My parents have four children, and we reside on four different continents: My sister teaches art in England, one aids refugees on the Thai-Burmese border, one is changing her world in the States as a nurse and a mother—and me, raising our four kids in Uganda.
I love that my family has a vision beyond itself (admittedly, holidays can be a bit of a downer). But how can we instill a global, Great-Commission worldview in our own kids? Will they reject myopic entitlement for God-sized purpose? If you’re eager for mission-minded, compassionate kids, start with these practical solutions. If you missed part I, click here.
21. In conversations, differentiate between “needs” and “wants.”
22. Read missionary biographies together, in series like the Trailblazer Books, Torchlighters, Men and Women of Faith, or Christian Heroes Then & Now.
23. At year end, have a family charity game night, when your kids can win your end-of-year giving amounts to dedicate to a favorite cause.
24. Go on a short-term missions trip, starting locally, then beyond to a foreign country. A cautionary word: Educate yourself on what productive short-term missions looks like. Trips can actually undercut development in impoverished nations, or cripple missionaries themselves. Invaluable books like When Helping Hurts explain how to truly empower hurting communities.
25. Watch movies based on the lives of courageous Christians, such as Faith Like Potatoes or The Hiding Place.
26. Hold a monthly family cultural night: explore new food; learn about a new country; even dress, sit, or eat accordingly.
27. Pray over spending patterns. Since this is God’s money, where and how does He want it to be spent? Is there some “spending fat” that might be allocated to something more eternal?
28. Simplify. Then do it again. Personally, selling about 70 percent of our stuff to move to Africa was exquisitely painful. But I’d repeat it in an instant: It changed us! Commit to purging, eliminating, and generally minimizing the gravitational effects of “stuff” on your family.
29. Model contentment and gratitude. It helps us hold loosely: “the rich… [should not] set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (2 Timothy 6:17).
30. Train kids in sacrificial generosity. Check out 1 Chronicles 21:24 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, and talk openly about ways you give until it hurts. Help kids to set aside 10 percent of their allowance for giving to a project they’re enthusiastic about.
31. Together, read strength-building stories like Jesus Freaks or Growing Together in Courage.
32. Help kids to see needs. Take kids with you to bring a meal, visit someone in the hospital, or watch someone’s kids in a challenging time. Make cards or butcher-paper banners together for people who are hurting.
33. Step beyond “now-ism.” Read books about heaven, like Randy Alcorn’s Heaven for Kids or Beverly Lewis’ What is Heaven Like? Ask questions like, “What do you think we should do differently—since heaven’s the place where we’ll live forever?”
34. If you feel guilty about world missions and poverty, explore it prayerfully. Is God prompting you to live differently somehow? Or is this a non-specific guilt, preventing gratitude?
35. Discuss global headlines—and the reality behind them for those living there.
36. Adopt a “one-tunic” philosophy. Read 2 Corinthians 9:11, and talk about how you’re blessed to be a blessing.
37. Children’s books to try: Those Shoes; Boxes for Katje; The Orange Shoes; Beatrice’s Goat; Four Feet, Two Sandals; One Hen; and How Many Days to America?
38. Keep granola bars and water bottles in your car for panhandlers. Don’t forget to ask their names and how you can pray for them.
39. Develop genuine friendships with people of lower economic status and/or a neglected group of society.
40. Pray for a month about what mission God has for your family. Talk actively about your family’s gifts, opportunities, and passions that God could use to make His Name great.