At one time, missions education in the local church was a critical element in church programming. Usually on Wednesday or Sunday nights kids in most churches would gather and be immersed in activities helping them to understand the importance of reaching people groups around the world with the gospel. Pretty much, that day has come and gone. Missions education and even missions awareness is in danger of extinction.
Should churches go back to the way it used to be? I don’t think so. Not that learning about missions is no longer important, it’s just that with the changes in culture and church practice, the things that worked with kids 10-20 years ago just don’t play out the way they once did. Do I continue to feel the need for helping kids understand that we don’t keep the gospel a secret? ABSOLUTELY! The question becomes "How can we do it differently?"
What about these suggestions:
- Since families are only going to give the local church a limited number of hours per week, why not incorporate missions into current ongoing church practice? Plan for and provide information related to missions/mission projects to Sunday morning Bible study teachers, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening kids discipleship and events’ teachers.
- Develop a strategy for including missions awareness in several aspects of children’s ministry. Share that strategy with parents, leaders and kids. Help all of those in your ministry understand the meaning of "missional."
- Include missions awareness and mission projects at kids camps, during VBS, and even offer projects for Sunday morning programs.
- Consider planning for "family" mission projects. Provide a way for entire families to reach out to the community and world with the gospel and missions efforts.
- Evaluate current church mission projects to see how kids might be included in some aspect of that project. Examples: Room in the Inn ministry to the homeless; gathering for and preparing food baskets during seasonal emphases; deacon ministry to nursing homes; etc.
- Consider planning for Backyard Bible clubs in addition to a "main campus" VBS.
The ideas are limitless. Make a commitment now to put a new face on missions!
How do you incorporate missions into your teaching?