THUMB Coloring Book

Here’s a great prayer tool to engage your kids in interceding for children around the world who have limited or no access to the gospel.  This coloring book has 25 beautiful line drawings of children, five from each of the THUMB [tribal, Hindu, unreligious (atheist), Muslim, and Buddhist] religious blocs. Each drawing includes the name and location of the featured people group. In the middle of the book is a “Where Are the THUMB Peoples?” map activity. Simple explanations of what each religious bloc believes along with brief prayer requests help children go beyond coloring to praying. Includes ideas for using the coloring pages in a mission festival, intergenerational prayer event, Christian school classroom, and homeschool setting. This coloring book is suggested for ages 5-10, but the drawings have enough detail that older kids who like art would also enjoy it.

Here’s the good news. You can get this book for less than a Starbuck’s latte. The price has been reduced to $1.50 plus shipping and handling.

 

Fabric Map Prayer Activities-Part 2

Here are three more children’s prayer activities you can do using the world fabric map.

Beanbag Toss

Materials: fabric world map, beanbag

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children sit or stand around the map. Choose a child to toss the beanbag onto the map. Read the name of the country where the beanbag lands. Pray for families in that country to come to know Jesus. If the beanbag lands on a body of water, pray for families in a country that borders that body of water. Hand the beanbag to another child and continue in the same way.

 

Light of the World

Materials: fabric world map, flashlight, music CD and CD player

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children take off their shoes and sit in a circle around the map. Turn off most of the lights. Hand the flashlight to a child. When the music begins, the children pass the flashlight around the circle. When the music stops, the child with the flashlight stands and shines the light on one country on the map. Pray for God to prepare the hearts of families in that country to understand who Jesus is. Have the child sit back down in the circle, start the music, and continue in the same way.

 

Missionary Photo Card Prayer

Materials: fabric world map, photo prayer cards of church missionaries

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children sit around the map. Show the photo on the first missionary prayer card and read the names of the people in the family. On the map, locate the country where the missionaries serve. Choose a child to lay the photo card on the map. Pray for the missionaries using some of the prayer categories suggested below. Continue in the same way with the remaining prayer cards.

 

health                       new friends

provision                   encouragement

safety                        time with God

wisdom                     adjust to culture

learn language          many people come to know God

Fabric Map Prayer Activities-Part 1

Need a world map to use for your children’s mission activities? This colorful fabric map is light, portable, and will do the trick in most cases.  It’s 3 x 5 foot, a good size to use with groups. Whether I’m doing an activity with my church kids or packing for an overseas ministry trip, this fabric map is one of the first things I grab. Here are three prayer activities your children will enjoy that use this map.

Stickers for the World

Materials: fabric world map, blindfold, stickers (Bible, cross, or heart shapes)

Directions: Attach the map to a wall. Blindfold a child and give him a sticker. Direct the child to walk toward the map, touch it, and attach the sticker. Read the name of the country closest to the sticker. Pray for God’s word (Bible sticker) to come to the people who live in that country OR pray for the people in that country to receive Jesus (cross or heart sticker) into their hearts.

Kids Like Me

Materials: fabric world map

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose 4-5 children to stand on a country on the map. Read the names of the countries they choose. Let each child standing on the map pray for the children who live there, using one of the following categories. Here is a sample prayer: “God, please help the kids in Ecuador who like soccer to come to know you.”

same age                                                 same hair color

same eye color                                         same grade

same name                                              same favorite color

same sport or hobby                                same number of people in family

same kind of pet                                      same favorite school subject

 

Hurting Kids

Materials: fabric world map, bandaids (don’t remove back), bag with the following 6 items: piece of fruit, cup, notebook, picture of house or house from Monopoly game, picture of mom and dad, medicine bottle

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose children to put a bandaid on each of the following continents: Europe, South America, Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia. Tell the children that many boys and girls around the world don’t have what they need to grow up healthy and strong. Choose a child to pull one item out of the bag. Talk about what it represents (see below). Have the child pick up a bandaid from the map and replace it with the item chosen from the bag. Pray for God to provide for the need represented. For example: “God, please help the kids in Asia to have the medicine and doctors they need to stay healthy.”

fruit=hunger                                        home picture=homeless

notebook=no access to education        mom and dad picture=orphans

cup=without clean water                      medicine=without healthcare

 

My Awesome God Bible storybook

I just received a new Bible storybook that is great for preschoolers and beginning readers.  My Awesome God includes 200 Bible stories with an equal representation from both the Old and New Testament. I appreciate that this storybook goes beyond the most popular Bible accounts, giving a well-rounded picture of God’s word. For example, it includes three entries from the Psalms and does a good job of covering the themes of Paul’s letters to the early churches.

