Did you know 85% of kids who grow up in church walk away from God when they get to college? That's crazy! From what I've experienced working with college students, I believe one of the reasons is because these kids didn't have an intimate relationship with the Lord in the first place. They went to church, youth group and/or awana, but they didn't have an "I know you Jesus, we do life together, remember that one time You came through for me" relationship with the Lord.
Being a mom of a 1 month, 2, 4 and 5 year old I know when my kids get older I can not control what they will do with their life. I can't make them walk with the Lord. I can't make them live on mission. But now, during these formative years I can model a walking, intimate relationship with the Lord. And I can help them store up experiences of depending on the Lord; opportunities for them to get to see Him use them. And I can deposit helpful, encouraging and challenging information in their minds, pray the Holy Spirit helps them understand it in their heart and gives them opportunities to work it out with their hands. Here are a 8 tools helping me do that.
8 Tools for Raising Missional Kids
1. The Mission-Minded Child. I first heard of Ann Dunagan through PassionateHomemaking.com. She is a lady with a big heart for the mission and seeing how to not have a one or the other-ministry or family mentality when it comes to the Great Commission. Check out her website and books.
2. Songs for Saplings. I LOVE these little CD's which are designed to help teach kids about God. My favorites are the Questions and Answers CD's which go through the Westminster catechism making a song of each of the question. Questions like, "Who made God?" "What does God require of me?" Getting these profound truths into little minds sets a foundation for their future ministry. Check them out.
3. Kids Around the World Prayer Cards. These picture prayer cards look at the lives of kids in 22 different cultures. They give you everything you need to paint tribal art, make and Indian snack, teach you how to say hello in their language and share what they believe and a prayer request. Check them out.
4. World Vision Giving Catalog. Something that has motivated our boys to do chores is looking through the world vision catalog and talking about what it would mean for kids in poor countries to have chickens or a goat and so on. Then we let them pick and animal they would like to give a kid in another country. We tell them we'll give them a quarter for every job around the house they do to go toward buying the animal. After they do a job we put a sticker on a piece of paper with their names on it (with a picture of the animal they want to get to remind them). After they make enough money to buy the animal they get to help address the envelop and send the money to buy the animals. Here's the world vision catalog.
5. High Seas Vacation Bible School DVD. This one is a little random (since it was the theme of VBS a couple years ago) but it has impacted our kids by igniting a heart for adventuring across the world to go and tell people about Jesus. Here's the DVD of songs.
6. Missional Family Activities. Things are better caught than they are taught. Therefore when your kids see you get out of your comfort zone to serve, use your gifts and initiate spiritual conversations it becomes something they see as important and take on as a personal value.
Here are some websites with great ideas of what you guys can do together.
7. Give tracts. I'm really not a big tract person but as I've seen my boys get a desire for people to know Jesus because my husband has given tracts, I'm more excited about them. My 4 year old now adamantly tells me to give a tract to the people at drive up windows and parking attendants. My 5 year old (by his own initiative) gets one from our tract bucket every time we get pizza to give the pizza guy. I love how this is something simple they can do that allows them to be storing up treasure in heaven at a young age.
Here's some tracts we use:
Connecting with God
Knowing God Personally
8. Pray for their friends and family with them. When we pray and get to see how God answered our prayers it inspires us to pray and trust God more. We recently put up a dry erase board in our dining room (that matches the other frames). We write prayer requests on the board and pray for them at meals. This helps the kids remember who we are praying for and we get to cross things off the board and write up new ones when they are answered.
I hope these 8 tools for raising missional kids has encouraged you and sparked even more ideas. What other things have you found that help kids get a heart to live on mission?
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Staff Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks 10-20 times a year. Laura is an award winning author of a 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, recently released Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest and youtube.
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