Here are some suggestions for making your children’s ministry more global. In other words, several ways that you can expose children to other cultures and languages in ways that they can participate in. This list is just a beginning. Please add your own ideas to this list and adapt and change to fit your group.
- Sing! Choose a song the children know and love, like Jesus Loves Me, or Jesus Loves the Little Children. Find the song on YouTube in another language and play it for the children. Then sing the words, phrase by phrase to teach the children. Repeat often.
- Make a book. Find pictures of children from the country or culture you are going to highlight. Put them in a small album - a grandma’s brag book or something small that the children can look at. If you don’t have an album, you can make one by putting the pictures each in a clear sandwich bag, fold a strip of cloth along the left hand side, and staple together.
- Invite a local immigrant family to come to your class. Ask them to bring age-appropriate toys, books, dress, and maybe even a snack. Invite them to teach you their favorite song or scripture verse.
- Dress up. Think together with the children about how children in other cultures/countries dress. Shop thrift stores, borrow, or sew fabric to make a few simple garments, shawls, etc, that children can use to dress up with.
- Scripture memory. Find a theme verse for the year that you can memorize together in several languages. Start by teaching the scripture verse in the ‘first’ language of the children, English, Spanish, Korean, etc. Then teach and repeat the verse in a second language. Use simple signs or motions to go with the words. The signs or motions will stay the same for multiple languages and help the children connect the thoughts and the sounds.
- Adopt a Group. How cool would it be if your Story Hour, Little Lambs, or Sunday school class could actually talk to another group somewhere around the world? With today’s technology, maybe you can. Does your church have any ties with a church in another country? A mission project they’ve participated with? If you can find a contact person who could skype (video call) - or do a phone call (audio) with you and your children, it could be very interesting.
Getting children out of their own world in ways they can understand sounds challenging. But if we realize that young children are at the beginning of their journey of learning and experiencing life in all of it’s beauty and diversity, then perhaps any steps we take to help them begin that journey are valuable. We don’t have to do it all, but we can do something.