WMU Blog

What Should I Do First?

“If I knew where to begin, I would have already started!”

Have you ever thought that before? Working on any children’s ministry project, activity, or event can seem overwhelming at times—especially if you don’t have a great place to begin. And it’s the same way when you are planning a recognition service for your Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, or Children in Action members as well. So, let’s start planning this year’s recognition service in the right place: prayer!

(You didn’t expect that, did you? You expected me to say that you needed to total the number of badges and patches kids had earned this year and place an order. Nope!)

Start with prayer, and thank God for the kids and families who are part of your children’s ministry and missions discipleship each week. Ask God to show you how to best share with your congregation and community the missions projects and activities your kids have completed this year.

Our Hope Elevates as Christ Ascends

Have you ever heard of the Friend Zone? It’s that awkward period of time in a hopeful relationship where you know someone better than an acquaintance, but you just haven’t made the jump to saying “I like, like you,” yet. If you’re like me, you’re all too familiar with this in-between stage of a relationship.

The truth is, life is full of these types of circumstances. Middle school students probably know this best. They aren’t kids anymore, but they’re still in the early stages of those crazy teenage years. High school seniors also know what this is like: Many have been accepted by the college of their dreams, but graduation is still so far away!

We are all used to living in this liminal space. Like standing in a doorway before entering a room. Not coming in, not going out. I’ve heard it said that Christ has begun a new work in the world but we have yet to see that work accomplished. We live in the “already but not yet.”

Senior VBS!

“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone” (Psalm 71:9 NIV). God values the elderly, and we should too! Is fun only for the young? Are all old people saved? What about having a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at an assisted living or retirement center?

If you’ve ever visited such a place, you know how well-received visitors are. Often, people are lonely. They are away from families and friends. They may feel discarded by society and unimportant. If adults partnered with youth to involve residents in fun, Gospel-centered activities, all could be tremendously blessed. The elderly can hear Bible stories, sing songs, do themed activities, and perhaps even come to faith in Christ.

Too Much Information!

You’re being real. You’re applying the message of James 5:16 and confessing sins to each other and praying for healing. Intimacy is vital to growth in a relationship. So, when does this become a problem? Here are a few things to consider before letting it all hang out:

*Use discretion. Not everything should be shared with everyone. Listen carefully before you speak. Pray for guidance on when to be quiet. Remember something you say could impact others negatively. Don’t inadvertently cause others to stumble.

*Know your audience. Proverbs 18:24 states, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin…” (NIV). If someone you know struggles with keeping confidences, don’t entrust them with sensitive information. Be friendly, but think before you speak.

*Seek out Godly advisors. Rather than going to those who will say what you want to hear, consider asking God for friends willing to sharpen you.

Isn't That What We Hope For?

Encouraging kids to live a missional lifestyle looks much different today from when Girls in Action started over 100 years ago. Children today have changed a great deal. Through quite a bit of research and observation, we know that today’s kids do not learn in the same ways as children of previous generations.

We know that today’s generation of children have a great need to control their world, solve problems in their own way, and come to conclusions based on creations they’ve made and lessons they’ve learned. Gone are the days of “sit and get.” So how do we, as children’s ministers and missions leaders, reach our kids in a way that will make God’s love and sharing that love with others a prominent part of their lives?

Howdy, Neighbor!

Thermometer shows warmer temperatures. How’s the thermostat on your hospitality? Would your neighbors say you are prone to hibernate or do they see you now and then? To share Christ with others, we have to get out there! How can we form relationships with our neighbors to better witness to them? Here are a few ideas:

*Emerge from the den. Do a little something in the yard. Take more walks. Lollygag, doddle, and take your time. Smile, wave, strike up a conversation asking questions with more than one-word answers. Ask how someone is doing and wait for the response. Be purposeful about interacting, not just accomplishing your task.

*Offer help. Using the information you’ve learned from conversation, make a plan to take action. Rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor, run errands for someone recuperating from illness, welcome a newcomer with a treat. . . are all good ideas to share love in tangible ways.

Open Up: The Risk of Rejection Is Worth the Reward

My uncle is a local radio disc jockey. He’s one of the sweetest guys I know and truly cares about the people in his life. However, one of my family’s favorite pastimes is to watch him in a public setting. He has go-to nicknames for each gender so it seems like he knows who people are even if they’ve never met. The thing about my uncle is that he’s really great and everyone likes him but not everyone actually knows him.

When it comes to building the kind of relationship needed to invest in others, people have to know you. That’s a scary thought, often with this main concern: “What if they don’t like me?” But the risk is worth the reward.

In this case, the risk is being liked and the reward is a gospel-centered, kingdom-changing relationship. See? The risk is worth it. Now, if this sounds like a devotional for a middle-school girl, I apologize. But honestly, most of us (myself included) are still afraid of the rejection that comes with opening ourselves up to the point where we earn the right to share the gospel.

When a Preschooler Is Afraid

Frightened preschooler

A few times recently in Mission Friends®, we have had one child left for a while after the other preschoolers have been picked up by their parents. Most have been OK with this as we continued playing. But one time I could tell that the preschooler became anxious. She made comments like, “I’m the only one left,” and “Where is my mom?”

When we think of preschoolers’ fears, we tend to think of a traumatic event that has happened to cause them to be afraid. We think of events such as a tornado or car accident. Some preschoolers will also become fearful in situations that are less traumatic. I have been in a store and seen the frightened look on a preschooler’s face when he lost sight of his mother, even though she was only a few steps away and knew where he was. Some preschoolers also become fearful when a situation is out of the ordinary or out of their routine. In the case of my Mission Friend above, her train of thought may lead her to think, “If Mommy usually picks me up at the same time as the other children, what if this means she is not coming for me?” This is a scary thought for a preschooler.

Watch Out for This Thief

Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

A lot of people really look forward to summer. Who doesn’t love long, lazy days or hanging out by the pool without a care in the world? That probably isn’t the reality for most people every day, but it’s fun to take advantage of slow, carefree moments when we have them.

Unfortunately, though, some people dread summer. Summer is a time of unveiling and shedding layers. For those of us who prefer to be covered up, out of sight, unnoticed, this shift can be a difficult one.

Summer is a time when everything is on display. It’s too hot to hide underneath bulky coats or long pants. For some people, this is easy. They are comfortable in their own skin, happy to shed the weight of those layers and get some much needed Vitamin D. But for others, this is hard. Summertime brings out the biggest thief of all: Comparison.

Comparison is here, and he’s come to steal your joy.

Proving My Faith Genuine

Fear consumed me.

I spoke to my dad on the phone, sharing with him that I’d be enduring surgery early the next morning—exploratory surgery to discover the cause of my infertility. His humor sliced through my fear. “Put on your bravery button,” he said.

Bravery? I felt everything but brave.

After hanging up the phone, I buckled over, crying, my hands covering my face. Only in my mid-20s, I’d never faced surgery. Would I survive this? Would I wake up? I trembled.

I’d grown up in church and accepted Christ at an early age, but suddenly a question loomed over me—“Do you really believe?” I’d never had my faith put to the test. Life had been so easy. But I had to answer that question, for myself.

The lyrics of every song I had learned in that precious hymnal flooded my mind and soul:

  • “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”
  • “Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Yes, Lord, I believe.

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