WMU Blog

Prepare with Prayer

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers was right. No matter what kingdom work calls us, that work must be grounded in and fueled by prayer.

As your church prepares to send out short-term missions teams this summer, make prayer a priority. Recognize that prayer unites the body of Christ and makes those who pray just as important as those who go.

Consider these ideas to ensure those going are covered in prayer:

Prayer Cards: Create postcard-sized prayer cards that include a team photo, a key verse for the trip, and 3 specific prayer requests. Distribute cards to members of missions organizations and consider including in the church bulletin.

Prayer Sync: Challenge church members to set clocks or phones for a daily reminder to pray in the weeks leading up to the trip. If the missions trip dates are July 10–13, consider praying from 7:10–7:13 each day, for example.

Sharing Our Faith

As a seminary student, I was required to take a class on personal evangelism (in simple terms, a class on how to share Jesus with others). Before the end of the semester, we were required to make a certain number of personal visits with people in the community.

Some people will say that a seminary student shouldn’t have to take a class to be taught how to share Jesus with others; it should come naturally for someone called to serve God.

But for busy students who are trying to complete their academic work, maintain a family life, and work full- or part-time in a secular or church position, it is often difficult to focus on personal evangelism. Yes, I know seminary students should be about “God’s work,” but it’s still difficult to find time to focus on sharing Jesus with others.

That last statement probably isn’t limited to busy seminary students. More than likely, most of us need a little push to reach outside our comfort zones, to share our faith with others, and to lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus.

London, Listening, and Counter-Cultural Living

If we are going to make changes in our culture, we have to live counter-culturally. A mentor of mine often repeats these simple, wise words. Opportunities to live in a way that challenges our culture are easy to find in college. By choosing to make godly decisions in the midst of the temptations and challenges students face almost daily, counter-cultural and cultural living can seem as starkly different as black and white.

Then, suddenly, something happens that rips you away from your comfortable student bubble. You could graduate, transfer colleges, or even simply realize that you don’t know your university as well as you thought you did. If you’re like me, you can study abroad for a semester in London and realize just how little you really understand about other cultures. I no longer have the luxury of simply living against the status quo. I first have to identify differences between England and my home that do not reflect God and then live against the flow. In new places, though, not getting caught up in the flow is hard to do.

Impressions from Guatemala

Joye with kids

The people and place of Guatemala have a special place in my heart after going to Guatemala on a missions trip several years ago. I served with Orphan’s Heart at the Child Malnutrition Center in central Guatemala. Orphan’s Heart is a ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Our missions team was made up of WMU members from across Florida, and I was so blessed to join this team for an incredible week of giving care to about 100 preschoolers under the age of 5 years. We served alongside their caregivers in playing, singing, feeding, bathing, and dressing the preschoolers throughout the day. During the week, I spent most of my days with the preschoolers who were just learning to walk. I spent part of a day with the infants, and another part day with the 3–4 year olds.

His Schedule

Reading the church newsletter, Brenda sighed. In addition to the usual activities, a baby shower, a workday, a preview of the upcoming Easter music, and a new ladies’ Bible study were scheduled.

“Lord, with work and family responsibilities, how can I do all this?” she moaned. Gently, she sensed the Lord saying, “Let me, not the church calendar, plan your schedule.”

Brenda had been considering a local service project that could use her skills and provide interaction with unbelievers. Realizing God was leading her to revamp her schedule, she decided to bow out of choir, skip the workday, and forgo the Bible study.

When she received some critical remarks for lessening her church involvement, she lovingly explained her actions. With freed-up time, she began kingdom-building relationships in her community.

By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 

 

ABCs of Salvation

Do we have good news for you!

God loves you and every person in the world. He loves us very much!

There’s also bad news. Each person has sinned. We have done things God does not like.

Here are three ways to turn the bad news into good news. We call these the ABCs of Salvation.

A-dmit that you are a sinner. Repent, turning away from your sin. (Read Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:9–10; Acts 3:19.)

This means that you understand you have broken God’s rules. You want to stop breaking His rules and only do things that honor Him.

B-elieve that Jesus is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness from sin. (Read Acts 4:12; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8–9; and John 1:11–13; 3:16.)

This means you understand that Jesus took the punishment for our sins when He died on the cross. Then He rose from the dead. By believing this and accepting His gift, we can have forgiveness for our sins.

C-onfess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Read Romans 10:9–10; 10:13.)

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.

Following Well: 3 Secrets Great Leaders Know

While leadership sounds appealing, many consider following to be subservient. “I’ll never be a follower” is a statement we often hear. In the course Follower Skills, Danette High states, “We will spend far more of our lives following than leading. Following is not a place to let your guard down, or to take a break from leadership.”

Great leaders understand the vital and dynamic relationship that must exist between leaders and followers. They also know when to lead and when to follow. These leaders remain excellent followers. Danette compares following and leading to a couple dancing. “Both have their own moves, but if the leader and follower truly partner, that’s where the beauty occurs.”

Since developing follower skills is practically non-existent in leadership training, many leaders have no idea how to do so. There are at least three secrets that great leaders know about following well.

Oh, Those Babies, Ones, and Twos! Part 3

Terrific Twos

I think they should be known as Terrific Twos! If you teach two-year-olds, you know how terrific they can be, as well as what a challenge they can be. During this year, twos really move out of the baby stage of life as they grow in so many ways. Twos begin to do many things for themselves, but may still be like a baby at times. The word mine can be heard over and over, which is the result of their growing independence. They begin to speak in sentences and ask questions. Twos gain in the use of the small muscles of their hands as they hold crayons or pound play dough. We can guide them to learn about missions as they use their new skills as two-year-olds.

  • Say the Bible thoughts often. Relate Bible thoughts to activities. As twos look at nature items in a box, tell them: The Bible tell us, Look at the wonderful things God made (see Job 37:14).

Get Plugged In

Arriving in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, NAMB church planter Jay Parks knew building relationships was vital to building New Life Church. When his son got involved in soccer, Jay attended practices and games, looking to “plug in where families already were,” he says. He soon began coaching, and after a year-and-a-half, he has met many families through it.

Jay and his wife April also committed to engage two families a week by inviting them to dinner, hosting over 100 families so far.

“This shifts a focus from just inviting them to church to simply trying to get to know them,” he affirms.

The soccer field and the Parks’ dinner table have brought many into the fledgling congregation. “Building relationships is so important when trying to reach people with the gospel,” Jay emphasizes.

(You can read more about the Parks’ story at www.newlifekona.com.)


By Ann Maniscalco

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