“…And Christ’s great kingdom shall come to earth, the kingdom of love and light.”
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations is a hymn I grew up on. We sang it in our church multiple times over the course of our World Missions Conference each year.
I’m blessed to have been raised in a church that took seriously its responsibility to “the Great Commission,” a label we give to these words Jesus spoke.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
These were among Jesus’ last earthly words to His followers. Presumably, it’s one of the primary reasons Christ-followers are still on earth. After all, Jesus could sweep us into heaven the moment we’re saved.
But He doesn’t.
Because He has given us work to do.
Important work that’s weighty and significant.
It matters, for now and for eternity.
Unfortunately, many local churches don’t make world missions a major thrust.
I recently came across some interesting stats, one of which is that “the Church has roughly 3,000 times the financial resources and 9,000 times the manpower needed to finish the Great Commission.”
And yet, here we are, with almost 42% of the world’s population still classified as unreached.
I was blessed to be instructed in the importance of missions early in my life. Here’s how you can give your kids the same heritage.
How to Raise Kids Who Care About World Missions
1.)Become part of a local church that prioritizes world missions.
I don’t recommend that people leave their Bible-believing, Bible-practicing churches. But if your church doesn’t make world missions a priority, it’s not a Bible-practicing church.
If that’s true of your church, prayerfully consider whether God would have you humbly approach your church leadership about its world missions involvement. The level of participation in world missions will vary from church to church, but every Christ-following church will walk in obedience to the Great Commission in some significant way.
2.)Pray for your church’s missionaries.
Ask your pastor for a list of missionaries supported by your church, and make it a priority to pray for them regularly as a family. If your church doesn’t support missionaries directly, you can find lists of missionaries here and here.
3.)Give toward world mission endeavors.
If your church supports missionaries financially, encourage your children to give to missions through your church regularly and generously. You might consider coming up with some creative ideas to raise money as a family for special missions giving.
If your local church is not involved in world missions support but you desire to teach your children to obey God’s biblical mandate for world missions, you can prayerfully consider giving to these organizations.
4.)Get connected with missionaries.
Again, this is accomplished most easily by participation in a local church that supports missionaries directly. When missionaries return on furlough, take time to interact with them. Invite them to your home for a meal. Arrange a playdate amongst your children.
Some of my richest mothering memories involve our family’s relationships with missionaries. They are real people who will bless and encourage your family, and who will be blessed and encouraged by your family.
5.)Make Operation World regular breakfast reading.
Okay, so it doesn’t have to be over breakfast, though that has proven to be a good time for my family. Operation World is a fantastic resource for missions-minded families, a treasure trove of information about the countries of the world. In it, you’ll find statistics about the country’s major religion, political trends, answers to prayer, prayer requests, and more. I highly recommend using this resource daily, either in website or in book form.
6.)Sponsor a child.
We have had a wonderful experience supporting children through Compassion International, but there are other ministries doing similar work.
I would encourage you to make sure that the organization you choose emphasizes the gospel. As important as it is to meet the physical needs of children, it’s even more critical to meet their greatest need of all – their spiritual need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
7.)Go on a short-term mission trip.
True confession: this is an item that’s still on my bucket list. I’d love to go on a missions trip someday, but I haven’t yet done so. Virtually every person I know who has taken a trip like this comes back radically changed and more devoted than ever to the cause of world missions. There’s a particular family in our church who has taken several missions trips together, and I can’t think of better family memories to create.
8.)Read missionary biographies.
We gain so much insight from inspiring accounts of men and women who have devoted their lives to serving God as missionaries. Whether you use missionary biographies as family read-alouds or encourage your older children to read them independently, time spent delving into the life experiences of missionaries is time well-spent.
I hope you’ll make some of these suggestions part of your family’s routine!
Let’s commit to raising children who are sensitive to the needs of the world, and who labor to spread God’s glory to the ends of the earth He loves so dearly.