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13 April 2020

Could you go?


Around the world, there are vast needs, and many opportunities, to reach youth and children with God’s love in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here CMS International Director Peter Rodgers asks: could you go?

A fundamental aim for this particular edition of Checkpoint has been to challenge our readers to support ministry amongst children and youth, or in some cases, to prayerfully consider whether they themselves should be going long-term to a mission location to serve as workers in such ministry. In this final article, I want to ask very directly: could this be you?

“God can use you if you have a heart to see children reached with the great gospel of his grace”

We noted in our lead article that there are strong reasons both biblical and practical why mission to children and youth matters so much. Mission in this 4-14 window—that is, mission to children between the ages of 4 and 14—is something that CMS has recognised as an ongoing and urgent area of mission focus. It is just as worthy of attention in its own way as the other more familiar area of mission focus, the 10/40 window (identifying by latitude the areas of the world containing the greatest socio-economic challenges, and the lowest access to Christian mission).

And yet, we are not currently able to point to many places where we have deployed CMS missionaries to work either specifically with children and youth, or in training other leaders for such work.

Some wonderful exceptions

There are obvious and wonderful exceptions to this rule, of course, many of whom appear in this Checkpoint. Amongst others, we think of the Snowdons working with high school youth in Valencia, or the Lims in Japan with Hi-B.A, the High School Born-Againers. Mimy Gardner works as a school teacher in Leipzig. Erin Moorcroft assists in training scripture teachers in Ireland. Glen Turner is the principal of Mara primary school in Tanzania, and CMS has missionaries, including teachers, serving at schools in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nepal and elsewhere.

But these and other inspiring examples—for whom we regularly pray God’s blessing and continue to support—still represent less than 10% of the total number of CMS missionaries working around the world. We would love to see them joined by many, many more new workers.

Where the needs lie

Where would we like to see people volunteering for mission amongst children and youth? We can summarise three areas in which we are praying that God would raise up specific workers: primary and high schools, church ministries, and training children and youth workers in particular mission locations.

Primary and high schools

This is such an obvious and important area of need that we have devoted an entire Checkpoint Online article[1] to the need for primary and high school teachers across a range of subjects and in schools both secular and Christian. But as CMS missionary Tamie Davis has noted in that article:

“We don’t only need teachers! Our school has benefited greatly from an occupational therapist and a school counsellor, both services that are unavailable here…in a similar vein, many schools struggle to source experienced leaders and administrators. I want to encourage school principals and directors to know that there’s a great need for their skills too.”

If you have ability and qualifications in education or in related areas such as school administration, health, or counselling, read that article and make contact with your local CMS branch to talk about possibilities. The enthusiasm of our CMS missionaries for the right people to serve in these ways is palpable, and the gospel opportunities are often not just in schools but in the entire associated community.

Church and Christian ministries

In some locations our mission partners long to actively reach children and youth, but they face specific challenges relating to their context. They have told CMS that they would value young (and not-so-young) godly and committed leaders who would be prepared to offer help.

The church in Japan is generally older and shrinking in size, but there are exciting initiatives and needs amongst the younger population. CMS missionaries Brad and Michelle Jackson, now returning to Australia, have been praying that God would provide at least one leader to take on the youth work they have been involved in through Young Life in Kobe, Japan. In many parts of East Africa, the population of younger Christians under the age of 15 is enormous. Yet diocesan leaders and bishops recognise that there is a great shortage of gospel leadership to teach these young Christians what it is to believe in the Lord Jesus and live as his disciples. Similar stories could be multiplied in North Australia and around the world in places where CMS is involved.

Training leaders for youth and children’s ministry

One of our key areas of focus as a mission organisation is to “equip Christian leaders for church and society” (from the CMS mission statement).  CMS missionary Erin Moorcroft gives an insight into valuable ways to help keen Christians who would like to be better equipped for gospel ministry with young people here.

Could you go?

There is a worldwide need for committed Christians who will bring the gospel to children and youth; whether in schools, in churches, or in Christian youth organisations. Some work calls for specific skills and qualifications. Other work requires a particular temperament or flexibility of approach. Without exception, however, God can use you if you have a heart to see children reached with the great gospel of his grace, and a willingness to serve him in the way that he reveals. How can you play your part?

GO

If you are someone who could bring the gospel to children and youth, contact your local CMS branch to discover specific opportunities.

[1] See www.cms.org.au/we-need-teachers