Do you want to encourage your child to have a heart for missions? Here are a few ideas that will perhaps challenge your child to be sensitive to God’s leading for life and ministry.
1. Have your children hear about missions through special missionary speakers and mission conferences at your church. Make attendance a priority! A few nights out as a family could be life changing spiritually, don’t miss the opportunity.
2. Make missionaries personal to your children by:
– having missionaries spend the night in your home. Teach your children to be hospitable.
– having missionaries in your home for a meal. Prepare questions for your children to ask. Make it a learning experience.
– keeping up to date on specific missionary needs. Talk about and pray specifically for the missionaries as a family (not just “bless the missionaries wherever they are”).
– keeping a prayer basket near the dinner table. Pull out a missionary prayer card (or picture of friends and family) and pray for them before each meal.
– saving money as a family for a specific missionary project. Make a special bank for the short term project and save for several months or a year.
– adopting a missionary family. Write to them, remember their birthdays, share prayer requests, carefully read their prayer letters.
3. Help your church become more “Missions Minded” by supporting missions with your finances and prayers. Take the time to really “know” the missionaries of your church.
4. Send out church members on “short term” missions trips. Consider taking your family vacation to serve the Lord with a missionary somewhere.
5. Send your children to summer camp where missions is taught regularly and compassionately.
6. Be a missionary yourself daily in your normal routine. Be a witness wherever you go, give out tracts and live a life that pleases God. (Does anyone outside the church know that you are a Christian?)
7. Trust God for all of your needs and teach your children to cheerfully trust Him unreservedly. We must trust God because of Who HE IS and not because of our circumstances. (I Timothy 4:10; Psalm 34:10)
8. Show your children by your attitude that it is a privilege never a drudgery to serve God. (Colossians 3:17 & 23)
9. Dedicate your children to the Lord. Daily pray for them. Let them hear you praying for them specifically. (I Samuel 1:11; 12:23,24)
10. Be willing to go as a missionary yourself. Don’t hold your children back from doing what the Lord desires. Be the example yourself first. (Isaiah 6:8)
11. Encourage your children to look at people from other ethnic groups through the eyes of Christ. Never allow prejudicial attitudes but encourage Christ’s compassion for all people. (Mark 9:36)
12. Read missionary biographies to your children. Missionaries and spiritual leaders should be their heroes. Some suggested ones to read about are:
John and Betty Stam
13. Encourage your children to find a variety of ways to serve the Lord faithfully now.
– Have daily devotions. Provide a Bible, Bible study materials, journals, rewards for reading missionary biographies, etc.
– Take notes in church and then study them in personal devotional time.
– Memorize and practice God’s Word daily.
– Pray with them for opportunities to serve the Lord.
– Look for ways to minister. Become aware of needs around you.
– Pass out bulletins and papers, take offerings, clean up rooms, help people with coats and packages, etc., while at church.
– Invite people to VBS, Sunday School, and special events.
– Give out tracts to friends and any unsaved acquaintances.
– Live a “real” life in front of those needing Christ.
14. Develop talents and abilities.
– Play a musical instrument (even in junior church).
– Learn to tell a story, lead singing, draw Bible pictures.
– Be willing to do ANY job for the Lord – no job is too small.
15. Prepare your children to have a servant’s heart.
– Teach them to immediately obey. Learning obedience to earthly parents will aide them in responding to their Heavenly Father.
– Teach them to wait. Encourage them not to buy whatever they see, cause them to wait for special events and don’t let them develop an impatient attitude.
– Teach them to handle money wisely. Save, check prices, be sure of the investment, pray about it and then spend. Encourage them to have little debt. Teach them to tithe their money from a very young age.
– Teach them not to procrastinate. Get started and finish the job!
– Teach them to be respectful of older, more experienced people. They can learn so much from them.
– Teach them to get along with others. Teach principles of Biblical forgiveness, esteeming others before themselves and Biblical communication.
– Learn to be flexible. Help them learn to adjust calmly to schedule changes, inconveniences and problems. They will learn this mainly by watching how you react as the parent or spiritual leader.
– Teach them the negative effect of an improper lifestyle. Stress the importance of taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
– Teach them to care for their property and the property of others. Remind them that they are stewards of all that God has given them.
– Teach them to tell the Lord often of their love for Him.
– Teach them by example to be satisfied with the Lord! Don’t complain about the circumstances of life.
by Wanda Taylor (missionary with Baptist Church Planters)