WMU Blog

Teaching Preschoolers the Gospel through Storying

  • Who are you?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Why do you exist?
  • Where are you going?
  • How will you get there?

Stories connect us—across cultures, generations, and communities. Stories are meant to be shared and passed on.

Who first told you about Christ? Who first shared His story with you, connecting His story to your story? For me, it was my grandmother. She shared Christ faithfully with me each time she kept my brother and me.

From the time I was around 3 or 4, I can remember her telling us Bible stories. And if anyone were qualified to teach children the Bible, it was my grandmother. She had taught the 4- and 5-year-old class at her church for years, even before I was born.

A Love of Calgary

I have been serving as children’s minister at Dixie Hills Baptist in Bolivar, Tennessee, for 16 months. Earlier this year, I started using the Children in Action curriculum during our Wednesday night ministry. I was so excited to see Calgary as the featured city for June! I’m originally from Mississippi, but God called me to attend the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains just a few miles from Calgary. I had no idea God would have me on mission in Canada for almost 14 years! For most of those years, I served in full-time children’s ministry.

A Life-Changing Event

When you hear the words kids, summer, and camp, some pretty awesome memories probably pop into your head, but add the word missions to the mixture and you have an amazing adventure waiting to happen!

Missions camp is full of all the exciting things summer camps usually consist of, such as canoeing, swimming, silly songs, arts and crafts, and making s’mores over campfires, plus a missionary or 2 to talk and interact with campers all week.

But it is more than just the experience of doing fun activities and seeing old friends and making new ones. It can be life changing as campers hear stories of how God has used missionaries both in faraway places and in places very close to home and called them to serve in ways campers may never have heard of before. Missions camp may be when kids and teens accept Christ or what motivates them to pray, give, and serve others on a whole new level once they return home.

We Love First Steps in Missions

First Steps in Missions, vol. 23

What do you love most about teaching Mission Friends®? Is it your preschoolers’ natural curiosity and joy? Is it their penchant for telling so much truth? Is it their ability to accept God’s deep truths with simple faith? One thing that I love about teaching Mission Friends is seeing their eyes light up when they develop a new realization about God’s global mission. You can almost see their minds working to assimilate the new thought.

I love teaching Mission Friends. I love engaging preschoolers’ minds with the thought that “God loved us and sent His Son” (see 1 John 4:10). I love exploring new cultures with my little ones and teaching them that people around the world are very different, but that God loves us all the same. Because of my love for teaching, I always enjoy discovering new ideas to try with my classes. This is one reason that I love the First Steps in Missions books so much. Have you ever used First Steps in Missions?

Buy Two Tents: A Christian response to disasters

My WMU friend Betty was working a feeding unit in response to wildfires one year. Officials came to the line to tell another volunteer who was working with her that they did all they could but the wildfires took his home. Other volunteers took up $200 to give him. The man lost everything. Instead of spending the money on himself, the gentleman took the money and bought gift cards to give away at the shelter.

Others found out he had lost his home and gave more money. This time, he decided to go ahead and buy something for himself. He lost his home and his chicken coop, but he still had a few chickens. He told Betty, in almost an apologetic tone, “With the money, I bought two tents—one for me to live in and one for a family at the shelter. And I hope it is OK that I bought some feed for my chickens.”

What a beautiful picture of what it means to be a loving Christian. Committed Christ followers love God and love others as much or more as they love themselves. Through WMU, we seek to nurture that kind of attitude of sacrifice and generosity. Always buy two tents. Take care of your family, absolutely. Yet be ready to help as others have needs.

Creating an Inclusive Missions Learning Environment for Kids with Special Needs

When we create learning environments for missions education, we often forget to plan for kids with special needs. Many preparations for special needs children are easy to include in the classroom, but there may be some you haven’t considered. Understand that some adjustments need to be made as new children begin to participate in your ministry.

Physical Adjustment
Make your learning space clutter-free. Kids with mobility issues have enough difficulty navigating space without additional barriers such as toys, chairs, or other obstacles. Make sure the tables and chairs are the correct height to accommodate children with physical handicaps.

Sensory Adjustment
Some kids are negatively affected by loud noises and colors. Soothing, quiet music and low conversation tones help reduce sensory overload. Bright and busy classrooms often agitate special needs children. Include just the basic instructional tools for your learning space.

Why It's Important to Get Together

This week, Baptists from all over the country are getting together to share family news, tell stories, and even share each other’s burdens. They look differently, speak differently, and even have polite disagreements about who has the best barbeque. But still they come. They have a diverse collection of opinions, passions, and dreams for the future. But still there is something that continues to draw them together. What could bring so many different kinds of people together? Despite all the differences, they all share one thing in common: Jesus.

WMU’s Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting and the Southern Baptist Convention are both testaments to this fact. Jesus has a way of bringing us together. Through collective worship, prayer, and service, the love of Jesus binds us together in a common purpose and mission. He loves us, we love Him, and we are committed to sharing that love with the rest of the world. If this love were ever forgotten, there would be no reason to get together. We would let our differences divide us and our own desires drive us far away from one another.

Saving Your Children through Life Stories

My daughter sat across the table from me, her forehead crinkling with confusion. “What do I do, Mom?”

Quiet hovered throughout the house this Sunday afternoon, with everyone else napping. I propped my elbows on the table. My thoughts twisted in every direction. How do I answer her? She’s 18, an adult now. I can’t say no, and I certainly can’t encourage her. She had been asked out on a date by someone she doesn’t really know, and she was conflicted on how to answer him.

Just as God passed along stories, the bad with the good, I’ve passed along my stories to my daughter—the bad with the good. She knows my teenage prodigal moments. She knows my story.

I touched her hand. “You don’t have to go.”

She saw right through to my heart, knowing my concern for her—my concern for her to learn from my bad and be the wiser. “What if I tell him that I’d like to get to know him better before I go on a date with him?”

“That would be wise.”

“Mom, I’m so glad I can talk to you.”

My Story

I came to know the Lord when I was 7 years old. Many people in my life were getting baptized, including my mom, and I had questions. The more I learned about that public profession of faith, the more I desired to have faith of my own. I began to understand what trusting Jesus meant, and knowing Him at such an early age changed my life. I am not perfect, but I am graciously forgiven for my sins and able to wake up every morning knowing that Jesus’ mercy to me is new each day.

I love my story, as simple as it is, because it is my story. A nonbeliever can argue all she wants about her hesitancy to believe in God, but no one can tell me my story isn’t true. No one can tell me the Lord didn’t change my life. Every day is proof that He did. It’s why our stories are important.

Feed the Hungry

Rather than just a once-a-year emphasis like Global Hunger Sunday, some churches maintain a year-round global hunger missions plan that involves all age groups and missions organizations. Some events are churchwide, some specific to a particular age or life stage, and some sponsored by one organization but open to all. Events might include the following:

CHRUCHWIDE

• Host a community Thanksgiving meal. Invite participants to bring nonperishable items for the church or community food pantry or an offering for Global Hunger Relief

• Schedule regular offerings for global hunger, the local food pantry, or the church benevolence fund—after Lord’s Supper services, one Sunday per quarter, or other times the church chooses.

• Invite a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary to share how funds given to the offering for Global Hunger Relief have been used to meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

SENIOR ADULTS

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