Teachers: do you see your Christian students as missionaries? If so, how are you preparing your Christian students to be missionaries?
In Christian Education as Evangelism, the author states, “A part of education is an interpretative task; that is, assisting students to reflect and interpret their lives around the event of Jesus.” (Christian Education As Evangelism, Editor is Norma Cook Everist: Fortress Press, p. 77)
How is this “interpretative task” reflected in your course outcomes and objectives? What are some of the practical outcomes of this interpretative task in relationship to training children to be missionaries? Far too much of the teaching in the Christian church is focused on developing the personal faith life of the student with little attention given to how the student relates the course material to their life as missionary to the lost.
A Lutheran School teacher is not only a missionary, but the Lutheran school teacher is a trainer of other missionaries (i.e. their students).
How does a Lutheran teacher train their students as missionaries? I suggest the following ideas (and welcome your ideas as well!):
1. How does your classroom “environment” reflect or reinforce the missionary mandate? What is on the walls of your classroom that promotes missionary activity?
2. Invite a missionary to speak to your class. Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada (www.lbtc.ca) has missionaries available to talk with students. You might be able to have a missionary visit you class via Skype. On-line Videos are available from mission agencies (e.g. YWAM; International Teams — USA; LCMS World Missions) are available.
3. You might consider adopting a missionary and initiating correspondence with the missionaries. Visit the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod website (www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=975) or Lutheran Bible Translators website (www.lbt.org) for names of missionaries.
4. There are a number of Evangelism training resources for children that you might use as a module within the classroom setting. The following resources are suggested:
* Evangelism Explosion International has developed Kids’ EE for 4th-6th grade. This course involves learning basic truths of the Bible and committing stories and Bible verses to memory so that children can speak of Christ to their friends and family.
* The North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) has produced some mission material:
2010 Snack Pack Missions (15-20 minute free mission lesson plans). For one example, click on “Go River Girl”
2011 Back Pack Missions (5-10 minute free Mission Object lessons). For one example, click on “A backpack full of nothing.”
* Kids Talk About God: This website is an online forum where children can express their faith in Christ. Of particular interest on this site is the Mission Explorer’s Video Series (available as a DVD with curriculum). The video follows an 11 year old girl as she visits missionaries in various regions of the world.
* Mission friend’s curriculum (LCMS): This Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod resource provides information on 18 different countries. For an example of a curriculum, click on “Togo.”
* LAMP – Canada has produced LAMPERT and the Lost Little Ones which is an illustrated Children’s Book and Curriculum that includes lesson plans, discussion questions, a puppet activity page and more. You can download this resource from the LAMP website.
How might these evangelism courses be implemented in your classroom which is populated by Christians and non-Christians?
Might I suggest that you use “two tracks” for students? One track might focus on Basic Christian Doctrine (for the non-Christian or the new Christian) and the second track on Evangelism Training. Parents might be asked to select the track for their children. Teachers might work in partnership on this task with one teacher taking the Basic Christian Doctrine module and other teacher teaching the Evangelism training. One other suggestion might be to cooperate with the congregation so that an Evangelism training course like XEE is being taught at the same time as Kids’ EE is being taught. Parents and their children could be trained in evangelism simultaneously!
Tomorrow: The School as “Missionary” to the Community!