Preschool Devotions

By All Means

Channapatana Nativity Set

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

As Christmas draws near, we are reminded of the greatness of God’s love for us. The above verse is not typically known as a Christmas verse. It does not refer to a Bethlehem stable, shepherds on a hillside, or wise men who saw the star. The verse does not speak of an innkeeper, swaddling cloths, or a manger. The verse does encompass the very meaning of Christmas in that God loved us so much that he sent his Son. Christmas is a time for us to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world and God’s love for each of us. We rejoice at this time of year as we are reminded of His love and the eternal life that we have through Christ.

Cultivating Relationships and Sharing the Gospel

Praying friends

“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 NIV1).

Cultivating relationships often begins by meeting the needs of those around us. In communities where arts are valued, missionaries develop creative studios. In areas where international students need after-school care and homework help, missionaries open their homes for dinner and tutoring. In cities where sports are esteemed, missionaries offer free summer sports camps. In towns where men and women enjoy quilting and woodworking, missionaries purchase supplies and provide crafting workshops.

By All Means

By All Means

Our first session of Mission Friends® for the new church year started in a most exciting way. We had a big group of preschoolers coming up into our class of 3- and 4-year-olds. The first session is usually a little more hectic because the preschoolers don’t know the schedule, and you are trying to figure out preschoolers’ names. I expected to have 8 or 9 preschoolers, but we had 13! I had planned the painting activity suggested in Mission Friends Leader for the session, and it took a while for the preschoolers to take turns in sets of 2 or 3 preschoolers at a time. When we finally gathered for Group Time, the power went out in the whole church! We spent the remainder of our session in the dark, using the flashlights from our smartphones.

Developing a Heart for Missions

Jason and baby

We are thrilled to share the following devotion from Jason Hyche, one of the preschoolers in Robin McCall’s first Mission Friends® class. We pray that as you read Jason’s words, you will see that by teaching preschoolers today, you are touching the future.

“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).

By All Means

Christ's love compels us

I wrote the words of my pastor on the notes page of my Bible, “The world is crying out, ‘Show me an example of Christ’s love.’” Though that was years ago, the words are still true of the world today. Our world is crying out to us as believers to show them an example of Christ’s love. Sometimes those cries are as loud as ever, and sometimes they come through the soft whisper of a preschooler in your Mission Friends® class.

By All Means

Teacher and preschoolers

How does a preschooler know that God loves him? We can tell him that the Bible tells us so, but for a preschooler to truly know God’s love we need to express His love to the preschooler in concrete ways. In the book Upside-Down Devotion, Taylor Field says, “In this book, I will call specific acts of love for others service. In the world of the Bible, this service is the tangible expression of God’s love.”1 You show God’s love in tangible ways to preschoolers many times during a Mission Friends® session.

  • When you smile or hug a preschooler as he comes in the room at the beginning of the session.

  • When you sit with a preschooler as she works a puzzle or reads a book.

  • When you smile as you give a bottle to a baby.

  • When you have a conversation with a preschooler about his artwork.

  • When you give a high five or fist bump to a preschooler who builds an awesome structure in Blocks.

  • When you sing and clap hands with a toddler.

  • When you calm a preschooler who becomes upset.

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.

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.

Cultivating Relationships

By All Means Emphasis

Preschoolers are pros at cultivating relationships. Have you ever watched them on the playground? From about the age of 3 and on up, they love to play with their peers. You can see them learning together as they pick up a leaf and peer at its veining. You can watch their delight as they chase a butterfly or compare snowflakes that have fallen on their gloves. When another child falls, preschoolers will rush to the child to help them up. They don’t discriminate based on age or race or gender or socioeconomic situation. Preschoolers just have a natural love for each other, even when they are meeting for the very first time.

Missionaries become pros at cultivating relationships, too. Wherever they go, that is their missions field. At the coffee shop, they are looking for 1 who looks lost or alone. At the laundry, they look for the single parent who needs a special touch. On campus, they seek out those who may be homesick or lonely. In the park or the athletic field, they connect with families who don’t know the Lord.

By All Means

By All Means Graphic

My brother-in-law, Kyle, is the best at making connections with people. Within a few minutes of meeting someone, he will make the connection that he knows their great aunt’s cousin’s nephew. If he doesn’t connect through someone they know in common, he makes a connection through a common place by telling a story about someone he knew from the place where the person is from. Kyle seldom meets a stranger because he knows how to make these connections with people.

Paul talks about making connections and cultivating relationships with people in 1 Corinthians 9:22–23: "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." As we look to what it means to share Christ with the world around us, making connections with people is crucial. The connections we make are openings that lead to conversations, and our conversations can lead to sharing about Christ.

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