Yesterday was a special day in our congregation. Twice a year we have a special Mission Sunday, when the entire offering for the day is given to various mission efforts. Each time, we focus on a particular mission field our congregation supports. Normally, we have someone speak who is involved in the efforts at that location and take up the special collection.
This time, the focus was on an orphanage in Mexico our congregation had helped start several years ago. This was the tenth anniversary of the first child arriving at the home. We decided this time we would add a chance to celebrate and involve our own children in Missions Sunday.
If you have been following this blog, you know one of my passions is getting children involved in service and mission work from a very young age. Since Ciudad de Angeles children’s home is in Mexico, the tie-in for the children was fun for them and easy for us to create.
We decided the way to involve our children for the day was to create a prayer piñata. We took some Mexican bead necklaces from a party store and two bags of small lollipops. I printed multiples of about 40 different specific prayer requests involving the work in Mexico. Some were generic prayer requests for the children’s home and others were more specific. We taped a prayer request to every item we placed in the piñata.
We hung the piñata outside and gave the children very specific instructions. They could still have a free-for-all, but this would be with a twist. Each child could have a necklace and a specific number of pieces of candy (we divided the number of children that day into what we knew was in the piñata) ONLY if they promised to honor the prayer request written on what they took. After everyone had their “stash”, they were instructed to take the rest of the “prayer” candy back into the building and give it to teens and adults and ask them to pray for the orphanage, too.
Since this was an experiment, I was curious to see what the children would do. They loved it and I actually caught more than one of them sharing their candy back in the building. I think quite a few of them even understood what they were supposed to do as they came back to me later and asked me to pronounce some Mexican names for them.
Although a piñata doesn’t fit for every mission field, there are many other ways to involve the children in your church or family in mission work. I have several older posts with specific ideas, but in general I would encourage you to involve the children by completing a small service project or prayer activity during their class time that will give them an emotional tie to the particular mission field.
The next time your church has a special event, I encourage you to think of ways to engage your children and allow them to participate. It is a part of their spiritual education that is often overlooked. Waiting until they are adults to involve them in God’s works of service and sharing their faith, will be too late for many of them. If you excite them about serving God now, who knows what they will be doing for the Lord as adults!