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DEVELOPING A LOVE OF MISSIONS AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE

 While many people believe God somehow miraculously calls missionaries from out of the blue, it is closer to reality to understand that missionaries are nurtured and then they are better able to hear God calling them. 

So how do you develop a mindset for missions and a love of missions among young people so they will hear God¡¯s call and respond? 

First, help young people get to know missionaries.  Families and churches can do this by inviting missionaries to come to their churches to speak.  Families can invite missionaries to their home after they speak in church.  You can have the missionary and his or her family over to eat a meal or have dessert after a church service.  You can talk to them about their mission experience and listen to how God has worked in their life.  Family members can hear about how God has been faithful in every situation the missionary has faced.  

 

 

 

 

Next is hands-on involvement.  Kids need to see their mom and dad and others involved in various ministries and missions.  You, as a parent, should take your kids to a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter and/or a home for the indigent elderly.  Take them (and some small treats) to visit a shut-in and while you are there mow their lawn, take out the trash, or perform some other helpful tasks for the shut-in.  Your children will come to see that service to others is perfectly natural. 

Many times parents try to protect their young people from the big bad world.  While this is good to some extent, another way of protecting them is to help them get into the world as a missionary¡ªas a witness.  Getting into the world does not mean that you embrace it, but it does mean that you help your young people see the problems in the world and how Jesus can meet them.  When young people see you presenting the Gospel to lost people and presenting Jesus as the answer, then they will see how Jesus changes the world around them and they will want to be a part of what you are doing by getting involved in missions.

In addition, be committed.  As you do your mission projects, make sure you are in it for the long haul.  Sometimes a youth group or a family will go do something only once or twice.  This is tokenism and it does not work.  It¡¯s ministry over the long haul (six months, eight months, a year), going every week to the same place, that cultivates commitment.  Commitment is greatly needed in today¡¯s world, whether it is commitment in marriage, to your church, to school, to study, to a career, or to missions. 

Prayer is most important.  Teach your kids the place of prayer and Bible study in missions.  We talk about obedience; we talk about trusting God.  But your children will never trust God until they understand that God is the Supreme Commander of the universe.  He is all there is and when He asks us to do something, there is no option. 

Prayer and Bible study also help you to understand that God can be trusted.  Biblical illiteracy is rampant among adults and young people today.  People must be taught the truths that are in the Bible. They will never learn that God will meet their every need unless they know He has made such a promise (Proverbs 3:5-6, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19).  When they know He has promised that, and they know He is God, then they can trust Him.  And trust leads to obedience.

Finally - take your youth on a mission trip.  Go for a few days or for a few weeks.  Sometimes families go together and other times you might go with a larger group from your church or with an organization such as Sports & Rec Plus.  Such mission trips not only get you out of your comfort zone, but they also allow you to see missionaries at work and see how God is using them and meeting their needs.  You will also experience and witness first-hand the excitement of having God call, send, and use you and those with you in missions.

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