When Pastors Don't See a Need for Missions Discipleship

Susan Bryant, Kentucky WMU president, was recently asked how she responds to pastors who might not understand the benefits of children’s missions discipleship. Read Susan’s thoughts below:

I should have seen the warning signs—a pastor who had not grown up in Royal Ambassadors, Wednesday evening programming that was being rearranged, and other ideas for our children that were being promoted. I had been a GA leader at my church for more than 30 years, and I couldn’t fathom anything but spending Wednesday evenings traveling around the world in the basement of our church.

Then came the day when my pastor scheduled a meeting to discuss alternatives to Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. I knew I needed to present a clear vision for missions education for our children. We both wanted the same thing—the best atmosphere for our children to learn that God loves them and loves the world.

It was important that I listened before I began my defense of missions education for our children. I then shared how our children have learned they are a part of the Great Commission through GA and RA. Most of our pastors don’t know what goes on in our meetings each week, and this was a great time to educate my pastor on what the children are learning. He was impressed to know that not only do our children learn about missions, but they also pray for our missionaries and are beginning to understand how they can support them as well. I also shared about missions projects and trips in which our children had been involved.

We had just put together a new children’s missions leadership team, and this further assured him of the excellent missions experiences our children benefitted from each week.

Of course, this is not a one-way street. One of our tasks in WMU is to participate in the work of the church. We teach our children how they can be involved in our church, and I model that by working in many areas of our church life.

Today, my pastor is our biggest cheerleader. He loves the missions education provided for our children, regularly promotes it, and is thankful that his own children are benefitting from what they are learning each week.

Perhaps your pastor believes it is time to switch programming for children in your church. This is the time to share what they are learning each week. Invite him to visit one evening. Review your programming and make sure that missions education is being done with excellence by leaders committed to teaching missions each week. As I learned, open dialogue makes a world of difference.

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