Children’s Missions Day gives kids the chance to be actively involved in ministry work in variety of ways
By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Although the service projects that were performed across Tennessee this year on Children’s Missions Day were wide-ranging and extensive, the main goal of the projects was precise and singular: Sharing the love of Christ.
Designed and developed by WMU in 2008, Children’s Missions Day provides children, grades first through sixth, with opportunities to become actively involved in mission work in their own communities.
Hundreds of children in Tennessee participated in the annual event and gained “hands-on” experience of what ministry and missions are all about.
“I love that boys and girls are following God’s command to put their love into action (1 John 3:18) as they create projects to reach out to their communities,” said Vickie Anderson, executive director-treasurer for Tennessee WMU. “It is exciting to know that children in Tennessee are joining thousands of others across North America to meet needs and impact lives.”
The primary purpose of Children’s Missions Day is to enable children to “get out of their churches and into their communities” to do missions, Anderson noted.
In many cases, the children who participate in the ministry enjoy the acts of service just as much as the recipients, said Yolanda Heuser, leader of Girls in Action at Lantana Road Baptist Church, Crossville.
“If you’ve ever experienced that unbridled love that comes from a pure heart of a child when they get to help or serve someone — it is truly breathtaking,” said Heuser. “It makes my heart smile.”
Lantana Road was among the many churches who participated in the event. The church hosted a “free food give-away” that was sponsored by the Lantana Road Baptist GAs. Members of the community were able to come by the church and pick up baskets of food on the morning of Feb. 1.
Having the church’s children participate in the Bread Basket ministry — and many of the other service projects at the church throughout the year — helps the children develop a clearer understanding of the Biblical principle of putting others first, Heuser said. It also demonstrates the importance of sharing the gospel, she said.
“I do not believe age should be a deterrent to fulfilling (the Great Commission) commandment,” she said. “When we study, talk about and do missions with children, it leaves a lasting impact. We have all heard that children are like sponges. If that is true, then doing and participating in missions will become a part of who they are.”
From one end of the state to the other, children have been introduced to mission and ministry work.
At East Athens Baptist Church, Athens, children collected gift cards to support the BCM Bible study group at Tennessee Wesleyan. At New Blackwell Baptist Church, Rutledge, children made items to take to the residents at the local nursing home. At First Baptist, Whitwell, children help prepare dinner for senior adults. At Calvary Baptist, Rutledge, children participated in the Birthday Box Project, making birthday kits that included the gospel message and all kinds of other items.
These were just a few examples of ways that churches were involved in the Children’s Missions Day, and Anderson believes the event will continue to make a big impact as new ideas emerge.
“Leaders are finding creative and fun ways to engage children in a variety of missions projects that they can participate in from beginning to end — collecting, making, assembling, transporting, sharing and loving,” Anderson said. “I have already heard stories and have seen social media posts of Tennessee groups doing community food basket giveaways, visiting nursing homes, serving senior adults in the community, giving away birthday party kit boxes, collecting snack bags for foster families, and delivering candy, cookies and other treats to local police and fire stations.”
At Lantana Road Baptist, the children participate in ministries throughout the year, including sponsoring block parties that include Gospel-related activities; working and taking food to the Storehouse Ministry and the Appalachian Outreach in Jefferson City; annually serving meals at the homeless shelter, visiting a local assisted living facility and collecting food for a homeless shelter.
The children are also involved in the church’s Lottie Moon Auction — a ministry that includes collecting items from the church family and then auctioning the items, with all of the proceeds going to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This past year, the auction raised over $5,000.
The children are also active in a Bike-A-Thon that raises money for the Annie Armstrong offering, and many other ministries.
Heuser said all of these events and projects, including Children’s Missions Day, serve the purpose of helping the children understand the importance of spreading the gospel.
“When you have the love of Jesus, you want to share it with others — and what better way to say Jesus loves you than to be His hands, His feet, His eyes, and His voice?” She said. “Meeting a physical need gives you the opportunity to meet their spiritual need by introducing them to Jesus.”
“We teach God’s Word to children, we tell them about His love, His saving grace,” she added. “So, why would we not teach them His commandment to go (and) share the greatest gift ever? It’s a gift that some of the children have already received, so why would we not teach missions?”