Crabgrass is about to take over my yard. It’s my own fault. A few years ago we decided to discontinue the lawn service that sprayed our yard for weeds. We thought that we could purchase the needed products and do it ourselves for less money.
As things went, we sprayed a few times, but never with the consistency of the lawn service. This year, we never sprayed at all. And now we have crabgrass everywhere, choking out the grass that we want to grow. Realizing the error of our ways, I’ve been researching weed sprays and learned why the lawn service sprayed when they did, with a different mix of products according to the time in the growing cycle. Now our dilemma is what to do. Do we go back to the lawn service, try again on our own, or give up.
Many churches have allowed the crabgrass of missions ignorance to take over. They decided that missions education was not needed or that they could do it themselves. What has happened over time is that people in their churches have little understanding of the Cooperative Program, the finest support system for missions in the world. People in their churches have little appreciation for how Southern Baptist appoint and support missionaries through a multifaceted system that depends on both the Cooperative Program and missions offerings.
A lady called me this week to offer to give to Kentucky WMU all of the unused Royal Ambassador and Girls in Action material from her church. I shared with her how concerned I was about the decision of her church at the very time that Kentucky WMU is starting a new effort to promote missions education for boys (and girls!). While it seems that others had made this decision, she acknowledged that the kids in church had no clue about missions. She told me that she teaches children’s church and from time to time includes missions lessons. She said that the kids just do not know about missions and that we have missionaries sharing the gospel around the world. But the real tragedy in our conversation was this statement: “We can’t find leaders. No one will teach the children.”
Why are churches apathetic about our children? Are we too busy? Too preoccupied with our own “spiritual growth” to be bothered with teaching kids? Are we looking for some flashy program that will magically instill biblical, moral and missional values in our kids, and do it in one hour a week?
Like my decision to stop paying for a lawn service to spray my yard, I did not notice the difference at first. But now, after several summers, my yard is a mess and I am sadly going to have to start over in getting rid of the weeds. When churches change to other programs or just drop programming for our kids (since “programs” somehow has become a term that is out of favor these days), we may not see the missions ignorance crabgrass right away, but it will come.
A past president of the KBC, in talking to me about the lack of missions understanding in our churches today, said of his own church, “We made a mistake.” His church is among those who chose to other programming over missions education. He is not the only pastor, youth leader, or minister of education who is coming to the realization that their churches made a huge mistake in stopping missions education and are finding that they need to start over.
Kentucky WMU is ready to help churches start again with missions groups for preschoolers, children, and youth. We are ready to help you instill a heart for a lost world in your children and youth and teach them to appreciate why missions is a priority for Southern Baptists. WMU produces gender specific and coed materials that are designed to engage participants in activities that teach and provide hands-on missions opportunities. We can provide samples of materials and would be happy to meet with churches that are ready to start over.
“Somebody should do it, but not me” is heard far too often. Yet when our kids leave the church, are self-absorbed, know little about what makes Southern Baptists distinctive or why we send missionaries, we wonder what happened.
Don’t let missions ignorance take over in your congregation. Start or strengthen missions education and involvement. People who know why and how we as Southern Baptists do missions want to pray, give, and go.