What is a missionary? Where do they live? What are they doing in a different country? Are their kids like me? Why do we need to pray for missionaries?
Can the children in your Sunday school classes answer these questions?
For many children, it is hard to understand the world outside their city, let alone in a different country. As teachers and parents, we have the opportunity to instill a passion in our children to spread the Gospel to others in their everyday life and to over 1200 unreached people groups around the world. As the church, we have the honor of sending and supporting missionaries along with their children.
One way to combine these goals of educating the children in our church and supporting our missionary families is to adopt missionary kids into the classroom to get to know them, learn more about their family’s ministry and consistently support them in prayer.
To start with, find out which missionary families your church supports and what grades their children are in.
- If you are in a larger church with multiple missionary kids in each grade, assign one or two to each small group. This helps the students in your class build deeper relationships with the missionary kids and focus their prayers.
- If you only have a few missionary kids, you could pray for each child as a class.
- If there are no missionary kids in your grade, consider adopting a missionary without children who could use some extra encouragement. Or, choose an unreached people group or country to focus learning about and praying for.
It can be helpful to choose a team member in your class to champion this project and be the main communicator with the missionary families. Have them contact the missionaries to welcome the missionary kids into your class and begin getting to know the families. Be sure to sign up for their regular prayer letters or email updates so you have the latest information on how to support the families.
Prayer is one of the easiest and most important ways to support missionary families. Some general prayers that all missionaries need include: for the Gospel to be spread through their ministry, that they will be protected from the attacks of Satan, for protection in travels and everyday life in a different country, peace within their family, a good school and friends for their children, guidance in countless decisions, and unwavering faith.
Here are a few ways for your class remember to pray for your missionary kids:
- Hang up a map or bulletin board in your classroom with pictures of each of the missionary families in your classroom and show the country or general area they live in.
- Put a picture of the missionary kid each small group is praying for on the lid of their small group supply box to help remind them to pray each week during small group time.
- Set aside time as a whole class once a month to spend a few minutes in prayer for all of the missionary kids.
- Make bookmarks or cards with the missionary kid’s photo and specific prayer requests for children in your class to take home and put in their Bible or on their refrigerator so they can pray for the missionaries with their family during the week and over the summer.
Read Part 2 of this post for some practical tips on how you can teach your class more about missions and simple ideas for connecting with your missionary kids.
Please remember to be sensitive to the political situation of each country your missionary families are in as you write or talk about them. To protect the safety of many missionaries, you may need to be very careful with certain terminology, names and locations. Please double check your missionary’s specific guidelines by talking with your church’s missions department or the missionary's sending agency.