How can parents and pastors help kids develop hearts that want to live and share the gospel across cultures? My wife Lore and I have tried to do this as we raise our four children. Many of the ideas I share below are responses from my children to this very question. I’ve also added other suggestions based on my experience as a children’s pastor, church leader, and cross-cultural traveler.
Model and Celebrate Values That Support Cross-Cultural Outreach
Values give rise to consistent actions. As parents and those who have influence in the lives of children, it’s important that we model appropriate values and facilitate experiences that help children embrace these values. Global kids need to have values like compassion, curiosity, adventure, humility, patience, and self-sacrifice. When children embrace and grow these kinds of values, they are much more likely to:
- Build bridges with people from other cultures anywhere
- Lovingly share the gospel with them
- Be willing to go wherever God leads them (whether it’s across the street or around the world)
Immerse Them in Scripture
The entire Bible is a story of God’s redemptive heart for people. We cannot engage in Scripture without acquiring something of God’s heart for the nations. With our younger children, we have typically read Bible stories to them every day from Bible story books like the Beginner’s Bible. With our youngest, who is currently five, we are using Your Every Day Read and Pray Bible for Kids and The Jesus Storybook Bible (this one in particular carefully connects every story with the gospel message).