You Never Sit Still in Church!
Growing up as an “airforce brat”, I’ve easily attended 20 or more churches in my lifetime. Whether it was an ecumenical service hosted by the base chaplain in Virginia, the Southern Baptist Church in deep south Alabama, or worshipping with those Yankees in Pennsylvania, I realized God’s people and their common fellowship and worship are “The Church.” From a young age, I experienced God through His people and knew His movement was not relegated inside the walls of any building on Sunday mornings.
My parents modeled for me that God’s love is living and active. Church wasn’t for sitting still and being quiet, warming a bench while thinking of other more fun things to do. Church meant participation, action, engagement – on Sunday mornings and every other day of the week. Because Jesus came to serve, we as Christians also serve. Whenever or wherever there is need, there is an opportunity to know God and be used by God in a new way. Whether it was buying shoes for the “poor kid” on our bus, making chili to fundraise for a mission trip, or sponsoring a missionary, I realized that loving God also meant loving those God put in my path.
Those early seeds have grown into a passionate heart to teach my own children about love in action, true worship, and the bigger idea of “church”. At Friends in Action, Intl. (FIA), there is a place for everyone and anyone to participate in Jesus’ Great Commission! From 2 to 102, there’s always a way you can partner with us to reach the ends of the earth with God’s never-stopping, never-too-short, never-giving up love! Here are some easy ways to invite your children to be a part of global service.
1. Tell them the stories about God’s work and the needs in the world.
FIA mails update letters each month, with our Challenge newsletter each quarter. The publications are full of pictures and detail the needs and praises from cultures and peoples in very remote parts of the globe. My 6-year-old saw a picture of another child pulling water from a dirty puddle from our Facebook post on West Africa. “But that’s not for real, right?” At some level, she just couldn’t fathom that this is the daily existence for some children around the world. She was full of questions about their distended bellies, what kind of houses they lived in, and if they had any toys. These are the teachable moments that grow compassion and build a heart to serve and love others.
2. Teach them their importance.
So many times all of us wait—wait until a perfect someday comes when all the conditions are right and ripe to be involved. We need to remind ourselves, and our children, that right now is a great time to do, maybe not everything, but a little something. Because lots of little somethings lead to great things! Tell them of their importance. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12. As a young Christian or an old one, we all have the Holy Spirit inside to guide and empower us to live Christ’s love out to others. They are equipped right where they are to know and make God known even in little ways. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has plans for them now. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” Let them know that their compassion, concern, and prayers make a huge difference in others’ lives.
3. Say Yes!
If they ask to sell lemonade or their artwork to help build a hurricane-resistant home for the Rama Cay. When they want to give part of their allowance, no matter how meager, to drill a well in Africa. If they ask to send a digital forehead thermometer to Bolivia. Because they want to write a letter to a missionary kid telling them they are praying. (Choose a missionary from our Staff section to email!) When they want to take a family short-term trip to Nicaragua. Please say “yes,” and then ensure their idea comes to fruition. Please feel free to email us at FIA, if we can help with your child’s idea. We’d love to partner with them!
4. Model praying as important as doing.
Here at FIA, we often remind ourselves, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1. Prayer is action and is a tangible way of serving and loving others. Help them remember to pray for those who don’t know Jesus yet – in their own neighborhoods and in the remote areas where FIA serves. Ask God to meet the spiritual and physical needs of other children and people groups who are less fortunate than we are. Pray that the Lord would strengthen and give wisdom to the missionaries and work teams that are ministering to the people onsite. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your family’s heart about ways He would like you to be involved. For more specific ideas of how to pray, please check out the “Pray” section of our site.
No matter our age, when faced with the world’s depravity and needs, it’s empowering to know that there is something we can do about it. Equipping our children with God’s Word about themselves and their place in the world, while modeling active faith, will help them take part in the Great Commission. Let Friends In Action partner with you to reach your children and the world for Christ!