Acteens

All Things Big and Small

When I think of missions, my first thought is a big trip taken overseas. I think of going to Africa or Asia, eating strange new foods, forging new relationships and working hard, and meeting the needs of people who have never heard of Jesus.

Then I look around me and realize there are people right outside my front door who have never heard of Jesus. I realize that anywhere I am is a missions field if I’ll just let God use me as a missionary.

It’s hard to remember that we are called to be missionaries as soon as we accept Jesus into our hearts. It’s hard to be intentional about sharing His love with others as we go about our sometimes mundane day-to-day tasks.

We don’t have to pack a giant backpack and head to Africa in order to be missionaries. In fact, there are over 269 million lost people in North America, so we need to consider taking off our giant backpacks and reaching out to our many neighbors who are lost.

Between Your Own Two Feet

Answer the following questions:

  • Where were you born?
  • What is your street address?
  • In what city and state do you live?
  • Where do you buy groceries?
  • Where do you bank?
  • Where do you go to church?
  • Where do you get gas?
  • Where do your children/grandchildren go to school?
  • Where do you get your hair cut?
  • Where do you spend your free time?
  • Where do you work?
  • Where do you go to the doctor? Dentist? Pharmacy?
  • Where do you get your car repaired?
  • Where is your missions field?

Did the last question cause you to hesitate? Did all the questions other than the last one have what seemed like obvious answers, but then the last one made you stop and think? How did you respond to it, or did you skip that question in your mind and move on to the non-question part of the blog?

Where is your missions field? Recently I heard Jill Briscoe speak at an event. Part of her focus was on recognizing our personal missions fields. And this is how she described it: Your missions field is right where you are, “between your own two feet.”

Leading Acteens

Group of Acteens

Why Acteens?

  • Provides an active, fun, dynamic, experiential way for students to grow in relationship to Christ.
  • Offers examples of role models who are following Christ’s example in their walk with God.
  • Allows girls time to reflect on their faith and understand what they believe and why.
  • Challenges girls to develop a biblical, Christian worldview that puts God first and results in loving and serving others.
  • Encourages girls to try different activities and roles to help them discover and use their spiritual gifts.
  • Gives girls opportunities to develop leadership skills—planning, organizing, leading, communicating, working together in teams, working with different age groups, public speaking, writing, and using their own special talents.
  • Uses a variety of learning experiences that meet all girls’ learning styles.
  • Develops relationships of girls with God and with one another in lifelong friendships.
  • Helps girls develop a commitment to missions and to church leadership.

Share Your Faith

This month, we are encouraging students and their leaders to get out there and share their faith. But how do you prepare for something like that? How do you even begin to explain Who Jesus is and why He’s so important to you? The first step involves building relationships.

We’re not talking about making friends with ulterior motives here; the ultimate goal is certainly not to trick people into following Christ. When we say “building relationships” we mean just that.

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to see how Jesus shared Himself with others.

Jesus met people where they were not where they should have been.

Throughout the gospel story, we read about Jesus eating meals with sinners like Zacchaeus and consoling confused religious scholars like Nicodemus. Jesus made a point to find his way into all levels of society, building relationships with people of all walks of life. Finding them wherever they were and valuing them as children of God.

Jesus offered friendship and hospitality with no strings attached.

Faith without Works Is Dead

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:14–17 NRSV).

Our friend James certainly raises a compelling question. Is faith without works truly dead? To some, the book of James (and his focus on what to do with your faith once you have it) downplays the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Martin Luther, the famous German reformer, certainly struggled with these words. So much so, he debated whether or not to include this letter in his new translation of the New Testament. To others, these words highlight the very foundation of faith. James puts his actions where his faith is, so to speak… But how are we, as Christians living in the modern era supposed to read this passage of Scripture? One way to describe missions is faith into action.

Facing Life’s Storms

A student whose mom has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is waiting to find out if the tumor is malignant.

A friend who has early onset Alzheimer’s.

A mom of five children who has stage 4 cancer.

A woman with substance abuse who has yet to recognize she desperately needs help.

Shootings and terror attacks around the world.

Refugees. Disputes about government and division in our country. Poverty. War.

Check your Facebook newsfeed, visit a news website or lesson to a newscast, and be present for your friends and coworkers. Just a few minutes doing any one of these things and you can create a list like the one above. The only problem is that this list could go on and on.

Both those right next door and those around the world are hurting. Struggling to persevere in the midst of what likely feel like impossible circumstances. There is sadness. Frustration. Anger. Fear.

17 Ideas for 2017

Happy New Year! As you think about leading your Acteens in 2017 use these 17 ideas as ways to connect with and guide your girls in the coming months.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We say that, don’t we? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We sing it, too. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Toys in every store.” What do we mean when we use this phrase? Are we referring to the décor and music and characters that fill our mantles, living rooms, and malls, and TVs during this time of the year? “We put up our tree, it sure is beginning to look like Christmas around here?” “We took the kids to the mall to see Santa. It sure is starting to feel like Christmas.”

Is it December snow that causes it to feel like Christmas? What if the only snow you get in your part of the world is the kind you sing about? If it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, what did the first Christmas look like? How do we know it’s really beginning to look like Christmas? Because the days of the calendar are slipping by one by one until we reach the end of December? Certainly the first Christmas wasn’t filled with shopping malls and reindeer and mad scurrying with long lists of gifts to purchase and groceries to buy.

The Unsuspecting Father

The Christmas season is full of amazing stories. Each year, we roll out the old favorites to tell and retell in growing anticipation of the Big Day. But of these Christmas favorites there is one story which always seems to leave me scratching my head in wonder year after year.

Through the Gospel of Matthew, we receive a unique recollection of the Christmas story through the eyes of an unsuspecting father. Joseph was a regular guy. Part of a family tree with roots firmly planted in his native soil, he had his own feet firmly planted on the ground. Joseph must have brought in a dependable income from his talents as a craftsman given his status as an expectant groom. Sturdy, stable, dependable, grounded. These are a few words I would use to describe the man about to take Mary as his bride.

Add a Little Christmas to Your Life

Shopping. Partying at school. Cooking. Wrapping. Baking. Decorating. Traveling. Getting together with friends. And that doesn’t even include the church activities, choir programs and special Christmas services.

It feels like time speeds up between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we move at a faster pace through the month of December, trying to do all we feel like we are “supposed to do” at this time of the year.

Added to our attempts to juggle all of the extra activities and events and responsibilities that Christmastime brings, we also must continue our regular tasks of going to work or school, buying groceries, doing laundry, and running the children from this lesson to that activity. No wonder it feels like everything is moving at warp speed to the point that when the New Year comes our December feels like a blur and we long for time to rest.

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