Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacation Bible School as Missions

I have the privilege of going to an awesomely missional church. A friend pointed out recently that our church doesn't treat Vacation Bible School as just another project to be completed each summer. They truly see it as a mission to reach children and families in our community and in our church.

There are several ways they do this, but the main way they do it is by having people work who truly care about the kids who walk into our church every morning for Worship Rally (which is the opening session with songs, memory verse work, and a missions offering). Then, everything that is planned for the week, from decorations and lessons, all the way down to recreation time and snacks, is meant to show the kids the love of Jesus.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who carry the Gospel." Romans 10:15

Actual VBS worker's feet :)

As a mom who is also serving at VBS (with the middle school students this year, so fun!), my preschooler and toddler get to go. (Kids typically have to be going into kindergarten to attend.) I'm not sure how other churches do it, but at my church they get an age-appropriate, full-on VBS lesson too! Charlotte (almost 4) has a Bible verse to memorize each day. And even Mary's toddler class has a special music time just like the older kids.
All that being said, VBS is a great way to let other people help you pour the Gospel into the hearts of your children. And let's be honest, sometimes it seems our kids learn better from other people. I've met lots of adults who testify that they were saved because a VBS teacher took the time to talk to them about what it meant to be a follower of Christ.
Missions offering, girls vs boys

VBS doesn't just have to be a duty or obligation. Use it as a chance to teach your children to invite their school friends or the neighborhood kids they have so much fun playing with. Not only can your kid learn more about Jesus, they can start to work out what it means to reach out to friends and neighbors who might not know him. You can also use it as a chance to teach them about giving monetarily to the cause of missions. Every VBS I've ever been involved in collects change from children to support a missions cause. And they make a big deal about letting the kids come and put their loose change in the buckets. It's a real celebration!

And if you have teenagers and your church allows it, let them serve in VBS as helpers. They can serve snacks, help teach the recreation games, or work as assistant teachers. All of these are ways for them to not waste their summer sleeping in and avoiding chores.

Have you been to VBS yet this summer? Are you planning to go? Do you have any funny or poignant VBS memories? Share them in the comments so we can get to know you better.

Photo Credit: KBC VBS

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet the Moms - Kimberley

Basic Info
  • 48 years old
  • Married 29 years to Greg (well, almost on August 7th)
  • SAHM, missionary in Mexico and homeschooling Mom to Lottie (6 1/2 years old) and Emma (also 6 1/2 years old). They are not twins but they are only 6 weeks apart in age. Also Mom to two big kids James (27 years old) and Elisabeth, who is getting married this Christmas! (23 years old)
  • Favorite snack: Diet Mountain Dew
  • Hobbies: Reading, blogging and playing with my little ones
  • Favorite parenting Bible verse: Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you"
I grew up Episcopalian but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus until I was 30 years old. While in China adopting Lottie, God whispered to me that He desired for our family to be missionaries. My husband was a pastor of a small Baptist church in Texas for eight years.  We always thought we would go back to China but He had other plans and we live in Mexico City. Thank goodness because Spanish is much easier to learn than Mandarin!

In the last two years as we have lived away from the states and our family and all of the things that made us feel comfortable, we have had to search deep in our hearts and realize where our joy really comes comes from the Lord. In the past six months we have made an effort to be missional with all of our words and actions. I hope to share some of the things that the little ones and I have been working on and I hope to learn from you also.

What is Mom's Mission Field?

Recently, I was sent an article about how motherhood is a mission field. In it, the author purported that home, where we raise our kids, is 'the headwaters of missions.' And while I had thought about my position in the family as a ministry, I'd kind of compartmentalized it to bedtime Bible stories and singing "church songs" in the car to pass the time. My real ministry was some where else, not in my boring, poorly decorated home.

Then, when I got to this part, I nodded my head in eager agreement.
If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've lamented that if only I didn't have kids, I could be doing so much more for the kingdom. Or the number of times I've considered sending them to the baby sitters so I could go and serve some where. Needless to say, this statement really rang true to me, so I kept reading.

You'll notice at the top of this page, I've shared a quote from Rachel Jankovic, who is the author of the article I was reading. Here it is again, because I believe it bears repeating, plus, I've added the next sentence because it speaks to what I want this blog to accomplish.
At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel.
You see, I believe that what we do with and to and in the lives of our children matters. And it can matter for eternity. But, being completely, honest, I don't always live like I believe that. 
It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.
Ouch! I needed to hear that! While great ministry can happen on Facebook, it is not my primary mission field so long as I have children at home. While laundry needs to be folded and dishes scrubbed, if I do it resenting the people who dirtied the clothes or forgot to load the dishwasher, then I am not treating them as my mission field.

Even though I am not perfect at it, I believe that every mom has her mission field at home. Whether you stay at home with your kids, have a job outside of the home, or work at home, you are called to teach your kids the Gospel.

This blog has been created to encourage you through practical examples and stories of how some moms are doing it right now. I can promise you that our lives aren't perfect. We are all struggling with our own issues in raising missions minded kids. But I can assure you, we will all be honest with you and try to encourage you to raise kids who have a missional world view.

Meet the Moms - Jennifer

Basic Info
  • 34 years old
  • Married 13 years to Bruce
  • SAHM to 2 daughters, Charlotte (almost 4) and Mary (1 1/2)
  • Favorite Snack: Kettle Chips and ice cold Dr. Pepper
  • Hobbies: Reading, sleeping, and Facebook (just being honest here)
  • Favorite Parenting Bible Verse: Children obey your mommy & daddy. Ephesians 6.1 (my own translation)
I first became a Christian through a children's missions program called GAs (Girls In Action). From there, I became very involved with Acteens and the idea of missions has been important to me. I've been on mission to Miami and Panama City Beach in FL, North & South Dakota, as well as Serbia and Eastern Asia. I'm still not quite sure, but when I was a teenager at Acteen Come Together, I felt called to serve in missions. I have no idea if that means I'll be a full-time missionary some day or not. But I know that for right now, God has given me a mission field at home.

My life is not a perfect example of how to raise mission-minded children, but I am trying to teach them to love others without counting the cost. I hope to encourage you and be encouraged by you in this journey that all Christian moms are on.