During the Agape Vespers service, we hear this passage from St. John’s Gospel (perhaps even in many languages): “So Jesus said to them again, ‘…Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you…’ ” John 20:21 With this fresh in our minds, it seems like this is a good time for us to speak with our church school students about missions, if we have not already been doing so. Since Jesus has promised to send us, what/where does that mean?
Take time to teach your students about missions. There are a number of ways to do so:
Learning about missions/what it means to “be sent”:
- Select a passage from scripture of one or more of St. Paul’s missionary journeys and focus on that story.
- Tell the life story of a missionary saint, perhaps a “local” one (such as St. Herman of Alaska, for American children) and study the saint’s life.
- Invite a missionary from your parish to speak with the class about his/her experience.
- Visit the OCMC’s website for Sunday schools (http://www.ocmc.org/resources/sunday_schools.aspx) or the IOCC’s interactive world website (http://www.iocc.org/kidsmap_frameset.aspx) to see what Orthodox missions looks like today.
Practicing “being sent”:
- Take the class to a soup kitchen or shelter to serve others food or other necessities.
- Gather items for needy people (ie: food for a local food bank) and deliver them.
- Help the students create a plan of action of how they will interact with their family members and friends in ways that will help point their family and friends to Christ.
- Together, do a fundraiser to support your parish’s missionary(ies); or to send to the OCMC or the IOCC.
- Help the children learn about missionary opportunities that lie ahead for them, in which they can participate when older (ie: RealBreak in college).
Let us be faithful in helping our students know how important it is that we as Orthodox Christians share our beautiful faith with others. Let us teach them how others before us have done so. Let us also show them the options of ways to do so, today. Best of all, let us take them by the hand and lead them into the service for to which we all have been sent by Christ.