We, as first-world people, think the world is centered around us and want our children to have a safe and fulfilling life. But, God does not call us to that life. He calls us to Himself and to make His name great around the world. Therefore, our kids need to think globally. How can we help foster this way of thinking?
Think about concentric circles with the child in the center. The next sphere around them is their family and their community. God calls us to love Him with all of our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves. We must teach children to have a heart for the people in their daily lives and yes, that starts with their parents and siblings and continues to their schoolmates and neighbors.
The next circle is their city or town. Encourage children to pray for the people in their city who need Jesus and for those who are in need. Participate in projects that support these efforts. Even if it is a secular organization hosting an opportunity to serve the poor and needy, you can join them and pray for those who you meet and/or see.
The next circle is our country. Children can learn about history and geography in school, but we can teach them what a blessing it is to live in a free country where we can freely worship God and have many opportunities that people in some other countries do not. It’s important for them to realize that because we are blessed, we can be a blessing to others.
The last circle represents the nations. Kids need to understand that God loves the whole world and offers His free gift of grace through Jesus to anyone who believes and receives it. Not everyone has heard this good news. We need to teach kids to have a heart for all nations, all people groups, and all who have not heard the gospel.
Together, we can teach the children we shepherd to think globally by loving others and praying for the people around them and beyond to come to Christ.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Kids Ministry Publishing. Jana, her husband, and their three kids moved to Nashville from Austin, Texas where she served as the director of children’s ministry at the west campus of Austin Stone Community Church. Jana brings a wealth of experience and passion for kids, kids ministry, and the local church.