How to Involve Your Kids in Missions


Involving your children in missions when they are young and eager to follow Jesus uninhibitedly may result in your children living a life that is sold out for the Gospel of Jesus, to see His glory made known everywhere, no matter where it leads them.
What are some ways to encourage your children to be involved with missions, even if you live in AnyTown, AnyCountry, with no desire or immediate plans to move?

In our home in SmallTown USA, here’s what I’m learning as I go as I invite my three girls to learn more about missions:

1) Introduce -and keep talking about- the God of glory, as He reveals Himself through Scripture.
Start at the beginning and teach your children that God’s plan from the beginning (and even before the beginning!!) was to redeem a people for Himself from every nation, tribe, and tongue – for His glory!! – and that He loves ALL people groups EVERYWHERE and asks us to join Him in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to them! When they see that God is a missionary God from Genesis to Revelation (and down through the millenia!), hopefully they will catch the vision that they should be a missionary people because they are His, no matter where He has put them.
If this is an unfamiliar idea to you, please find a Perspectives course near you! It’s a 15-week course on the glory of God and the biblical mandate for and history of worldwide missions – and it is fascinating & convicting!
(Really awesome activity: Search the phrases “all the peoples”, “all the families”, and “all nations” [in the NKJV. It might vary slightly in other translations] at a site like BibleGateway and you’ll find that God has the whole world on His mind and heart from the beginning, threaded all the way through the Bible. He’s serious about His glory being made known, and people from everywhere worshiping Him forever. Those should be our passions, too.)

2) Pray for missionaries, and…

3) Pray for people groups, countries, and governments!
Pray with your children, and let them pray as they are led, too. If you need some direction on how to or who to pray for, contact your church leadership (if your church supports any missionaries) or get books like Operation World and Window on the World to focus your prayers. Also, at your discretion, let your children know about major world events and leaders, so that they can pray more effectively. If you see their prayers answered in the news, tell them and keep a written record. We’re not told to pray just because it’s good for us – we are told to pray because God works when we do!

My 7 year old made this Croatian flag to remind her to pray
for the people of Croatia, and for our summer missionary
who is headed there in August.

Another opportunity: if your children can write or dictate letters or emails to the missionaries or government officials they are praying for, let them! It’s probably a huge encouragement to missionaries to hear that they’re remembered back home, and it’s probably nice for leaders to receive mail that asks for nothing but lets them know they are being prayed for.

4) Model missions giving or going.
Do you include giving to missionaries in your budget? If so, let your kids see that. If not, why not? If reaching the world for Jesus is a priority for your heart, it should probably be a priority for your budget if at all possible – and if it really can’t be (we’ve been there!), then spend your time instead: volunteering/going on a short term trip with one or more of your children/just striking up conversations with those closest to you about the Lord are some ways that you can be investing in missions yourself. And if God has clearly asked you to go somewhere for Him: GO. Don’t think you can slide by with just giving money to the cause and staying put, like He will overlook your disobedience. If He calls you, follow His lead. Children are notorious for following what they see being modeled in their lives!

5) Let them help – let them lead.
Our church is sending out seven short-term missionaries this summer. When my daughters heard this, they asked if they could raise money for all of them. We added up the amount that is needed to raise, decided that yes! God is capable of providing every last dollar!, and then I let them brainstorm a list of ways to raise money. I did not rule anything out (although we did chat about the feasibility of some of the ideas and how to improve on them: ‘let’s put all of our toys out on display in our bedroom and lots of people can come into our room and shop, like a store!’) – and then they each picked a project.

A few of the fabrics A picked out for the dolly skirts!
Right now, I am cutting up fabric for 18″ dolly skirts that Abby will help me sew together and Elizabeth is planning to make a series of greeting cards & prints. I am doing whatever I can to help as needed (as in, I run a sewing machine much more effectively than the girls do!), but they know they are responsible for seeing this through and thinking through the advertising and the budget for materials. Whether they contribute $5.00 or $500…I am praying that God will show me how to encourage them to make a difference where they are.

6) Study the lives of faithful missionaries with your children.
From the Old Testament, up through today. And don’t forget (with discretion) looking at the lives of those in the persecuted church…the ones who are risking their very lives for the sake of God’s glory being known in a way that we cannot fully comprehend. (Check out the Voice of the Martyrs for more information)

Some amazing books about missionaries:
(for younger listeners & readers)
I Heard Good News Today by Cornelia Lehn <—far and away, my favorite so far
Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred Martin
The Christian Heroes Then & Now series (by Geoff & Janet Benge)
Hero Tales by Dave & Neta Jackson
And the Word Came With Power by Joanne Shetler

(for older readers – high school & up)
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
Bruchko by Bruce Olson
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green
Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
Susanna Wesley by Charles Ludwig {Susanna was not a missionary per se, but her faithfulness to raise her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord gave the world both Charles and John Wesley, whom God used mightily. There are plenty of other faithful mothers you could look up, as well! Being missions-minded doesn’t mean you have to go overseas; it means you need to be faithful to point people to Him no matter where you are.}

7) Live perfected in Christ.
Not “live perfectly in Christ”, but perfected. You are complete in Him, with everything that you need pertaining to life and godliness; thoroughly equipped for every good work; and He is continually working in you and has prepared good works for you to walk in. When you live perfected, your life will exude grace and deep joy (whether in calm or stormy seasons) and it will be a reflection of His glory and goodness and it will be infectious in your home – and your children will take that and spread it wherever God leads them.

Is there any guarantee that you or your children will want to be overseas missionaries to unreached peoples if you do all of this? Not necessarily. But it does mean that you will be giving them a chance to find out which kind of gospel work God has for them: whether here, or in a far-off land – because God invites each of His children to partner with Him in taking the Gospel everywhere for His glory!

May it all before His glory!

 ©2014. Reprinted with permission from the ‘Blish.

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