Every day, children are being shaped by what they encounter at home, in school and at church. The work we do as parents, teachers and children’s ministry leaders is invaluable as we help form their affections for Christ. 

As a movement of churches on mission together, we desire to see children grow in their compassion for the lost. With summer approaching, what better time to help your children come to understand — and love — the mission of God? 

Your upcoming Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a prime time to help children remember, pray for and give toward missions and compassion ministries. Here are five ways you can cultivate compassion for the lost and instill in your children a heart for missions during your VBS week.

1. Introduce your children to different people groups in your city.

God has brought the nations to our doorstep. Over the last year, more than 78,000 Afghans and 270,000 Ukrainians were admitted as refugees into the United States. The opportunity to reach the lost has never been more accessible.

Our Praying for the Nations prayer guide lists 30 people groups who have made North Carolina their home. Consider using this prayer guide to introduce children to different people groups that live in your city and state.

2. Pray for these people groups.

As you introduce your children to the various people groups that live nearby, take time to pray for each of them. In our Praying for the Nations prayer guide, we offer several ways you can pray for each people group. As an interactive activity, consider working together to find their countries of origin on a globe.

3. Introduce your children to N.C. Baptist missionaries and pray for them regularly.

In our prayer guide, you will find profiles on more than 250 N.C. Baptist missionaries who have gone to every continent of the world. Find ways to pray for these missionaries with your kids. If you have the opportunity during VBS, invite a missionary family to speak to your children and ask them to share prayer requests with the group.

4. Pray for kids in North Carolina who are in need of hope and safe homes.  

Many boys and girls throughout North Carolina face tremendous challenges. VBS is the perfect opportunity to teach kids how they can show the love of Jesus Christ to other children who are in need.  

Consider highlighting the work of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) during your VBS week. BCH mission speakers are available to come to your VBS and share how children of all ages can get involved in this mission field.

5. Empower children to raise funds for missions by highlighting the North Carolina Missions Offering.

Through the North Carolina Missions Offering, children can learn firsthand the value of missions giving and the impact it has across our state, nation and around the world. 

You can extend this focus with a “Miles for Missions” event, which gives children the opportunity to ask family and friends to sponsor their participation. This can be a fun run, walkathon or another activity of your choice. 

Other ideas include a “Change Challenge” — where teams compete to see who can bring in the most change for missions — or a per-child sponsorship, where church members can sponsor children by matching the funds they raise throughout the week.

Whatever option you decide, take time to celebrate missions giving and generosity for the sake of the Great Commission. The funds you raise during VBS could impact lives for eternity!

by N.C. Baptist Communications