Tracie Griggs says one of her biggest burdens this year has been this — for parents and grandparents to know their children can still be missional even when life isn’t normal.
Griggs, minister to children at Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Rainbow City, is one of many who has had to switch gears over the past few months due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions.
THINK OF OTHERS
“The natural instinct in a pandemic is to isolate with your own people,” she said. “I prayed that the Lord would show us ways that instead of isolating we could still think of those around us and encourage our kids to think outside of themselves about how they could share Jesus with their neighbors.”
To get the ball rolling, she made Wednesday Mission Challenge videos for them to watch online every week, and one of the first things she did was encourage kids to paint a Bible verse on a big rock and leave it at a local park where someone else could see it.
“I told them to put it somewhere on the trail where people could read that verse and be encouraged,” Griggs said.
It wasn’t long before they began to see photos popping up on Facebook of the rocks with comments that people had seen them and were reminded that God was in control.
“It was so good for the kids to see that the gesture was so far reaching,” Griggs said.
She also encouraged the children to do a chalk walk — to get out in their neighborhood and draw prayers or encouraging messages where their neighbors could see them.
“Even if they couldn’t see their neighbors, when their neighbors came out to get their mail, they would see that these children were praying for them,” Griggs said.
She also challenged children to draw pictures for nursing home residents and tape them on the outside of their windows facing inward so residents could see them.
Then during Twelfth Street Baptist’s week of virtual Vacation Bible School, Griggs decided it was time to do something new once again.
Usually on VBS week, they present the gospel to the children on the final day.
But in 2020, Griggs opted to get out a chalk board and teach the kids how to share the gospel themselves using chalk art.
“It was amazing hearing kids learn how to share the gospel and hearing that they shared it with their own moms or dads,” she said. “That will always be the approach I take from now on, to equip them to share the gospel.”
KEEPING CHILDREN ACTIVE
Marti Richardson at Eastmont Baptist Church, Montgomery, had the same burden to keep children active in outreach during the pandemic.
She had been teaching Mission Friends, a preschool-age missions curriculum published by Woman’s Missionary Union, for 25 years when the pandemic hit, and she didn’t want the virus to stop the children in her church from being involved in missions.
“After we saw it was going to be a while, I started mailing them something each week in the mail,” Richardson said. “It was always something they could do, either a conversation they could have with their parents or caregivers or an activity they could do related to whatever we were studying that week.”
She said she got many of her ideas from the Mission Friends at Home section of the Missions Friends Leader booklet.
She was able to adapt many other things from the curriculum to do at home too. Sometimes she would encourage them to go outside and kick a soccer ball after learning about missionaries in parts of the world where soccer is a popular pastime.
Sometimes she would send them pipe cleaners to make a craft or told them to look up a certain kind of frog online to learn more about what frogs were like in Puerto Rico, the home of the featured missionary for that week.
They learned a lot over those weeks, but they didn’t stop there — she got them out in the community on mission too.
One week they were encouraged to construct bookmarks and leave them at the home of senior adults in their neighborhood to show them they were remembered and cared for. Other weeks, she had them craft cards or letters to people.
Above all, Richardson just wanted to keep them engaged in missions.
“I have such a heart for it, and I believe it begins early,” she said.
By Grace Thornton
Article reprinted with permission from TAB Media (tabonline.org).