Preschool Leaders

Praying for Christmas in August Missionaries

Christmas in August package

Christmas in August is a wonderful way to involve preschoolers in supporting missions by giving ministry supplies requested from a North American missionary. This is also a great opportunity to support Christmas in August missionaries through prayer. As your Mission Friends® collect the items needed, lead them in praying for the missionary and the ministries in which the items will be used.

Literal Thinkers

salt shaker

A preschooler and I were talking about the ocean, and he asked, “Who put salt in the ocean?” Of course I responded that God put the salt in the ocean. By the look on his face, I could tell my preschool friend was thinking of someone with a big salt shaker over the ocean. I realized my response was too abstract for his preschooler’s mind. He was thinking of what he knew about adding salt by a person using a salt shaker.

Preschoolers think of words literally. They take the literal meaning of words or phrases. Another way of saying it is that they think concretely. Their thinking goes to what the word actually means. If you say, “I feel blue,” a preschooler would look at you to see if your skin is blue. As literal thinkers, they are not able to understand abstract concepts or words. Our words can also be very confusing to preschoolers when the words have different meanings.

Finding Leaders

Mission Friends Leaders

I don’t have one of those buttons you could push that says, “That was easy!” Sometimes it is not an easy task to find all of the leaders you need in your preschool area at church. Especially at this time of year, churches are looking for leaders to fill all of the teaching positions for the new church year. What can you do to make it easier to find leaders for Mission Friends®? Here are some tips for finding leaders.

  • Pray first of all. Begin with prayer that God would lead you to new leaders who have a heart for preschoolers.

  • Follow your church’s procedure for securing new leaders. Your church may have a nominating committee who contacts prospective leaders, you might work with the WMU director of your church, or there may be a staff person for you to work with, such as minister of education or preschool minister.

  • Be positive in asking people to serve. Present this as an opportunity to be part of your church’s preschool ministry. Help them to know how teaching makes an eternal difference in the lives of preschoolers.

Ways to Use the Mission Friends Promotion Pack

Mission Friends

Have you heard about the Mission Friends Promotion Pack? This pack offers great resources for enriching your Mission Friends’ experience.

The Promotion Pack contains posters to go with each Christian concept area, an allergy alert chart, postcards, 2 Missions Friends promotional posters, and the Mission Friends song. You will find that these resources can be used in a variety of ways.

Christian concept area posters with Bible thoughts

Thoughts from WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting

Defining Moments

What stands out the most to me as I reflect on the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, this year? You might think that I would say the heat and the fact that I did not see a cloud in the sky the entire time. No, the thing that stands out most to me is the people. I am thinking of the people I met for the first time and the people who are already friends that I was able to catch up with. Not only did I see people at our main sessions and conference breakouts, but I also spent time in the WMU booth in the exhibit hall for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Let me share about some of the people and their stories.

I was excited to hear how Nadine Peterson’s church in the Phoenix area is using Mission Friends® in a different way. Nadine’s church has a child-care center during the week, and for 3 days each week church members have a Story Time with the preschoolers in the child-care program. They use the mission stories in Mission Friends Leader as part of their storytelling each week. What a creative way to instill a missions heart within the preschoolers!

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.

Questions about Develop Online Training

Joye Smith

The part I like best about our online Develop training courses is that I get to interact with you, the Mission Friends® leaders. I so enjoy the correspondence back and forth with each leader who has taken one of the preschool Develop courses. Most of the leaders I have never met in person, but I feel like I know them as they go through the courses. Even though the training is online, that does not mean that it is impersonal. This has been the most pleasant surprise for me as we developed the online courses to include contact between the course participant and Mission Friends consultant.

In thinking about the preschool Develop courses, I thought I would answer a few questions that I am asked about the online training.

  • What is included in the preschool Develop courses? Each of the preschool courses include several short instructional videos, handouts, and interactive assignments.

Next Steps in Teaching Mission Friends

Planning to train

Professional teachers are required to take career development courses in order to keep current with trends in education and to glean fresh new ideas. Professional development helps us bring best practices into our classrooms. For teachers in the church, professional development is not required, but it certainly benefits our children and our ministry to gain as much training as possible.

Because most of us who work in preschool or children’s ministry also have many responsibilities with our families and homes and careers, our discretionary time is limited. Scheduling additional time for weekend or evening conferences can be difficult. We know that your time is precious, so we offer a number of resources that will help you keep up-to-date with trends in teaching at church, as well as the tried-and-true methods of working with preschoolers.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about teaching preschoolers—without ever leaving your home!

2017 Mission Friends Christmas in August

Christmas in August

1. Select one missionary from the list.

2. Send home a note encouraging families to participate with their child. A note you can fill in is at wmu.com/preschool on the Free Downloads page. List items the missionary requests. Remind parents that all gifts should be new.

3. Leave the gifts unwrapped.

4. Send only the items requested because storage can be a problem.

5. If Mission Friends® make cards for the missionary, remind them that they may not hear back from that person because it takes the missionaries lots of time and costs money to write and mail notes to all the churches who send gifts.

The missionaries expressed gratitude for your support when they sent their requests. They are excited about receiving these items.

Demonstrating Christ’s Love

Verse image

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22–23).

Do you ever take time to reflect back on the moment that you knew you needed a Savior? Do you remember the moment that you committed your life to following Christ? What about the moment that you knew without a doubt what God was calling you to do in His service? It is always a joy to spend time contemplating these experiences and remembering with gratitude the people who took time to pour their lives into ours.

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