Little Kids, Big Calling

By an Alliance worker

Appointed to be church planters, a young couple is headed with their young daughter to Albertville, France, in August 2010, where they will attend French language study for a year before traveling to serve in a large West African city in summer 2011. 

Children: their smiles, their ability to make instant friends, their curiosity tempered by shyness, and the way the world is open before them. Adults have a big calling on their lives to influence these small ones.

On March 7 we met our daughter’s adoptive church, Campbellsport Alliance, in Wisconsin. Church congregants have generously, lovingly committed to support our family in ministry by giving her a very special place in their hearts.

She will be blessed by the people of Campbellsport with specific prayers, pen-pals, and thoughtful ways to show her that her place on the field with her parents is an important and extraordinary one. They will reinforce to her that God also has a calling—a particular story—for her life as a third-culture kid.

Our great hope is that through this unique relationship, the children of Campbellsport Alliance Church will grow up understanding what life is like on the mission field and, perhaps, one day become international workers themselves!

Our daughter is the youngest baby Campbellsport Alliance Church has seen in awhile. When we first arrived, all the kids surrounded her with smiles and giggles, which she devoured. Throughout the service, one little boy flirted with her from two pews back while her daddy preached about faithfulness to God. He taught from the story of Elijah about that powerful “contest” on Mount Carmel between God and Baal in 1 Kings 18.

After-service Sunday school time was casual enough that she was allowed to drive the nursery’s dollhouse camper van all over the front of the sanctuary. Meanwhile, mom shared with the group about community health evangelism—a creative method to reach those of the predominant religion in West Africa.

Since this visit put our daughter—and all children—in the forefront of everyone’s minds, our conversations that day tended to gravitate toward the spiritual formation of children. Appleton Alliance Church (AAC), where we currently serve, has a children’s program that can be described as enormous.

Seven hundred (that’s 700!) children are involved in the various activities at AAC. Some Campbellsport folks had recently visited the church to attend a regional Bible quiz competition, and others talked about the Awana (children’s Bible memory and learning) program, which sees hundreds of children each week.

But I found it impossible to contrast AAC’s children’s programs with those of Campbellsport or other churches in rural communities. That’s because the common theme in each—and this is crucial—is the spiritual formation of children through the Word of God, godly example, and the commitment of their parents and other godly adults.

I grew up in a tiny church in Idaho. Christians were a small minority in my town. But I have vivid childhood memories of vacation Bible school, missionary visits, Sunday school, children’s messages during the “grown up” service, and sitting beside my family week after week listening to teaching from the Bible. None of these things would have meant anything to me were it not for the consistent, loving, disciplined, and wise application of these tools in my life by my parents, grandparents, and other important adults.

So whether you know a child in a tiny rural church, one of several hundred kids at a huge church’s Awana night, or the lone white, flip-flop sporting missionary kid in an African country, YOU may be the most important tool God will use in that child’s life.

You—above any program, curriculum, video series, or workbook—are the key, and this is no small calling! We are so grateful to our family, close friends, and our new adoptive family at Campbellsport for your involvement in our daughter’s life and spiritual formation!

What You Can Do

“Pray for wisdom for leadership in vision-casting for our ministry,” the author urges. “Please also pray for the formation and preparation of our intercultural team.”

Your financial partnership through Alliance Great Commission Ministries is an extension of God’s love to lost people in West Africa and around the world.


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