Children's Leaders

"The Road Goes Ever On and On"

Following the way of Christ is a journey, not a destination. Throughout this journey, there are adventures aplenty. One adventure that my wife Haley and I experienced recently is perhaps one of the most harrowing experiences a person can have—entering the world of adulthood. It seemed like a lifetime of uncertainty, not knowing where we would go or what we would do after graduation day. Would either of us have a job? Would it be the job, or just something to help us get by? Where would we live? And what about all those dastardly student loans?

Who knew “adulting” could be so hard? All we could do was put ourselves out there and pray that God would provide a way. And provide He did.

Packing whatever we could fit into our Toyota Camry (our energetic border collie, Nellie, included) we began the long journey from Texas to our new home in Alabama.

Attention Missions Agents!

All CAs, GAs, RAs, and their missions leaders are wanted for a very special assignment . . . Mission: My Life! Your mission—if you choose to accept it—is to discover ways that God can use you to share His love in all areas of your life—at school, on the ball field, in dance class, at the park, at the store—anywhere and anyhow!

This past week, Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors at my church kicked off a new year with a Mission: My Life scavenger hunt. Each team of special agents was given clues to solve, leading them on a mysterious chase to collect evidence. At each stop, children had to complete a top-secret challenge in order to receive their next clue. My favorite challenge was decoding a secret message by holding it up to a bathroom mirror!

Throughout the scavenger hunt, children uncovered facts about different missionaries they will be learning about and praying for as well as some hands-on missions projects in which they will be involved. Agents were also challenged to think about the different areas of their lives where they can be on mission to share the love of Jesus.

Welcome to a New Year in Children's Missions

Are you prepared to accept this very special assignment—Mission: My Life?

We are excited to share with you that Mission: My Life is the children’s interpretation of the WMU emphasis theme, By All Means, for 2016–17. You will see this theme represented through the unit Bible lessons, Scripture verses, and mission stories. Each week, children will learn that God is calling them to share the love of Jesus in all areas of their lives—from daily interactions with friends at school and extracurricular activities to the random people they meet at the park or store—anywhere and anyhow!

Additionally, we are pleased to offer some new and improved changes to better meet your needs as a CA, GA, or RA leader. These changes are the result of surveying hundreds of children’s missions leaders, children’s ministry leaders, and state missions leaders to determine our direction.

Here are a few changes you will see:

Being a Better Parent

I really stink at being a parent. Just ask my eight-year-old son. He’ll tell you.

Well, I don’t always stink at it, but too many times I do. I make wrong parenting choices. I raise my voice. I lose my cool. I don’t provide the right example for my son. So, yes, there are plenty of times that I qualify for the “worst parent of the year” award.

Oh, I never set out to be a bad parent. I try to be the parent God calls me to be and that I want to be for my son. But, I fail.

How about you? Do you ever fail as a parent?

While it may not be cool to admit it, and we rarely see such an admission plastered on the jacket covers of parenting books at the local bookstore, most parents fail from time-to-time. And, we fail miserably.

Quite frankly, there are times I want to give up. Those are the moments when I realize that I’ll never be all that I’m supposed to be or all that my son needs me to be. But, as my wife reminds me, quitting isn’t an option.

What’s a failed dad supposed to do?

Well, as in all areas of life, I find myself praying and seeking God’s wisdom to be a better dad.

Christmas in August

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Christmas in July” before. Radio stations play Christmas music while you drive down the road in the blistering July heat, and retail stores display Christmas shirts next to the shorts and swimsuits.

But have you ever heard of Christmas in August? Christmas in August focuses on spreading the joy of our Savior’s birth long after the Nativity scenes have been boxed up and the Christmas carols have quieted. Christmas in August is an opportunity for your missions group to give back to the North American missionaries serving God’s kingdom.

A missionary serving in St. George, Utah, was overwhelmed by the support shown during Christmas in August. He said, “The supplies and gift cards you sent have made a tremendous difference for us as we seek to minister in our town.” His church received well over 200 boxes from 17 states.

Your church’s missions groups, along with the entire congregation, can support missionaries during Christmas in August 2016. The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few ideas:

Meet the New RA Consultant!

Hello, my name is Zachariah. I thought it might be nice for us to get to know one another. The following is a brief introduction, which hopefully sheds a little light on why I am excited to be working with Royal Ambassadors here at national WMU. Call it an extended hand to what I hope will be the beginning of a long friendship. By now, you might have noticed my first name seems a bit odd. “Zachariah,” like all Biblical names, has meaning. Roughly translated, “Zachariah” means “The Lord remembers.” As I have grown into this name over the years, it has been a comfort and an encouragement to know that through thick and thin, feast and famine, the Lord has not forgotten. Through the impossible, God has always provided a way.

Growing up in Royal Ambassadors was a foundational part of my early years. RA not only provided me with a clear understanding of the gospel, it also taught me about the inseparable bond between acceptance and sharing. We not only accept Christ’s love as Christians, but we follow in His example by sharing that love with others. The two go hand-in-hand in Royal Ambassadors.

TEACHING CHILDREN TO SHARE JESUS IN A POSTMODERN WORLD

“Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. Then Jesus came to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end’” (Matthew 28:16–20).

The Great Commission. As Christians, this is what we are commanded to do—share the truth of God with the world. But this is not always easy to do in today’s postmodern society, especially for children.

From the friends they interact with at school to the messages constantly bombarding them through various modes of entertainment (TV, movies, radio, social media), children are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern belief that “anything goes.” After all, today’s children are postmoderns living in a post-Christian world. This is all they have ever known.

Ringing in the New Year

This is not your typical New Year. There is no party in Times Square, no big glittery ball dropping at midnight, and tomorrow’s date will be in the same year as today’s date. However, for the church members who work with children’s missions groups, a new year is just beginning!

This fall, we will be introducing our new theme, Mission: My Life. And, we have a few tips to make sure that this year is a success.

Plan a party. What better way to kick off a new year in children’s missions than by having a party? Invite the children in your church, the children in your neighborhood, and all of their friends. Whether it’s a movie night, a sleepover or lock-in, or dinner and games, a kickoff party gets everyone ready to begin a new year of missions.

My Time at WMU

As a rising college senior, I chose to spend over half of my summer at a full-time, 36-hour-per-week, unpaid internship at WMU. And, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

No, it’s not quite “the real world,” but it is pretty close. My internship allowed me to test out the career field that I’m interested in for my future. It showed me what a full-time, year-round job on the Children’s Resource Team at WMU would look like. It gave me a glance at not just a career with WMU, but also at any company with publishing or editing aspects.

The scope of the work I was able to do was incredible. I did everything from writing blogs, to copyediting, to designing graphics and page layouts. I was also given the opportunity to begin developing a brand new product.

Individual Achievement — So What?

So, you’ve got the magazines, the leader guides, a cabinet full of supplies, and a room full of children eager to learn about missions. The Scriptures, Bible lessons, and missionary stories taught during your children’s missions group is invaluable. Not only do children learn about our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross for us, but they also learn the importance of sharing that news with others.

But did you know there is more you can do? Each missions organization offers a supplemental individual achievement plan alongside the weekly missions units. Do you lead Girls in Action? Check out GA Journey. What about Royal Ambassadors? See RA Trek. Did I forget Children in Action? Of course not—there’s Missions Expedition.

Why should you use individual achievement plans? It’s not because they fill time and provide fellowship. It’s not even because they are fun (which they are!). The individual achievement plans help children reinforce and live out the missions concepts they learn during regular sessions. It provides opportunities for children to deepen their missions discipleship and strengthen their faith.

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