Posted on : Sunday March 1, 2009

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

BEL AIR, Md.—Tammy Vickers didn’t know what to expect when she brought children to the Jacob’s Well Assisting Living Home on Valentine’s Day. But she did know that she wanted the children to learn about serving others through hospitality.

Vickers, the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) director for Oak Grove Church in Bel Air, Md., was especially excited to see the children, ages four to third grade, participate in this year’s Children’s Ministry Day, Feb. 14.

Organized by the national WMU, Children’s Ministry Day encourages children’s groups in churches to actively serve in their communities for a one-day, concerted effort to minister and witness together. The effort also helps children understand the needs of others and grow in their ability to minister to others as Christ did; and to impact the lives of children, leaders, parents, and recipients of ministry across North America with God’s love.

Vickers, who oversees Girls in Action (GAs), Royal Ambassadors (RAs), and Mission Friends at Oak Grove Church, used Romans 12:13 (“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”) to teach the children hospitality. The children made and gave Valentine’s hearts to residents at the nearby assisted living home.

The Children’s Ministry Day experience gave the children hands-on learning and showed parents what their children were capable of doing, Vickers said.

She shared about one child, who has Autism. Though he did not participate in making the Valentine’s hearts, the little boy handed them out to each of the residents, enthusiastically wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day and telling them that Jesus loved them.

“This activity gave the mother a sense of hope in what he could do as a child,” Vickers explained. “Reaching out and touching others’ lives really is not that hard.”

Vickers, who loves that her church is “big into missions and ministry as a lifestyle,” hopes that these ministry days will be a springboard for future events.

“It is really exciting where our church is right now and involving the children is so important,” she said. “We are really focused on reaching children because we know the sooner we help them understand, the greater chance they’ll live out a lifestyle of ministry.”

Weekly activities in WMU’s Gas, RAs and Children in Action programs are based on a variety of learning styles. Through a variety of fun and engaging activities, children learn Scripture, pray for missions, engage in mission action and witness, learn about different ministries, develop spiritually toward a missions lifestyle, and participate in the work of the church and denomination.