Growing Toward God

Looking at the Bible together

The first 5 years in a child’s life are crucial, as these are the years of the most growth both physically and mentally. Their personalities are set during this time as they grow emotionally. Preschoolers’ social development is also enormous during these years as they learn language skills and how to relate to others. If growth in all of these areas is of such importance during the preschool years, it stands to reason that their growth spiritually is also crucial during these years. What a privilege we are given to have a part in guiding preschoolers’ spiritual growth. Our purpose in teaching preschoolers about missions is to lead them in developing a heart for missions so that a missions mind-set becomes part of their lifestyle.

One of the key avenues that we have for leading preschoolers to grow toward God is teaching them what the Bible says about missions. Concepts about missions are woven through the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. With preschoolers, we use Bible thoughts which are simplified for preschoolers to say and understand. Find a list of Bible thoughts in Free Downloads. As we use Bible thoughts such as God loved us and sent his Son (see 1 John 4:10), preschoolers begin to learn about God’s love for all people. When we talk about the prayer requests of the missionaries and pray with preschoolers, it reinforces their spiritual growth to use Bible thoughts such as God hears our prayers (see 1 John 5:14). We guide preschoolers spiritually as we open the Bible and run our finger along the verse as we say the Bible thought. This helps them make the connection that the words are from the Bible.

Preschoolers grow toward God as they learn about praying and giving. Babies and toddlers can hear us say thank-you prayers. We can give older preschoolers opportunities to voice their own prayers to God. Preschoolers learn to see the needs of others as they learn to pray for missionaries and the people they serve. Preschoolers also grow spiritually as they learn the biblical concepts about giving. We encourage them to give to missions offerings and to give regularly at church. We can help preschoolers know how their offerings are used by missionaries to tell others about Jesus.

An important area of spiritual growth is in serving others. For preschoolers, we call this helping others. Preschoolers are egocentric in that the world revolves around the self. Helping others moves preschoolers from a focus on self to a focus on others. When my Mission Friends collected school supplies for Christmas Backpacks, Ellie asked me a few times, “What if I want to keep it?” It can be difficult for preschoolers to give to others what they would like to keep for themselves. As we give them experiences in doing things for others, we help them to know that other people have needs and they can help to meet others’ needs and show God’s love to others.

Developing spiritually is just as important as growing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Consider the ways your preschoolers are growing spiritually as you lead them in missions learning and involvement. You are leading preschoolers to grow toward God as they grow a missions heart.

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