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It has been said that Christianity is only one generation away from extinction.
It would be so easy to leave the responsibility of spiritual training at the door of the Sunday school teacher or youth pastor, but the truth is that if we are going to raise up a generation of world changers, we have to aim higher than simply raising obedient and respectful citizens. The responsibility rests on our shoulders as keepers of our home to go the distance in building in our children a missional mindset that will not let them rest until they have heeded Jesus’ call to go into all of the world.
Here are 5 ways to build a missional mindset in our children:
Read stories of past missionary heroes. Amy Carmichael, Hudson, Taylor, Adironam Judson, Mary Slessor, Gladys Aylward. Their stories are filled with adventure, and will inspire your young children from a young age to seek for more than career with a good salary and benefits. It will challenge them heed a call to lay up treasures in heaven.
Adopt a missionary. Sponsor a missionary, put their picture on your fridge and pray for them daily. Write letters and ask questions and send birthday and Christmas cards. Make them one of them family. Not only will this help your children connect with one of today’s missionaries, it will bless the missionary, too. Many missionaries feel forgotten and so far from home. Having someone on the home front (who isn’t their mom) who sends cards, letters and candy bars they can’t get where they live will mean so much!
Sponsor a child. Connect with World Vision or another child sponsor program to adopt a child. Remind your children that this is a command of Jesus and that when we feed and clothe those in need; we are feeding and clothing Jesus, too! Introduce the child you are sponsoring to them and hang his picture on your fridge so they can connect with him on a more personal level. Talk about the country they live in, find it on a map and then pray for the child every day.
Get involved in local missions. Volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen, collect toys for a Christmas toy drive, or pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. As you work together, share with your children about the how the work you are doing not only provides for the physical needs of those you are helping, but also for their spiritual needs. Pray together for the work you are doing as a family and for the people you will be ministering to.
Make a mission wall. Purchase a map of the nation your missionary serves in, gather pictures, statistical data and other interesting information about their country and make a mission wall in your home to help you remain connected to the work they are doing.
As I have talked with fellow missionaries, one thing has stood out in our conversations: they feel that general interest in missions is waning. Perhaps it is because of the economic struggles many are facing, so in their struggle to just survive they have let their interest in missions slip to the back burner. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain – we can’t afford to let the idea of missions – whether local missions or world missions – fall by the wayside. We must pass on the importance of Jesus’ command to the next generation!
Reprinted with permission from Missional Women. Rosilind Jukic is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys 3 and under who are as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn't writing, she is dreaming up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. You can find her at A Little R & R where she writes about missions, marriage and family, toddler activities, and her recipes.