Children

How can leaders help girls develop a missional lifestyle?

I have a confession: I’m not perfect. There, I said it. Even though I was a pastor’s child, a GA, and a pretty good girl, I still didn’t understand what it meant to live on mission with God. I know my leaders meant well, but this is what I walked away with as a teen:

  • I need to read my Bible.
  • My friends are lost, and if I don’t make sure they are saved, it’s my fault if they go you know where.
  • If I have problems, I need to pray.

Not all bad things, but it didn’t compel me to fulfill the Great Commission either. Don’t get me wrong—I loved hearing the stories, I learned about Lottie Moon, and for heaven’s sake, I was the 1995 Associational GA Princess (What, what!). But there was still something missing.

Helping someone develop a missional lifestyle doesn’t start in the mind; it begins in the heart. Below you will find four tips to help you develop a strategy to engage girls in cultivating a missional lifestyle.

Number One: Set Goals.

When Pastors Don't See a Need for Missions Discipleship

Susan Bryant, Kentucky WMU president, was recently asked how she responds to pastors who might not understand the benefits of children’s missions discipleship. Read Susan’s thoughts below:

I should have seen the warning signs—a pastor who had not grown up in Royal Ambassadors, Wednesday evening programming that was being rearranged, and other ideas for our children that were being promoted. I had been a GA leader at my church for more than 30 years, and I couldn’t fathom anything but spending Wednesday evenings traveling around the world in the basement of our church.

Then came the day when my pastor scheduled a meeting to discuss alternatives to Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. I knew I needed to present a clear vision for missions education for our children. We both wanted the same thing—the best atmosphere for our children to learn that God loves them and loves the world.

GA Groups in Small Churches

There are always two sides to a coin. While some see a small church as a disadvantage to missions discipleship, it can be a strength that creates an effective GA ministry.

Small groups can allow for more meaningful discussion times. As questions and issues arise, leaders have the chance to address each concern. This allows for more significant discussions, as well as cultivating a leader’s ability to guide girls into a deeper understanding of their world and missions. At times, there may be an activity that requires more participants than a group has available. The leader could adapt the game to fit a smaller number of people, but be sure to keep the intent. Or better yet, the leader could use this as an opportunity to invite a women or men’s class to come play with her GAs.

One of the greatest strengths of a smaller church is the longevity of its members. This dynamic allows leaders to watch their GA girls grow up to become leaders themselves with a great opportunity for influence in future generations.

Just How Hungry Are You?

My own children often declare that they are “starving to death,” but are they really? Join us at our dinner table or accompany me as I buy groceries each week, and you’ll realize that food is not an issue in our house. In their worldview, however, “starving to death” could mean anything from being bored to not having dinner at the exact time their stomachs think it should be served.

It has come to my attention that if my own boys need to learn more about hunger, then my GAs probably do too. This month, as you and your CAs, GAs, or RAs learn more about the work of Baptist Global Relief and the work they do to provide help for those in need around the word, challenge your children’s group to earn their Global Hunger Relief Badge/Patch through one of these project suggestions:

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Cada año, Samaritan’s Purse patrocina Operation Christmas Child, un proyecto que coleccione cajas de tamaño para zapatos llenas de regalos para niños por todo el mundo. Descargue un video promocional o cree su propio video para compartir con su grupo o iglesia.

Si usted es el líder de este esfuerzo para su iglesia, presente un drama corto sobre el gozo de llenar una caja de regalo. Incluya testimonios de Niñas en Acción y Embajadores del Rey o Niños y Niñas en Acción y Amiguitos Misioneros. Exhiba un árbol de Navidad en el vestíbulo o la sala de su iglesia. Ponga cajas de zapatos bajo el árbol para que los miembros puedan tomarlas y llenarlas. O tenga una campaña de colección para materiales para llenar las cajas. Si toda la iglesia va a participar, ponga contenedores por todo el templo para que los miembros puedan dejar regalitos por todo el año.

Global Hunger Relief: Children Can Make a Difference

Hunger is one of the most challenging needs we face today. How is it that some have so much while others have so little? This month, children will be learning about the global hunger epidemic. As part of the Global Hunger Relief initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention, churches around the country will have the opportunity to learn about, pray for, and give to one of the most basic needs of human existence. In fact, a staggering 100% of all funds given on Global Hunger Relief Sunday (October 9) will go directly toward providing food for those in need.

"Fall"-ing for Friends

Looking for ways to involve children in hands-on service opportunities while also earning a new badge or patch? Fall is the perfect season for children to bridge generational gaps and minister to senior friends in your church or community. Lead children in one or more of the following activities and then present them with our newly redesigned Senior Friends Badge/Patch.

Back in the Day

“Back when I was a child . . . ”

Didn’t we always hate hearing those words from our parents? We knew what would follow: they had walked to school uphill, in the snow, with no shoes or socks, etc.

Did your parents say things like that? Mine did.

The other day, I was talking to Evan, my 8-year-old son. I was talking about finding some information that I needed. I said, “Back when I was your age, we had to go to the library and look in the encyclopedia to find information like that.”

Evan looked at me and said, “Dad, today we’d just Google it.”

He’s right. “Back in the day” won’t solve all of the questions of today. I do know that.

Over the last few months, there have been many changes in our missions education materials for children. You’ve probably noticed many of those changes. Maybe some you’ve missed. Or, maybe you are trying to find some information that will help you teach better this week. Whatever the case, let me answer a few questions about the changes you may have noticed.

I’m a CA leader and I can’t find the “Family Missions Focus” and “Extras” information in my magazine. Where can I find it?

Developing into Great Leaders: Online Learning

Have you ever attended a seminar or training session and thought, “This would have been so much better if I could have stayed in my pajamas”?

The Children’s Resource Team is assembling online training sessions that will allow you to learn more about being a leader from the comfort of your own home. And yes, you have our permission to stay in your pj’s!

Here’s an overview of what’s out there so far:

Leading Girls in Action: Participants will look at the very basics of the Girls in Action organization, including the curriculum and the pledge. You will also be challenged to teach a lesson to a small group of children to experience what it’s like to plan and deliver missions discipleship.

Compassion in Action

Several weekends ago, I opened my Facebook to find that a WMU friend was taking her Girls in Action members to visit the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, Louisiana. I immediately sent her a private message and asked her to take plenty of pictures of her GAs while they were there.

I’ll admit it—I wanted to see the projects her girls were going to do and snag a few ideas for my own GA group.

I watched for her posts all day, and finally, when she shared pictures, I saw sweet girls wearing purple GA vests experiencing something we all should strive to share with our GAs: compassion in action.

Later, I received several emails containing pictures and an account of what this group experienced and learned during their trip to Baptist Friendship House.

Read the following excerpts from Susan’s emails for yourself:

The GAs and WMU from Pleasant View Baptist Church, Foley, Alabama, took a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to visit Dr. Kay Bennett, Kendall Wolz, and PJ—missionaries at the Baptist Friendship House. What a great day we had!

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