With Vacation Bible School, camps, and mission trips during the summer, many of our ministries naturally include some sort of missions emphasis. And this is good. But if the generation of kids we serve is going to see themselves as being “on mission,” the missions strategy within our ministries needs to be more intentional and year-round, when possible.
Many KidMin leaders see value in educating and training the kids in their ministries about mission work, both locally and globally, and desire to equip kids to live on mission in their homes and schools, on their sports teams, and in their neighborhoods.
But the problem is that this needed information is not readily available to most children, and most children do not find this subject matter itself engaging enough to seek out on their own. So the question stands before us: How do we raise awareness about and equip kids for the kingdom work happening around us? The answer, at least in part, is for us to be intentional about looking for ways to create regular missions moments in our kids ministry flow.
Here are a few suggestions listed from most involved to least involved.
- Implement a full missions education program. With this approach, you would allot one of your program times each week to a full missions education curriculum. Every week kids in your ministry will get a concentrated dose of seeing God’s mission at work all around the world.
- Integrate a missions component as a part of your ongoing curriculum/program. In this strategy, you build a mission moment into the regular flow of your existing curriculum during one of your program times.
- Continue to use summer events to emphasize missions. Summer events are a natural time to talk about missions with kids. If you do not have the ability to employ one of the two methods above due to time or structure limitations, strategically make the most of your summer emphases to raise awareness of God’s mission work.
As you consider how missions education or missions awareness fits into your ministry, remember that we, as Christians and even more so as church leaders, are called to be faithful managers of the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). In other words, we have been entrusted with the gospel and commanded to “make disciples of all nations,” and we should work diligently to help the generation of kids we serve to see their role in God’s mission work. A question I have had to ask myself: if I don’t tell them, who will? As KidMin leaders we will serve the next generation well by strategically and intentionally encouraging kids to live on mission.
One of the key distinctives of The Gospel Project for Kids is that we hope, as kids learn about God’s one big story as told through Scripture, they will be saved and energized to actively join in God’s story as they live out their lives. With our new 3-year study plan launching this Fall, we have completely revamped our included missions awareness strategy. During each unit, preschoolers and kids will learn about a missionary or people group where mission work is being done. Each session will contain a missions moment” that may include videos or activities related to that work. We have built this strategy directly into the flow of each session to equip church leaders with a method of helping children see what God is doing all around the world.
God’s one big story is still being told throughout the world. God’s mission is happening now and He invites us, and the kids we serve, to be part of it.
Jeremy Carroll is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.