WMU Blog

Being Authentic—OK, but How?

Being authentic has become somewhat trendy. What do we mean by authentic? What is it about that word that draws our attention? In our world of impersonal social media and fake news, perhaps we sense the need for something we can trust—something deeper in our relationships.

In an article for Christianity Today called “Keeping it Real: The Truth about Authenticity,” author Megan Hill shares that authenticity is transparency, truth-telling about all areas of life. She offers five principles for being an authentic Christian:

• Authenticity proclaims the reality of the Bible.
• Authenticity doesn’t excuse sin.
• Authenticity seeks the good of the body of Christ.
• Authenticity honors wisdom.
• Authenticity points ahead to a perfected future.

Her thoughts resonate with me, especially about pointing ahead to a perfected future. In the past, I feel like I have really tried being authentic with mixed results. It seems that the more I try to be authentic with people, the more confusing it can become.

Questions about Develop Online Training

Joye Smith

The part I like best about our online Develop training courses is that I get to interact with you, the Mission Friends® leaders. I so enjoy the correspondence back and forth with each leader who has taken one of the preschool Develop courses. Most of the leaders I have never met in person, but I feel like I know them as they go through the courses. Even though the training is online, that does not mean that it is impersonal. This has been the most pleasant surprise for me as we developed the online courses to include contact between the course participant and Mission Friends consultant.

In thinking about the preschool Develop courses, I thought I would answer a few questions that I am asked about the online training.

  • What is included in the preschool Develop courses? Each of the preschool courses include several short instructional videos, handouts, and interactive assignments.

5 Things Every Graduate Needs to Hear

The month of May usually finds students across the country with only one thing on their mind: Summer vacation! But for many, this yearly pause comes with an added weight of expectation.

Graduation. The end game of the elementary, the medal of honor for the middle schooler, and the holy grail of the high school senior. For many, this long awaited day is fast approaching. But before these happy few take off for parts unknown, make sure they take a little time-honored wisdom with them as they go.

 

Change Is Coming

Truly, graduation marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Peeking out from underneath the shelter of family and the security of childhood can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Dive in to the “new.” Don’t be afraid to live into this time of transformation!

 

Rise to the Challenge

You got this! Yes, “adulting” is hard. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will find that the world is a lot more complicated than you thought. But you can make it! When you fall, get back up again.

 

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:

Pen Pals

Making friends is so important for kids! It is especially fun to make friends who share your interests but live somewhere else—a different city or state, a different culture or family. Connect with other missions groups to pair children with a pen pal. Missions leaders can connect over social media with other leaders. Post a photo of your group and then send details.

Lead children to write a letter or email. Or, send a package as a group filled with items. Here are some fun ideas children can include:

  • natural items that you find in your hometown, such as flowers, leaves, rocks, or sticks
  • handmade items like a special photo album, artwork, a keychain, or a craft
  • a postcard from your hometown or state
  • a candy or snack item
  • a favorite Bible verse
  • a map you drew of your town and church
  • a copy of your favorite song
  • a sheet of stickers to share
  • anything from a dollar discount store

Disaster Relief

Helping others in a time of crisis is perhaps one of the most basic aspects of our faith in Christ. When we hear of someone in need, something deep within us stirs and urges us forward to see how we can help. Children understand when someone is hurting. In fact, they often grasp this much better than we do. Through all of our layers of reasoning, distraction, and comfort, we’ve gotten pretty good at ignoring the pain of others. But children have a special way of taking on the pain of those around them, and they feel it deeply. They want to help any way they can. That is why it’s so important to teach our children about disaster relief.

There are many ways of doing this, but here are just a few ideas you can use to introduce your children to disaster relief:

My Favorite Thing

Imagine you’ve been friends with someone for several years. You know each other’s birthday, favorite color, and how you like your drinks at Starbucks.

Imagine your friend doesn’t know Jesus, and one day, after telling her all your other favorite and not-so-favorite things, you bring Jesus into the conversation. You invite her to church or tell her something you learned in your Bible study that morning.

And then your friend looks at you and says, “You follow Jesus? I didn’t know after all these years that you followed Jesus!”

This is not the response we as believers should hear from those who know us best or from those we want to share Jesus with. As we go out into the world and share with our friends, co-workers, and families that we like our coffee with no cream or that our favorite color is blue, we must also tell them that our favorite thing above all things is Jesus.

The Association: More than Marketing

We support lots of organizations throughout our lifetime: parent/teacher groups at our children’s schools, local and national charities that touch our lives, neighborhood supper clubs, professional organizations related to our employment. All these groups are excellent and meet a relevant need, but what about your local Baptist association? When was the last time you celebrated what God was doing in and through your association’s churches?

People are starved for meaningful community, and they want more than just being a target of marketing and consumerism. Associational missions can be the connector for people to experience a holy more as you partner with others of like mind. Heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul encounters through associational missions are a beautiful thing that changes you and your community.

Many church members have forgotten or never learned how Baptists partner through the association. An Associational Missions Emphasis event is a fun way to educate them. The payback is huge. God is glorified and people are loved and helped in the name of Christ.

Plan

Next Steps in Teaching Mission Friends

Planning to train

Professional teachers are required to take career development courses in order to keep current with trends in education and to glean fresh new ideas. Professional development helps us bring best practices into our classrooms. For teachers in the church, professional development is not required, but it certainly benefits our children and our ministry to gain as much training as possible.

Because most of us who work in preschool or children’s ministry also have many responsibilities with our families and homes and careers, our discretionary time is limited. Scheduling additional time for weekend or evening conferences can be difficult. We know that your time is precious, so we offer a number of resources that will help you keep up-to-date with trends in teaching at church, as well as the tried-and-true methods of working with preschoolers.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about teaching preschoolers—without ever leaving your home!

Single Moms and the Gospel

We were pushing our strollers through our neighborhood that beautiful, sunny day. We had an immediate friendship since our babies were just a few months apart and we were both home during the day. We found ourselves escaping from our houses around the same time in the afternoon with two fussy, sleepy babies as two moms who could use a walk and adult conversation.

This day was like any other, except we began to talk about spirituality. Then the subject of church came up.

She said, “They told me I was wrong to raise my baby alone. They said I needed to have a husband if I wanted to be a good mom. They didn’t know his dad was the one who left us. But their words still hurt. You and your husband seem so different when you talk about God. You say how God loves me and my son; and He isn’t mad at me. I’ve never heard that before. You talk like He’s real.”

I cannot even remember what I said in return. All I could remember was that she needed to hear that Christ loves her and her son, He sees her, and they are welcome in the body of Christ as they are.

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