This storybook emphasizes God as the main character of scripture. There’s an index in the back that summarizes many of God’s attributes, cross-referencing them with Bible stories. Each entry includes an application question for parents (or teachers) to discuss with children. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations are loaded with details. Kid will love the expressions on the characters’ faces and will probably say, “Don’t turn the page yet.” See samples or purchase from DiscipleLand.

Helping Kids Process and Respond to Disasters

Earthquakes in Haiti, tsunamis in Japan, floods in New Zealand … how can we talk to our children about disasters and their impact? World Vision’s communications and media staff offer eight suggestions. To these ideas, I would add the following:

9. Encourage children to take their fears and concerns to a loving heavenly father. Share Bible verses with your children that speak of God’s invitation to come to Him whenever we feel afraid. Here are a few to get you started:  Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 56:3-4; Isaiah 41:10, 13; Lamentations 3:57, and Matthew 10:29-31.

10. Assist children to memorize Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

11. Pray for children affected by the disaster, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Help children personalize their prayers. For example, pray for boys and girls who are the same age they are. Pray for families who have the same number of children as their family. Here’s a prayer for suffering children from Tony Kummer’s Ministry-to-Children website.

Ever-watching Father:
we pray for the suffering children whom we do not see.

We know that your eyes see their tears,
that your heart knows their sorrow,
that your hands can reach them now.

We remember that Jesus was once a child,
that poverty stole his bread,
that tyrants sought his life,
that his mother tasted tears.

We ask you to send friends for the lonely,
food for the hungry,
medicine for the sick,
saviors for the enslaved,
rescue for the perishing.

Give us the wisdom to do our part,
share our possessions,
leave our comforts,
lend them our voice,
send them our food,
love them with more than prayers.

We call on you in the name of your child Jesus.
Amen.

Children and the Cape Town Commitment: Part 2

The Cape Town Commitment came out of the Lausanne meetings last October. The document includes two sections — a confession of faith and a call to action. Here’s the call to action concerning children from Part 2, Section 5.

We commit ourselves to:

A)    Take children seriously, through fresh biblical and theological enquiry that reflects on God’s love and purpose for them and through them, and by rediscovering the profound significance for theology and mission of Jesus’ provocative action in placing ‘a child in the midst’. Mark 9:33-37

B)    Seek to train people and provide resources to meet the needs of children worldwide, wherever possible working with their families and communities, in the conviction that holistic ministry to and through each next generation of children and young people is a vital component of world mission.

C)    Expose, resist, and take action against all abuse of children, including violence, exploitation, slavery, trafficking, prostitution, gender and ethnic discrimination, commercial targeting, and willful neglect.

© 2011 The Lausanne Movement

Children and the Cape Town Commitment: Part 1

Last October, 4,000 leaders from more than 200 countries attended The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. Through discussions and prayer, participants sought God’s direction to discern where the Church should invest its efforts and energies to most effectively respond to Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Recently, the Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action was released. Here’s Part 2, Section 5 concerning children.

5. Children

All children are at risk. There are about two billion children in our world, and half of them are at risk from poverty. Millions are at risk from prosperity. Children of the wealthy and secure have everything to live with, but nothing to live for.

Children and young people are the Church of today, not merely of tomorrow. Young people have great potential as active agents in God’s mission. They represent an enormous under-used pool of influencers with sensitivity to the voice of God and a willingness to respond to him. We rejoice in the excellent ministries that serve among and with children, and long for such work to be multiplied since the need is so great. As we see in the Bible, God can and does use children and young people – their prayers, their insights, their words, their initiatives – in changing hearts. They represent ‘new energy’ to transform the world. Let us listen and not stifle their childlike spirituality with our adult rationalistic approaches.

