The recent International Mission Board Missionary Appointment Service held in Louisville was a reminder of the importance of missions education and various missions experiences in preparing missionaries to say “yes!” to God’s call on their lives. Even in the short statements each missionary was able to give about his or her calling, the importance of formative experiences was evident.
For some, the calling to missions began as children in missions groups like Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. Hands on missions contributed to an understanding of what it means to serve others. Mission trips and short-term service helped a number of the new appointees to grasp what it means “to be radically involved in the mission of God.”
To connect these experiences in the lives of each appointee is like a “connect the dots” activity where a picture emerges as one draws a line from dot to dot. The importance of each dot cannot be underestimated in creating the finished picture.
So it is with missions education. Missions education that is done well includes many missions experiences of learning, doing, praying, giving, and going. Each learning experience lays a foundation of understanding. Each hands on service opportunity is a window to the work of God. Each mission trip expands the horizons. Praying for the lost and for missionaries creates a heart of compassion. Sacrificial missions giving puts the priorities of God on material possessions.
What if we miss adding dots to the picture? What if we are too busy to teach children about God’s mission around the world? What if we cannot be bothered to chaperone teenagers on a mission trip or Kentucky Changers? What if we fail to teach our students to pray? What if we skip teaching Biblical stewardship of time, money, and personality? What if we fail to equip our children and youth to witness?
Without the dots, there is no picture.
At SALT (State Association Leadership Training) last Saturday, I distributed a dot-to-dot picture and talked about missions dots that WMU provides such as:
- Teaching preschoolers about God
- Teaching preschoolers and children to pray
- Teaching about sin and the importance of Jesus death on the cross for our sins
- Teaching about the resurrection
- Teaching the plan of salvation
- Teaching kids (and adults) to share their faith
- Introducing children to other cultures and people
- Understanding lostness
- Understanding why and how we send missionaries
- Hands on missions experiences locally
- Missions projects
- Mission trips
- Meeting missionaries
- Praying for missionaries
- Giving to missions
- Skype with a missionary
We must also remember that these dots do not just happen. We must be intentional. In the same way, WMU growth does not just happen. We must be intentional as we:
Discover potential new members
Spotlight entry points to missions
The Eliza Broadus Offering makes dots, too. EBO will provide dots of missions experiences all summer through Kentucky Changers, Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, GA and Mother/Daughter Overnights, Camp Courage, and Creative Ministries Festival 2.0. Perhaps one day we will hear a new missionary appointee cite one of these dots that you have provided through praying and giving for state missions.