Leaders

It’s Christmas . . . in August!

Christmas in August—yes, that’s right! No need to wait until December to celebrate. You can get in the spirit of giving right in the middle of summer.

Christmas in August allows members of all age-level WMU organizations, entire churches, and even associations the opportunity to be involved in mission support through providing needed items for North American missionaries.

Cindy Skelton, Girls in Action leader at St. Andrews Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina, shared that her GAs choose a missionary for whom they will bring gifts. In September, they have a meeting where they sing Christmas carols, make an ornament to remind them to pray for the missionary, and enjoy Christmas cookies. If possible, they invite the missionary to come to receive the gifts and share about his or her ministry during the meeting.

Sandy's Desk: Cultivating a Missions Lifestyle

Someone once asked me, “How do you cultivate a missions lifestyle in young believers?” I answered the question with examples from my life. It started when I was in Acteens. The Girls in Action leader of my church asked if I wanted to help her with GAs. Then I was given opportunities for leadership through state missions camps and state Acteens Activators teams.

In college, the associational WMU council invited me to join its team. We traveled for hours together to state training events. I taught missions discipleship conferences in the association. I was awful. They loved and encouraged me anyway. When I felt God’s call on my life and made the decision to go to seminary, my associational WMU director used her own money to drive me to visit the campus two states away.

Do you get the picture? Missions leaders taught me. They loved me. They accepted me. They gave me responsibilities. They let me fail and learn. They poured their lives into mine. We have to love, nurture, bless, and turn our young people loose for God to do what He wants through their lives.

Share the Gospel by All Means

Skeeter was once a homeless man, beaten, thrown over a bridge, and left for dead, but God had another plan. He is now employed by the Nashville Rescue Mission, where he first learned of God’s grace. In his testimony, he said, “If a Christian had told me about God’s grace when I was a child, how different my life would have been.” His words are convicting. We must share Jesus with the people God puts in our path each day. There is no higher calling.

When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we immediately become responsible to share the gospel with other people. As powerful as the gospel is, it can’t share itself! While some of us are called to go to remote areas of the world as missionaries, most of us must focus on sharing the gospel right where we are with the people we know or those we come in contact with in our everyday lives. We must be intentional in trying to reach the missions field that’s all around us by all means.

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.

Bitten by the Missions Bug

Missions is in my blood. I grew up with a mother and a grandmother who loved missions and it has always been a part of my life. Even though my love for God and missions started at a young age, becoming involved in missions requires no set age or way.

People both young and old can pray for missions, give to support missions, and participate in missions close to home or far away. Once you have been bitten by the missions bug, praying, giving, going, and serving are things you will continue to do forever as you develop a missions lifestyle.

Find ways to get others involved in missions by connecting the DOTS

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 Life-Changing Event

When you hear the words kids, summer, and camp, some pretty awesome memories probably pop into your head, but add the word missions to the mixture and you have an amazing adventure waiting to happen!

Missions camp is full of all the exciting things summer camps usually consist of, such as canoeing, swimming, silly songs, arts and crafts, and making s’mores over campfires, plus a missionary or 2 to talk and interact with campers all week.

But it is more than just the experience of doing fun activities and seeing old friends and making new ones. It can be life changing as campers hear stories of how God has used missionaries both in faraway places and in places very close to home and called them to serve in ways campers may never have heard of before. Missions camp may be when kids and teens accept Christ or what motivates them to pray, give, and serve others on a whole new level once they return home.

Feed the Hungry

Rather than just a once-a-year emphasis like Global Hunger Sunday, some churches maintain a year-round global hunger missions plan that involves all age groups and missions organizations. Some events are churchwide, some specific to a particular age or life stage, and some sponsored by one organization but open to all. Events might include the following:

CHRUCHWIDE

• Host a community Thanksgiving meal. Invite participants to bring nonperishable items for the church or community food pantry or an offering for Global Hunger Relief

• Schedule regular offerings for global hunger, the local food pantry, or the church benevolence fund—after Lord’s Supper services, one Sunday per quarter, or other times the church chooses.

• Invite a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary to share how funds given to the offering for Global Hunger Relief have been used to meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

SENIOR ADULTS

Experiencing the Ripple Effect

Have you noticed that when God is at work, there is a ripple effect? Not only does He change the life of an individual, but often He also affects the individual’s friends and acquaintances.

I love seeing this happen in Luke 5:17–26. A man is lowered by his friends to Jesus. He is healed. Not only is the man healed but his friends’ faith is also strengthened and the crowd is amazed. I saw the same ripple effect course through the Familyfest held in our city of Indianapolis in 2015. 

Here’s a glimpse into what took place to plan our Crossroads Baptist Association Familyfest:

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