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

5 Ways to Mobilize Children into Ministry

  • 23 February 2017
  • Randy Wollf

children runningDuring my years as a children’s pastor and now as a parent of four children, I have become a huge fan of helping kids develop a servant heart. In this blog, I will share five ways that parents, children’s ministry workers, and friends of children, can mobilize children into ministry.

1. Believe that Children Can and Must Serve

We sometimes assume that children can only make a small contribution to the church. Yet, Jesus Himself pointed to children as exemplars of a simple faith—a mustard-seed-kind-of-faith that can move mountains.

Children often have a wholesome naiveté and are not intimidated by others. I still remember when my oldest son was three years-old. We were walking by a tough-looking guy sitting on a chair on the sidewalk. Before we could say anything, Caleb had jumped up on the guy’s lap and was chatting with him like he was an old friend.

Children are often eager to learn and try new things. What an opportunity to instill the value of serving others! The habits they establish now can last a lifetime.

If we say that every believer is an integral member of the body of Christ, it follows that all members—including children—are absolutely necessary. If children are not using their gifts and abilities to build up the body, the body suffers. It is imperative that we believe that children can and must serve.

2. Cultivate a Ministry Heart

One of the simple things we have done over the years with our kids is to invite them to serve with us. Whether it was helping stack chairs at the church or moving with our older kids into a refugee housing project (see the Do Something blog about this experience), we recognized that kids are quick to follow the examples of others.

A Ditch And A Shovel

  • 25 April 2016
  • Keith Reed

The Transform Conference is over, but I’m still processing many ideas and phrases that I heard nine days ago. Here are four concepts that are still echoing in my head:

A Ditch and a Shovel

Chris Price began his teaching by providing an image for raising up gospel-loving kids. It went something like this: Imagine that God has given you a shovel and that He has asked you to dig a ditch in the life of your child. A ditch in which the love of God and the truth of Scripture can readily flow. And the deeper you dig that ditch, the harder it will be for them to get out of it and the easier it will be for them to fall back in.

A child may try to climb out of the ditch. A child may teeter on the edge of the ditch and spend time exploring the area above the ditch’s valley. A parent really can’t control these things. But a parent can choose to keep their hands on the shovel. And a parent can keep digging and keep praying.

“You love me”

Chris’s prayer is that whenever his kids think of him, their first response will be, “You love me.” Regardless of the beliefs or the behaviour that his children may develop, he wants this to be the foundation of their identity as his children. The experience of unconditional love is what will they will remember when they are later faced with the pluralistic idea that biblical teaching is harmful or unloving. The love of their father will keep pointing them to the Author of Truth. 

Guilt is a poor motivator

In theory, I understand the difference between character development and behaviour modification. But in practice, I find that I spend a lot of time explaining the cause-and-effect principle to my children.

Chris concluded one of his sessions with a powerful statement. “Guilt is a poor motivator; love is a lasting one.”The gospel turns our feelings of guilt into signposts of God’s grace and mercy. Trust the power of the gospel in your parenting.

We reproduce what we are