Children in missions – get them involved now
By Pastor Ray Mensah
The 25-year-old who had attended one of our missions training programmes queried, “how come I have never heard these things even though I have been in church all my life?” She was concerned that she had never learnt about unreached peoples and the remaining task of world evangelization in church or at her campus ministry.
Her solution was that missions should be taught right from Sunday school. She said had she been exposed as a kid, it would have changed the course of her life. This young lady’s case is not isolated. Millions of Christians have still not been involved in the greatest cause on earth: the Great Commission.
Her antidote captured my attention—that the millions of kids in our children’s ministries should be taught about the Great Commission and actively involved in missions.
Once again, I’m excited about the theme for this issue of AfriGO. I am a big advocate for mobilizing everyone for missions—children, youth, men, and women. Only a few churches around the globe have been able to do this; many churches do not involve children in missions.
Our Lord Jesus lamented that “the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” (Matt. 9:37). Surely there would be more labourers if we intentionally activated and trained children in our churches for missions. I have personally met and heard of several children in the United States who wanted to be missionaries in Africa or Asia. They had been activated in church when they were young through missionary visits, biographies, and teachings about the needs of the nations and the unreached.
I recently heard about an eight-year-old girl who led an eighty-year-old woman to Christ. That got me very excited, and I have been sharing that testimony to challenge pastors and leaders to include children in missions.
My dear wife Cynthia recently attended a workshop on discipling children, organized by World Vision. They were made to fill out a survey and one of the questions was about parents taking their kids for evangelism. Almost all the parents were convicted because they hardly did this.
As Christian parents, we fail our children by not discipling them for the greatest cause on earth. The scripture teaches, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). We must endeavour to obey this scripture in all areas, including activating our kids for missions.
All areas of adult mission involvement apply to kids too.
- PRAY: I have seen kids pray passionately for the unreached even more than adults do. At home we have a framed world map, and during our family devotions, we and our kids pray for three nations each.
- GIVE: Children tend to be very selfless and generous with missions giving. My son came back from boarding school with funds to donate towards missions. He had saved part of his pocket money. A missionary friend recounted how the children at his home church in Canada sold cupcakes and other baked goods to raise funds to buy a vehicle for his missionary work.
- GO: Kids can be discipled to share the gospel in their schools and communities, as well as cross-culturally. They can go on short-term missions like adults do. My wife and I take our kids on family mission trips, and it has greatly impacted their lives.
I feel that if we don’t intentionally disciple our children in the area of missions, we will lose a generation.
I challenge parents, pastors, Sunday school and Christian teachers to rise to the task of raising mission-minded kids to take over the missions mandate from us. Let’s get our children fully involved in missions NOW!
Ray Mensa Mensah is the Executive Director of OneWay Africa and also serves as President of the Ghana Evangelical Missions Association (GEMA). He is passionate about the total mobilization of churches for missions where every member is involved in the Great Commission. firstname.lastname@example.org