Preschool Leaders

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.

Church Planting in Arizona

Psalm 96:3

“Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:2–3 NIV1).

In Phoenix, Arizona, Hernando and Alcira Cardenas live out this Scripture every day. Mr. and Mrs. Cardenas are able to take the gospel to the nations, because like so many church planters in the United States, the nations have come to them. Incredibly, Mr. Cardenas is currently planting two Hispanic churches.

By All Means

By All Means

Listening is one of the skills that we try to teach preschoolers. We do all kinds of activities to help preschoolers develop their listening skills. We sing motion songs, clap rhythms, play listening games, and make rhythm instruments. Preschoolers listen to us as we tell stories, give instructions, or read books to them. We know that listening is important for preschoolers to learn as they grow and relate to others.

As much as we try to teach preschoolers about listening, it is a skill that we keep learning throughout our lifetime. As adults, we too must learn to listen in order to cultivate relationships with others. To get to know unbelievers so we can share our faith with them, we have to spend time listening. Think about the following two aspects about learning to listen.

God Hears the Prayers of Preschoolers

God hears me when I pray

“Tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” These were the words we heard from missionary, Tobey Pitman, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I do not think it was by coincidence that Mission Friends® featured Tobey and Cathy Pitman as our missionaries that August. Preschoolers learned all month about New Orleans and the Pitmans’ ministries to the people of New Orleans. Immediately after the devastation of the hurricane, Mission Friends leaders from across the country contacted WMU with concerns about the Pitmans. Their preschoolers had heard about the flooding in New Orleans, and the preschoolers were asking about Mr. and Mrs. Pitman. The leaders told us their preschoolers were praying for the Pitmans. When we heard from Tobey Pitman and told him all the Mission Friends were asking about them, his response was to “tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” What a difference it made to these missionaries to know our preschoolers were praying. This is why I believe that God hears the prayers of our preschoolers.

Let’s Learn About . . . The Christian Concept Areas

Let's Learn About . . .

The Christian concept areas are the building blocks of faith development for preschoolers. Each weekly session includes one learning outcome based on the work of the missionaries and one learning outcome based on the concept area being featured that month. How are you incorporating the Christian concept areas into your Mission Friends® sessions?

The book Let’s Learn About . . . by Angie Quantrell is an excellent resource for helping your preschoolers learn about how specific facets of Christianity apply to their lives. In this book, Molly and Mikey explore the concept areas with their teacher, Miss Goodwin. Here are a few suggestions for using Let’s Learn About . . . during your Mission Friends sessions:

  • Each month, during your first session read about the month’s Christian concept area as an introduction before your begin your group time story.

  • Bookmark the section about the featured Christian concept area and place the book in your Books area. As preschoolers find the book and the bookmark, picture-read that section.

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