Jesus said, ““Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19,20.
Tell the World is a broad vision, a bold challenge undertaken by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is our mission objective throughout this quinquennium of 2005-2010. The ultimate goal of Tell the World is to provide every person on earth with the chance to know Jesus Christ.
For the Children’s Ministries Department, Tell the World means telling every child about the wonderful love of Jesus and that He wants them to accept His love so as to experience the joy of salvation. The gospel message is offered not only to adults, but also to children.
Our slogan for this initiative is Tell a Child, Tell the World. Everyone in the church is needed in this task of sharing the good news with every child both within the church and outside the church. We believe that when you tell onechild about the good news, pretty soon the child’s friends, family, school, and community will know about the good news. He or she can’t wait to share.
So the challenge for us is to Tell a Child at home, at school, on the streets, or in organized programs. Jesus needs us to be busy at this task of making disciples of all children regardless of race, language, socioeconomic status, or religion. There is work for us to do. How can we accomplish this initiative?
Organize Effective Sabbath Schools
It’s important to organize effective Sabbath Schools for children for it is an avenue for building their faith. Teachers need to learn how to connect with children and teach GraceLinked Bible lessons that meet the learning styles and interests of the children. Helping them to experience the Bible story, applying the lesson to their lives, and then challenging them to share the lesson with someone else bring the gospel to life for the children. Churches need to put priority in the spiritual development of their children and provide adequate training for teachers to teach effectively.
Conduct Bible Studies
Fundamental beliefs are studied through the GraceLink Sabbath School curriculum, but there is also the need for further Bible studies. Weekly studies can be organized in the form of small groups at church or it can be done by parents with their children in the home, or as a program at church. Resources that can be used are: Christ Wise Discipleship Guide by Troy Fitzgerald; Making Jesus my Best Friend from Review and Herald; What We Believe, by Jerry Thomas and God Loves Me 28 Ways from GC Adventist Children’s Ministries.
Equip Parents to Disciple Children
It is God’s plan that parents be the primary teachers of their children (Deuteronomy 6). The church should not take over this important responsibility, but instead provide opportunity and training to equip parents on how they can be more effective spiritual leaders at home. Parents need to recognize that sending children off to Sabbath School or, Adventurers Club once a week is not sufficient. They need to walk and talk and pray alongside their children as they disciple them to be a follower of Jesus. The church can set up “Kids in Discipleship” program to teach parents to disciple their children through Footprints in the Sand and Footprints for Kids.
Actively seeking and welcoming non-Adventists into our churches is what Tell the World is all about. By getting our children involved in community service, they are putting what they have learned into practice. Allowing children opportunity to demonstrate genuine love and concern for those around us, they will grow and bear fruits of kindness, generosity, understanding as they touch lives for Jesus.
Personal Witness and Evangelism
Tell a Child, Tell the World aims to challenge each child to witness and win one friend to Jesus. This could be accomplished by teaching children how to share Jesus with their friends and family members. Teaching them to share Jesus using simple devices like the Wordless Book, Flipper Flapper, or Salvation Bag can yield good results. Each child is challenged to reach out to at least one person for Jesus this quinquennium.
Children with the special gift of preaching are trained to preach and hold evangelistic meetings. They participate in winning other children through public evangelism and visitation.
Today more than ever, media opens doors to outreach. Every day millions of children are watching TV, surfing the Internet, listening to the radio and reading countless published materials. Tell a Child, Tell the World emphasizes the embrace of media as a means of sharing Jesus with millions of children who still do not know Him. Plans and ideas for developing internet evangelism for children and youth are needed to share the good news with this age group.
Tell the World is not just something for pastors and church leaders. All members including children are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. But first of all local church leadership need to make plans for the spiritual development of our children, for in so doing we are telling them about Jesus. Then they will in turn tell other children.
This challenge can be met. Together, let's Tell a Child, Tell the World! "Please, tell me!"
Julie Weslake Director of Children’s Ministries South Pacific Division