Children's Leaders

Recruiting Millennial Leaders

If you visit our blog regularly for advice about leading kids, you might be wondering why I'm talking about millennials today. You might be thinking this isn't the age you lead, so this particular blog isn't for you. You might even be tempted to click away to another topic. But I hope you'll stick with me, because millennials are a very crucial age group to get involved with leading GA, RA, and CA.

As a millennial myself, I've developed an awareness of the disdain and bewilderment people often direct at my generation. And I wonder to myself, "Why are people pushing us away instead of embracing the opportunity?" That's what I want to help you do today: embrace the opportunity to recruit millennials to become a new generation of GA, RA, and CA leaders.

If you're at a total loss of how to connect with millennials and bring them into the leadership fold or you need a few pointers, it's okay. I want to help you with my firsthand knowledge of my generation, which is sometimes described as elusive, but is in actuality ready to embrace the mantle of leadership, if only we could be given the chance.

I'm Excited for a New Year in Missions!

This week, my GAs will be back in our classroom, reciting our pledge, and learning about missions work happening in Kansas City, Missouri. Because we only have GA and RA during the school year, the summer months (while hectic) seem to be missing a bit of excitement, activity, and inspiration as our room sits empty each Wednesday night. When I see the girls during the summer, they want to know where I traveled and whom I met and when we are starting back—because they miss GA.

What they're telling me isn't that they miss me during the summer. They don't miss our wall map showing locations of missionaries we've studied. They don't miss our pledge or my somewhat mediocre storytelling skills. They don't even miss the badges and the projects. What they're telling me is that they've missed the love of our church family.

Put Your Socks Back On! A Quick Checklist for Mission Safety

I try not to think too hard about what a crazy, dangerous world it is. Otherwise, the responsibility of overseeing a group of elementary-age kids at church would scare my socks off! On the other hand, because it's a crazy, dangerous world out there, I need to put on my big girl socks and take a responsible look at the plans we have in place to ensure our kids' safety.

Want to take a look with me?

Safety at church

  • Do we have a worker screening policy? If so, have all our leaders been through required procedures and training?
  • Is our classroom safe? Do I know where to find a first aid kit? Where do we go in case of fire, storm, or other weather emergencies?
  • Do I have current contact and enrollment information for each child? Am I aware of allergies or other health issues?

Safety away from church

What WMU Taught Me

For the past 8 weeks, I have been a summer intern at national WMU on the Children's Resource Team. I was never a GA or an Acteen, so my exposure to and knowledge about WMU has always been limited. I have learned so much about missions and the importance of missional living in these past 8 weeks.

As I look back on my time here, I cannot help but to smile when I think of all the wonderful people I have met and all the incredible opportunities I have had here. All across WMU's publications, the importance of missional living and investing in others is reiterated time after time, and let me tell you—that is being lived out every day in these offices. On a daily basis, most everyone in this building is constantly praying for the churches, leaders, students, kids, and adults who are being reached by WMU. The people here are so passionate about what WMU stands for and the work that it does.

In With the New

It won’t be long and the familiar sound of a ringing school bell will be heard in classrooms. The wheels on the big yellow school bus will be going round and round. And, kids will be dragging themselves out of bed and back to school for another year of learning.

So, what does the new school year and going back to school mean for missions education in your church? For some churches, the new school year will mean restarting their missions education programs after taking a few months off. For those who continued with GA, RA, and CA during the summer, it will mean more stable meetings as fewer leaders and kids will be out on vacation.

As you prepare for the beginning of another new school year and another year in missions education, now is a great time to evaluate your organization and material needs. Now is also a great time to order the Mission: Hit the Road Promotion Pack. This annual pack provides an overview of the year ahead. You’ll find great decorating tips, ideas, and learning activities that’ll help you have a successful new year.

Start Doing Your Homework

Believe it or not, fall is right around the corner. I know it’s hard to think about those crisp, cool, autumn months while the summer sun shines bright. But trust me, it’ll come faster than you think! That’s why this is the perfect time to do a little research.

How Your Family Can Live a Missional Summer

There's a misconception that in order to do missions as a family, you have to go somewhere or your church has to organize it. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: that couldn't be further from the truth! Now, don't get me wrong—missions trips are amazing, and your church can be a great resource; but that is not the only way to do missions. Living your life on mission means turning your community into your missions field.

As leaders, parents, and family members, is it our duty to not only teach our kids how to live a life on mission, but to show them as well. Missional living starts right where we are. And if where we are is our hometown, then that's where we need to do missions. Summer is the perfect time to do it!

Incorporating Learning Styles in Missions Education

Every child is different. All children have different likes and dislikes, different levels of ability and education, and different learning preferences. The kids we teach may be visual learners, auditory learners, or kinesthetic learners. While it would be difficult to fully accommodate each learner in the short period of time they participate in missions education each week, there are definite steps leaders can take to facilitate optimal learning. When planning activities for a lesson, leaders should incorporate as many different senses into the lesson as are feasible.

Multisensory instruction is one of the best ways for children to learn. When a child only hears or reads, he or she may retain a small amount of the material. But when tactile activities are combined with auditory and visual components, comprehension increases dramatically. And, of course, we want missions education to be fun and enjoyable! Kids go to school many hours each week, and we never want them to feel like missions education is just another hour of school. Listed below are some ways you can incorporate multisensory activities into your lessons.

Helping Children Face Fears

Storms, darkness, snakes, and spiders are common childhood fears. Other kids may be afraid of starting a new school, failing a class, or losing a friend. A few children may face heartrending fears such as a serious medical diagnosis for themselves or a family member, the possibility of a parent being deployed, or parents getting a divorce. Whether real or imaginary, insignificant or life changing, it is important for leaders to take the fears of kids seriously. Here are four ways leaders can provide stability and truth for children in the midst of scary and uncertain situations.

A Love of Calgary

I have been serving as children’s minister at Dixie Hills Baptist in Bolivar, Tennessee, for 16 months. Earlier this year, I started using the Children in Action curriculum during our Wednesday night ministry. I was so excited to see Calgary as the featured city for June! I’m originally from Mississippi, but God called me to attend the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains just a few miles from Calgary. I had no idea God would have me on mission in Canada for almost 14 years! For most of those years, I served in full-time children’s ministry.

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