Posted on : Monday August 13, 2012

By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director and Missionary for Mission Education/Customization; Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)

This year at the Southern Baptist Convention my days were not filled with business sessions, reports, or meetings. Instead my days were filled with leading students in ministry projects all over the city of New Orleans. When I was given this assignment, my first thought was, “What do I want these kids to learn?”

A leadership team was put together and we began praying about “what we wanted these kids to learn.” The ministry projects included “prayer”-caching modeled after the “geocaching” craze.  GPS coordinates were used for students to find a “prayer cache;” Prayer walking done in a treasure hunting style.

At each stop the student learned something about that particular area, what scripture says about prayer and how to pray specifically for that particular GPS location.

The students also served at The Friendship House, a ministry for women and children in crisis, baked cookies for maritime ministries, and cleaned countless yards near the ninth ward.

And then there was the block party being sponsored by Missions Lab at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  It was there that I was reminded once again, it wasn’t about what “I would teach these kids” but what “God would teach through these kids.”

Two hundred fifty children came through the block party rotating from one station to another. There was the water balloon station, face painting, beanbag toss, popcorn machine, bouncy thing, mosquito tag, water station, etc. and a station for making a witnessing bracelet.

As the children sat in a circle waiting for instructions, I heard Rachel Faulknor from First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ark., ask, “Has anyone ever told you about God?” I watched half a dozen little heads shake their head “no.”

Rachel responded, “Well, just wait until you hear about Him. He is amazing!”

I stood there for a while listening as Rachel told them about God the creator and moved on to telling them about God the Savior and how He sent His son.

As she told the story the children placed the beads carefully on the leather strap.  After each bead, they would look up at her with eyes wide open waiting for the next part of the story. I wanted to freeze time and relish in the pure joy of what I was witnessing.

When the group of first graders left Rachel, I thanked her for the amazing way she was working her station. She responded, “But Ms. Gayla, that’s the way I learned it in GA’s.”

Is missions education important? Yes indeed it is! I watched the results of missions education up close and personal as I watched 17-year-old Rachel tell the story of salvation to group after group after group of children who came through her station.

“For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16)  Has anyone ever told you about God?”