Families who serve together tend to grow in faith together as they discover gifts, talents and strengths through God. Become a “missions family” and impact the world. Lead your family to discover missions at every stage of parenting. It’s remarkable how quickly the youngest minds can learn about the world around them. They can be involved in missions right now through their learning, praying, giving and even going. They want to learn about the world through hands-on experiences. Here are some ideas for your family, as I have seen them work when I worked in Children’s Ministry to the time I led high school girl’s Bible studies:
1. Talk about what “missions” is. Your enthusiasm and interest in missions can be contagious. Tell stories about missionaries – past and present. Pray for missionaries by name. Explain that “missions” is God’s commandment to share His love with everyone … a neighbor across the street as well as with someone living in South Africa.
2. Expose them to international culture. Eat at an ethnic restaurant. Invite people over for a meal from other countries. Let them share their culture and have the kids share a little about yours.
3. Collect money for missions. Find a specific project like Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or help fund an organization or a project such as purchasing a water filter to provide clean water. Set a family goal and keep track. Decorate a bank for each specific project. Talk about the project and the impact it will have. Celebrate when goal is reached!
1. Collect supplies for missions. Find an organization or a project such as school supplies. Backpacks, school supplies and much more are needed for kids. The supplies help prepare kids for furthering their education and share Jesus’ love.
2. Adopt-a-People Day. Have an area of the world that interests you or your child the most? Then, pick a day or mealtime to learn more about this area of the world. Dress according to the national clothes of this country. Prepare simple foods or snacks from this area of the world. Mark the country on a map. Discover if people from this country live in your area. Tell stories about the people. Spend time praying.
3. Take a family mission trip. This can be anything from an afternoon volunteering at the local food bank to spending a week helping out at an orphanage in Sudan. Family mission trips offer practical ways for children to become mission-minded and can strengthen your family bond.
1. “Give it up” for global hunger. Explain that millions around the world and the United States do not have enough food to eat. Have everyone in the family decide to give up one purchased item they normally consume in a week. Each time they would normally purchase or consume it (coffee, ice cream, etc.), they deposit the money normally spent in the family piggy bank. Donate the money to an organization helping combat against hunger. Have families members post what they are giving up on social media. This will help everyone stay “honest” and get others involved. At the end of the week, go shopping for a family meal that costs less than $1.50. (This amount equals more than the average cost most in famine stricken areas spend per meal for a family of six.) Examples might be rice, rice and beans, rice and stewed vegetables, etc. Make it a contest to see who can come up with the best tasting or most creative meal. As you eat this meal, talk about global hunger and how we, as Christians, can show Jesus’ love by caring for basic human needs.
2. Send them off on a mission trip. Now is the time to see your teen grow up and meet real needs of people, both physical and spiritual. Watch your young adult along with their peers serve across the globe. Not only will this teach them how to have a servant’s heart, but also help define who they want to be as an adult.
I hope these suggest help spark some ideas on how your family can serve in your community and around the world. You can also follow my children’s journey through their childhood under my roof at www.missionskids.com.