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Kids With a Mission

Tony Lane

"Before I came on the trip, I was selfish," Morgan reflected. "However, now I realize that I begged for things that I wanted. But the children at the orphanage appreciated the little things they received." Fourteen-year-old Jessica agreed. "The trip changed my life by putting everything into perspective. I no longer take things for granted."

Lesson 9: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

After days of playing, working on the grounds of the orphanage, training children's ministry workers and children, and worshiping together, it's time for us to return home. But we won't return the same. We've been transformed by our experiences and our exposure to a land and people different from ourselves. We've had the opportunity to develop our gifts and listen to God, away from the distractions of home.

At the end of the trip Gabriella, a children's worker who helped lead the trip, told me, "My eyes are open to the needs of others. I have a greater awareness to the need of bringing others to Christ. Our lives on earth are so short. But our spiritual lives are everlasting. I have the key to preach the gospel. I don't want to lose the opportunity to share Christ with others."

Was it worth it? Would I take another seven-hour bus ride on a non-air-conditioned bus through the mountains in Mexico? Would I take children and expose them to experiences that'll impact them for a lifetime and assist them in discovering God's calling? Would I again endure the 110-degree heat, bad water, and inability to understand the language to impact the kingdom of God? By all means!

Tony Lane serves in various positions, including as his denomination's Sunday school and Christian Education Coordinator in Cleveland, Tennessee. He's the author of Changing Ministry in Changing Times (Pathway Press). Children's missions trips will continue under his supervision. For more information, call (423) 478-7229.

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Missions: Logistics

Are parents ready to send their children to a foreign country? Are you confident that they'll support you in prayer? Can your church handle the financial demands? Here are logistical details to consider as you lead a children's mission trip.

  • Leadership -- Those leading the trip must be strong, committed, and experienced in intercultural ministry. Parents can come along, but they should understand that their role on the journey is to participate and encourage kids.
  • Expenses -- As you consider locations for the trip, consider the costs. Keep in mind the currency exchange rates in planning your budget. Involve children in raising funds for the trip. Their personal involvement will allow them to have greater appreciation for the experience.
  • Training -- As you prepare children, keep in mind that it's essential for training to begin with discipleship. Be selective about the children who'll participate. Help kids understand that going is a privilege. Set high standards for those who participate.
  • Team -- Before going, build your team. To be effective on the field, your group of individuals must become a ministry team. This can only be achieved by spending time together, playing together, and praying together. Help kids understand what to expect as they enter another culture. Practice songs, dramas, and anything else planned for ministry. Learn some of the language. Have kids write their personal stories about how God has changed their lives.
  • Travel -- Determine what passports, documents, IDs, or visas you'll need. Acquire insurance and medical releases. Certain locations require immunizations. Airports require consent to travel forms for minors. Check with specific airlines regarding additional restrictions and rules.
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