WMU Blog

Making Bible Stories Come Alive

The girls and I walked into the small, empty chapel. “Let’s sit up front,” I said. I led the way, and we took our seats. I smiled, taking in my surroundings—my teenage daughters were with me at a women’s retreat. I’d just signed them up, without their permission, and they hadn’t given me any flack over it.

Through the stories of David and Goliath and the prodigal son, the speaker shared about leaving an abusive relationship and going home. Her parents had moved to Texas, and she didn’t even know their city or address. After driving through several states and passing the Texas border, she stopped and made a phone call.

Taking your kids to the next level

Here’s a tough question: How much are the kids you teach each week learning about missions? Unlike public education, in the missions classroom, we don’t have a series of tests we administer to determine how much children are learning. As a leader, you must rely on your knowledge of the kids in your group. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you ensure your children are learning as much as possible in your missions classroom:

The Original Storyteller

As an English major, my life is inundated with stories. From the beginning to the end of each semester, I can read anything from historical nonfiction, such as The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, to English Victorian gothic fiction, such as Wuthering Heights. In many ways, I’ve always understood that our lives are rooted in the stories we know and tell. Stories shape who we are and how we relate to others.

News from Holly Procita

Prayer, Calgary, Holly Procita, Preschool

With the arrival of summer, many churches in the US relax their children’s ministry schedules. This is not the case with Southwinds Church in Calgary! Holly Procita, Community Outreach Coordinator at Southwinds, tells us Calgary experiences snow and cold weather for 8 to 10 months each year. Calgarians love the opportunity to be outside when the weather is warm. So, summer is the prime time to reach out to families.

Southwinds hosts between 6 and 10 summer camps each year. As you read this, Holly and her ministry team are working tirelessly to wrap up all the details for this year’s summer camps. The camps include sports camps, music and drama camps, and Kid’s Camp, which most of us would call Vacation Bible School.

Connect the Dots: Share the Benefits of Missions Education with Others Around You

As a kid, I loved connect the dots puzzles. Most of the time, I could easily see the hidden picture long before the dots were connected. Occasionally, however, the completed picture eluded me until I was almost done with the puzzle. With missions education, we often don’t see the finished product for years, if at all. Remember that child you taught years ago? He’s now a missionary in Asia. Remember that missions offering your church collected for world hunger? A family of six was able to survive until their crops were harvested. Only God can see the big picture of your church’s missions involvement, and it’s up to us to continue connecting the dots. The WMU Growth Plan gives us an easy way to do this.

D: Discover new members. In your church, you can easily find people of all ages who are not currently involved in missions organizations. Make sure parents know the details of your missions organizations and personally invite them to bring their children. Encourage participation in missions education for all age groups.

Be On Mission during Summer Vacation

Summer Missions

Summertime is often a time when things slow down. The kids are out of school, the days are longer, and there is often a feeling in the air of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Do you notice this in your church, as well? Attendance is usually lower during the summer months because families take vacations at various times. Church activities might be canceled in favor of other events. Organizations within your church might take the summer months off so nobody misses anything important. Or your church might adjust programming to a summer schedule.

No matter where your church falls in the variety of summer schedules, it makes sense to use this time to take a break, step back, and prepare for a fresh, clean slate in the fall. That might mean meeting in a different location or trying something different from time to time.

Regardless, we need to remember that we never really get to take a break from growing in our relationships with Christ. If you are a youth leader and want to help your students continue to grow in their faith, even during the summer, why not try a few of these ideas?

Celebrating WMU Missions

Nothing is more inspiring and encouraging than a room full of like-minded women who are passionate and excited to serve God. It gets your heart pumping! That is how I felt attending the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri, in June 2016.

As a state WMU leader, I am always looking for workshops, ideas, and content that can be recreated in our churches, associations, and state WMU annual meeting. National WMU is always there with an encouraging word and prayer support. The national staff encourages us to realize the goals of informing churches of the necessity of missions education. As state WMU executive directors, state WMU presidents, and church and associational WMU leaders gather from across the country, we are reminded of social issues that are affecting our society today, such as human trafficking, pornography, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Annual Planning and a Movie

When you think of a WMU annual planning retreat, I surmise you do not think one of the activities would be to sit and watch a Disney/Pixar movie, right? When was the last time you watched a children’s movie and gathered leadership lessons from it?

Several years ago, my team and I had the most fun doing just that at our annual planning retreat. After an afternoon of discussion and thoughtful planning, the highlight was watching Toy Story 3.

We got our popcorn, turned down the lights, and started to watch the hilarious antics of Woody and the gang. We laughed so hard that night!

The movie’s premise is this: Andy (Woody and the other toys’ owner) is leaving for college. While cleaning his room, he places his favorite toys in a box to be stored, but through a series of mishaps, the toys end up at a children’s day care. The toys’ mission/vision was to get back to Andy.

We learned the following lessons:

When the Church Gets It Right

Wheels of the World

Have you ever felt burdened by the woes of the church? I know I have. It seems like every morning there’s some new scandal or financial indiscretion plastered all over the daily news. Sometimes the weight of it all gets a little hard to handle. That’s why stories of encouragement, like the one I’m about to share with you, are so important to tell!

Pen Pal Badge

Electronic forms of communication such as email, text messaging, FaceTime, and Skype have greatly diminished traditional means of communication. Letters are becoming rare. However, for the person receiving such a treasure, the response is still the same—joy!

Providing the opportunity for Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, and Children in Action to earn a Pen Pal badge is a valuable learning experience that also has many blessings and benefits for both the receivers and senders of letters. Writing letters helps children develop writing skills, learn how to express kindness and compassion with words, and share with another person interesting information about themselves, which can boost confidence and self-esteem. Letters from a pen pal help a child learn about the life of another person, understand how they are similar and different, and appreciate how another person lives in another part of the state or around the world.

Here are three ideas for planning a pen pal project:

Write to senior adults within your church or community.

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