© 2011 The Lausanne Movement

World Water Day

Tuesday, March 22 is World Water Day. This international observance draws attention to the water, sanitation, and hygiene crisis worldwide. What does this mean for us as followers of Jesus? The Bible has a lot to say about those of us who are blessed assisting those who are not so blessed. Check out Proverbs 3:27 and James 2:14-17. If you have running water in your house, have a flush toilet, and don’t have a family member with a water-borne disease, feel blessed. Here are some ways to learn more about this issue and take steps to bless others. The Water Family interactive web game helps children discover how much water their family uses and gives suggestions for conservation. Click here and here to learn more about water-related issues. Pray for children who live with these issues on a daily basis. We created the following activity to help families track their water use over one day and get involved in a water project.

Water Mark Activity

1. Put an empty Styrofoam cup in each room in your home. Put a marker or pen in each cup. Every time family members use water, have them place a tally mark on the outside of the nearest cup. Make sure to include these areas: take bath/shower, wash hair, wash hands, brush teeth, flush toilet, wash dishes, cook, make coffee/tea, drink tap water, do laundry, clean, iron clothes with steam, care for pets, wash car, and water grass/plants.

2. At the end of the day, count the tally marks on the cups. Add the estimated number of times family members used water at school, work, and activities outside the home. Divide the total by the number of people in your family to find out the average number of times each person uses water in one day.

3. Take the total number of times your family uses water in one day and multiply by two. Donate that number of dollars to an organization involved in water projects, sanitation, and hygiene education.

Suggested Organizations
Blood: Water Mission

Lifewater International

Living Water International

Molly’s Adventures in Missions

Is your church starting to promote and recruit for summer short-term mission trips? Mine is. We have a combination of international ministry, cross-cultural ministry within our own country, and local inner-city outreach events. Most trips are geared for high schoolers and adults. A few are appropriate for children and their families. I have a hunch that most children don’t know a lot about why churches send out short-term teams and what kind of ministry takes place.

Molly’s Adventures in Missions is a great book that explains all of this to young children in simple language. An illustrated character, Molly, follows the short-term teams as they prepare, travel, minister, and report back to their congregation. The book introduces a wide variety of ministries. Young children will love searching for Molly in the photos. The book also gives children ways they can be involved in sending teams by learning about the places where the teams will serve, praying, and donating ministry supplies.

There’s even a Molly paper doll that can be cut out, laminated, and given to short-term teams to carry in their luggage. Teams can include Molly in trip photos. These can be used in follow-up reports for the children’s classes. This book is appropriate for children in preschool and early elementary grades.

Mission Websites for Kids

My church just finished our annual mission emphasis events. This year’s theme was “imissions” and teaching focused on how missionaries use technology to advance the gospel. I work with the 1st-4th graders throughout the year to keep missions in the forefront of their minds and hearts.  Because kids are so computer savvy (and because our large-group teaching space was finally wired for the internet!), we chose to focus on mission websites for children. We introduced them to six websites that help them learn about other cultures and provide ways for them to pray for their peers who have not heard about Jesus. We also showed them the “Today” video described below. Here’s the meat of the parent letter we sent home.

Caravan Friends website on peoples of South Asia from the International Mission Board. Includes many cultural and prayer activities for peoples of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal,  Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Plenty of stories, cultural activities, and prayer requests.

Quest for Compassion website on poverty from Compassion International. Kids design their own travel buddy and can visit the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, El Salvador, and Ghana.

DiscipleZone is the online portion of DiscipleLand Curriculum. Use the dials to choose Grade 1, Quarter A, and Lesson 1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the WorldWatch icon. You will see Part 1 of a 12-part continuing story on an unreached people group. Go back and click on Lesson 2 to see the second part of the story. Four stories (one for each quarter) are provided for each grade level. That’s 24 people groups to learn about and pray for.

SIM Kids website on missions in South America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru); Africa (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria); and Asia (China, India Pakistan, and Philippines). Loads of stories, activities, and prayer requests.

Sonlight Curriculum has an online section called “My Passport to India” with video clips, family devotions, crafts, games, and recipes. Travel with Chris to India through short video segments. Then do related activities. Includes family devotions and prayer requests.

Stand4Kids website has a fun way to pray for unreached kids and children at risk around the world. Includes photos of children and prayer requests, one for every day of the month.

“Today” is a 4-minute video that will inspire you. It’s the story of God’s heart for children, challenges that children face today, and how children who trust Jesus are serving in God’s kingdom. I highly recommend this for anyone serving in children’s ministry.