach complaints, and sleep problems. 
• Children suffer in their schoolwork. 
• Even children who simply observe bullying—without themselves being a target—can become fearful and distracted.

Five Steps in Recruiting Other Leaders

Potential children’s missions leaders can include moms, grandmothers, college students, new church members, missionaries, minister’s wives, and others. Many people don’t serve because they are not asked.

Begin looking for new leaders:

1. Pray about who might become a leader.
2. Look for adults who have a passion for serving God, who support missions, and who delight children.
3. Talk to the potential leader about the ministry and how it changes lives. If he or she seems interested in knowing more, set up a time away from church to discuss the position.
4. Give a potential leader time to pray about this ministry, then follow up.
5. Remember, not everyone is called—or has the time—to teach. Consider other ways potential leaders might participate in and support the ministry.

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