World Mission for Sunday Schools
Two church members in Suffolk have been trialling their new young-people’s world mission course at an FIEC church.
While we’re blessed in the UK with plenty of good Sunday school material, my friend, Ruth MacBean, and I have felt there was little available to inspire and challenge children to be involved in world mission.
Ruth, who is based at our partner church, Great Blakenham Baptist, recently spent three years as an overseas missionary in Malawi, and I worked for many years with Serving In Mission in Africa.
So, with our experience and our zest to get young people, their families and their churches excited and engaged in God’s mission, we decided to work together to produce a new resource.
The result was mission & me? - a six-lesson course aimed primarily at Sunday School children.
Over the summer, we road tested mission & me? with a Sunday School class of ten enthusiastic 8 to 13-year-olds.
We started by asking ‘what is mission?’, and looked at Bible verses and the case study of Carrie, who has worked for 30 years in Bible translation on a remote island, in order to find the answer.
For each of the six weeks, we looked at different aspects of mission from a biblical perspective and using modern day examples.
When considering how mission involves a whole church working as a team, we learnt about two families that Mickfield Church supports in Peru and India.
When looking at ‘doing mission in dangerous places’, we asked Marius, a man in our church, to tell us how, as a young boy, he was involved in Bible-smuggling in his home country of Romania!
Salt and light
Thinking of mission in the UK, we used the example of Daniel and Grace at the FIEC-recognised church plant on the Earlesfield estate in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
The children learnt that the couple had heard God calling them to leave their comfortable rural home to live on that estate and be ‘salt and light’ for Jesus. We also had a talk from a volunteer with our local Town Pastors.
Our aim, through producing and running the course, was to challenge the children to start engaging with world mission while they are young, rather than waiting until they are adults.
Ruth and I explained to them that they don’t have to wait in order to witness to their friends, or give a little of their pocket money to help God’s work in other places.
As well as reading missionary stories, and praying for missionaries, we encouraged them to start praying that God would work in their own lives and make them ready and receptive to whatever he called them to do when they are older.
Eight-year-old George was initially unsure about doing something different, but after the first week he was enthusiastic and keen to take part in all the challenges. It gave him a wider perspective on the world and the need for everyone to hear about Jesus.
Elsie (9) told us that the hardest challenge for her was making a poster about the most persecuted countries in the world. It made her so sad to hear about what was happening to other Christians.
One of the dads commented that he recognised from week one that something was different: “We had a task to do! mission & me? literally brought mission work to the heart of my family – and it has stayed there.”
Seeing families joining in with our weekly challenges and the whole church supporting us in prayer encouraged us greatly along the way. We could see that the course was raising awareness of mission throughout the church!
Having made some tweaks to the course as the result of the summer trial, we are now keen to share it with other churches.
The mission & me? pack includes all the guidance and resources needed for churches to run the course themselves. There are craft ideas, PowerPoint presentations, songs and a large world map. There are also weekly take-home activity sheets and challenges to reinforce children’s learning and provide opportunities for the whole family to get involved.
Together, let’s get our young people, their families and their churches excited and engage in God’s mission!
Copies of the pack, which cost £10 each, plus £1.50 postage and packing, can be ordered on the Mission & Me website.
You will likely only need one copy as lesson guides can be easily given to different people and the pack includes a USB drive of printable resources.