Girls in Action Blog

Time for Appreciation

October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Month in many churches.

It’s not too late to recognize your pastor and church staff, whether you choose to do it corporately as a church or as an individual. Here are some quick thoughts on how to recognize the leaders God has placed in your church.

Missionaries, Cookies, Kids, and Stickers

A few weeks ago, we learned about a missionary who bakes cookies and shares them with neighbors in an effort to eventually share the gospel with this new friend. Making cookies to become someone’s friend and eventually tell him or her about Jesus seemed like a very long process to my GAs.

“Why not just tell them that Jesus loves them?” one of my first-grade GAs asked.

This conversation led to a discussion about what it means to be a friend, why we do nice things for people, and how being nice to someone may make him or her want to be our friend.

We waded through a ton of comments and questions.

“I don’t have to give people cookies to be friends with them.”

“Does the missionary keep any of the cookies for herself?”

“Does she get to pick who she gives the cookies to?”

By the end of the discussion, I realized that my first-grade GAs were not going to fully understand this concept until they tried it for themselves.

Because I didn’t have cookies or the time to make them, I did the next best thing.

Christmas in August Update

As a kid, Christmas Eve was a day I looked forward to all year long! Christmas Eve was when Santa would stop by our house and bring us presents. Every year, I was so excited about what was to come that I’d voluntarily put myself to bed extra early with hopes that the morning would come sooner. I would not sleep under the covers on Christmas Eve. You see, my mother had a rule that we could not leave our rooms each morning (including Christmas morning) until our beds were made. So, on Christmas Eve I would sleep (if I slept at all) on top of the covers so that I could prevent the 2–3-minute delay of getting to my presents!

I often wonder if that’s how Christmas in August missionaries feel as they approach WMU’s focus on their ministries. Are they excited? Curious about what to expect? A little concerned about how many RAs, GAs, or CAs might give in support of their work? More than likely, there’s a mix of emotions going through their minds as they wait for Christmas in August to roll around.

Are you familiar with Christmas in August? A little history might be good at this point.

Prayerwalking

Prayerwalking can be a difficult concept for children to grasp.

“How are we supposed to walk and pray at the same time?”

“Are we supposed to close our eyes?”

“Just who are we praying for anyway?”

“It’s hot!”

“I’m tired!”

“Squirrel!”

I think you get the picture.

Going on prayerwalks with your children may seem like a challenging task, but I promise it’s worth it. Walking through your community in prayer does 2 things:

  • Children get out of the church building and see the folks who live and work around them.
  • Children learn how to look at the world with a lens of empathy. They see the world as Christ sees it.

By leading your children around your community in prayer, you teach them to see each person they meet as someone valuable to and loved by God. This is an incredible gift for the children who participate. Just think about it: if children are taught to see the world in this way when they are young, what might they be capable of as adults?

Looking for Pen Pals?

Here’s a plan: Help another church start missions education, and you’ll always have a group to send letters to!

To find a church interested in starting a missions education class, inquire to see if your church, association, or state WMU office has a partnership with another state. Once you’ve found a partnership, contact that convention office and let them know that you’d like to find a church in their area that might be interested in starting a missions education organization. Ask them to help provide a church name and contact person for you to talk to about starting missions discipleship.

What’s next?

Sharing Jesus' Love in Times of Tragedy

Do your kids understand the importance of the Great Commission? Do they truly? It might seem like a silly question to ask of you as a missional leader, but it’s time for a little examination.

It’s hard to ignore tragedies in this world (and we shouldn’t try). The tragedies we’ve seen both very recently and in the more distant past make a few things hit home: we don’t know what the next day holds; this world needs the love of Jesus; and we have the responsibility to make His love known.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to double down on teaching kids to share God’s love with the world. With all of the tragedies we see happening on the news, it becomes more and more imperative to reach lost people in this world. The Great Commission has always been imperative, but the tragedies we read about, witness, or experience tend to make that more clear.

Customizable for You

I have a problem. But it’s a good problem! You may know that I lead younger GAs at my church. We started the year strong, with 14 girls in attendance. And each subsequent week, we have added a few new girls to the group. Now don’t get me wrong—this is so exciting and thrills my soul! But it’s a lot of girls—energetic, giggly, socially interactive girls—in a relatively small space!

Additionally, when you combine fresh first graders with seasoned third graders, you face a different set of challenges, such as various reading levels, skill sets, and abilities. So, after a slightly loud and chaotic meeting last week, my co-leaders and I decided to try something new for this week—centers!

Tips for Enlisting Additional Co-leaders

We hear you. You have tried everything! You have prayed faithfully! Yet, again, you are in the midst of the year with too few co-leaders for children’s missions organizations.

In today’s postmodern culture, the quest for adequate leaders is more challenging than ever. It seems every moment of every day of church members’ lives are already filled with responsibilities for family, career, and church.

These 5 “Be” tips will help you develop an effective enlistment strategy.

Be always vocally positive about serving in missions education.

  • Tell stories of what kids are achieving in missions.
  • Emphasize the joy of serving, not the challenges.

Be on the co-leader lookout. Identify people who . . .

  • Assist with events for kids at church or missions events.
  • Have abilities that complement current leaders’ skills or fill a need.

Begin to plant seeds for co-leadership. Ask those identified to . . .

Being a Cool Adult

Last week, my wife, son, and I were driving down the road. My son said to his mother, “Mom, you are cool.” She thanked him for his kind words. For a moment, there was silence in our car. Finally, I said, “Son, what about me? Am I cool?” Evan paused longer than I wish he had, but he finally said, “Yeah, I guess you are cool, too.”

You guess? I’m cool “too?” Seriously? Was that the best he could do?

Well, truth be told, I never really thought of my parents as being cool either. You know how it is. Parents and adults are just old and out-of-touch. Kids think that adults don’t understand what it’s like being a kid these days. Adults don’t dress the right way, don’t talk the right way, and certainly don’t understand kids at all.

Over the years, I have noticed that some kids are drawn to certain adults and see those adults as “cool.” I’ve watched those kids hang out with the “cool” adults, spend time at their homes, and go places with them.

Have you ever wondered why some adults are like magnets to kids and some simply aren’t? Have you ever wondered why some adults are “cool” and some aren’t?

"Mom, Where Is Peru?"

I love conversations with my eight-year-old son, Landon, but I especially enjoy conversations about our faith and sharing our faith with others. He recently claimed Christ as his Savior, so these conversations are increasing.

“Why do some people choose not to accept Jesus?” has been his hardest question for me to answer so far. If we are honest, it’s a tough one for any Christian to comprehend, much less an eight-year-old. One of my favorite questions has to be when he asked why missionaries would leave their families to go around the world to tell others about Jesus.

To help both of our sons understand what we can do to share our faith with others, we are active in missions discipleship as a family. Tommy leads RA, I lead GA, and both boys are active in missions. We’ve been on family missions trips and participated in local Children’s Missions Day projects. We see great value in making sure our children understand the Great Commission and that we are all responsible for living out our faith in front of others.

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