Raising Up Global Kids

  • 6 February 2018
  • Randy Wollf

kids playing in waterHow can parents and pastors help kids develop hearts that want to live and share the gospel across cultures? My wife Lore and I have tried to do this as we raise our four children. Many of the ideas I share below are responses from my children to this very question. I’ve also added other suggestions based on my experience as a children’s pastor, church leader, and cross-cultural traveler.

Model and Celebrate Values That Support Cross-Cultural Outreach

Values give rise to consistent actions. As parents and those who have influence in the lives of children, it’s important that we model appropriate values and facilitate experiences that help children embrace these values. Global kids need to have values like compassion, curiosity, adventure, humility, patience, and self-sacrifice. When children embrace and grow these kinds of values, they are much more likely to: 

  • Build bridges with people from other cultures anywhere
  • Lovingly share the gospel with them
  • Be willing to go wherever God leads them (whether it’s across the street or around the world) 

Immerse Them in Scripture

The entire Bible is a story of God’s redemptive heart for people. We cannot engage in Scripture without acquiring something of God’s heart for the nations. With our younger children, we have typically read Bible stories to them every day from Bible story books like the Beginner’s Bible. With our youngest, who is currently five, we are using Your Every Day Read and Pray Bible for Kids and The Jesus Storybook Bible (this one in particular carefully connects every story with the gospel message). 

Pray Scripture Over Them

The Defining Characteristic of Authentic Leadership

  • 3 December 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Character is the defining characteristic of authentic leadership (quote by Thomas Sergiovanni)

“As a leader, the greatest gift you give people is who you are becoming in Christ. People follow you for who you are more than what you do.” 

Dallas Willard

I am learning that others will often follow me because they see something inside of me that they appreciate. Wayne Cordeiro has said, "You teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are." 

As Christian leaders, we want to reproduce qualities that reflect God. In Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul tells us how we can bear that kind of fruit: "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." 

Following God's exemplary character helps us to grow in godliness and reproduce those character qualities in others. Yet, what does it mean to follow God’s example?

It means to love others because God is love. Jesus' willingness to die on the cross speaks of his love for the Father and us, as well. Following in Jesus' footsteps involves a moment-by-moment lifestyle of sacrificial love.

It means to be holy even as God is holy. Today, the word "integrity" catches something of what it means to be holy. As Christ followers, we strive to be beyond reproach―to live consistently according to the high standards outlined in Scripture.

God's example of justice sets a standard for us to act justly and to love mercy. As we pattern our lives after God's justice, we will treat others more fairly. We will seek to help the oppressed and change systems of oppression. 

God's wisdom inspires us to seek wisdom; to pursue it at all costs. How can we make the best decisions as leaders without God's wisdom? In Proverbs, we learn that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. As we submit ourselves to the Lord, He will help us make wise choices―something that affects every aspect of our lives.

Following God's example also means being humble. Jesus set an example of humility when he washed his disciples' feet. This was a task well beneath Jesus, a rabbi and teacher in Israel. Yet, his example calls us to serve others humbly regardless of our position and status.