International (MNN) — Did you know e3 Partners has a children’s ministry? In fact, nearly any e3 trip can have a children’s ministry component to it. You just have to ask.
Sharing more is e3’s Jeff Johnston:
“We developed friendships, we developed trust with these people. And so, a lot of the times these e3 children trips, these e3 children opportunities come from the relationships that we’ve already developed with their parents or with other adults in their community.”
Everything at e3 is relationship-driven. And e3 builds these relationships by having frequent short-term trips to the same location. When it comes to the children’s ministry, e3 doesn’t separate the adults and the kids when sharing the Gospel. Rather, e3 uses the same Scriptures for both.
“We’ve created a children’s booklet or children’s curriculum through those same Scriptures, and just kind of laid it out in a very similar way, but just kind of condensed it a little bit in a way that helps the children understand…a lot of stories in the Bible, a lot of these different Scriptures, these commands of Christ.”
Whole Community Outreach
e3 always makes sure team members have the permission of the parents or that the parents are close by before talking with kids. Engaging with the children is never anything e3 wants do behind parents’ backs, but rather keep the invitation open to both parents and their kids through relationships.
“A lot of these kids, their parents don’t know Jesus and they don’t know Jesus either. And so, I think it’s important to have a focus on reaching them as well and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Johnston says.
Just like any other e3 trip, the ministry makes sure there is a community in the area to help disciple kids and their families. Ultimately, these short-term trips aren’t about the trips themselves, but helping the communities take local ownership of the Gospel.
“We’re working on teaching them to be disciples of Jesus themselves, to be the leaders that can take the Gospel to the rest of their community,” Johnston shares.
Much of the children’s ministry has been developed by a woman named Charlotte. Recently, during a trip to Zimbabwe, Charlotte came across a dilapidated building. In this building, a family of three stood, looking worn down in a fog of hopelessness.
Charlotte wasn’t sure if this was where the family lived, or if they were passing through this structure. Regardless, Charlotte approached the family with her translator, Timothy, and began conversing with the mom, Jamie.
“She came to know that Jamie had felt like she had screwed up a lot in her life and had gotten to a point where she didn’t feel like there was anything that could be done to really forgive her. That she wasn’t worth forgiving because of the mistakes she had made in her life,” Johnston recalls.
“Charlotte shared with her the story of the Gospel and the story of how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, to forgive us of our sins, to take that burden for us. And then she said that Jamie just started weeping tears of joy because she was so excited to hear about this news.”
Little did Charlotte know at the time, but the same hopelessness Jamie felt had trickled down to her sons, James and Aaron. After sharing the Gospel message with Jamie, Charlotte also had the opportunity to share it with her boys.
And at that moment, they felt the same hope which had just captivated their mom.
Timothy, the translator, is also a local in the area. He made the decision that day to take the time to walk alongside this family in their new faith journey. He’s committed himself to teaching them Scripture and discipling them.
“It’s exciting to see that even though Charlotte has left and has come back to the [United] States from that trip, that those three people– Jamie, James, and Aaron– still have someone there who is pouring into them. Who is showing them what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus,” Johnston says.
Be Prayerful, Be Active
Will you be a Charlotte in somebody’s life?
Ask God if you’re called to go abroad to share the Gospel through children’s ministry. Pray for God to reveal opportunities and direction for ministry. And please, pray for the people who are lost.
“There are thousands of people…across the world who literally do not know the name of Jesus,” Johnston shares.
Pray for these people to have the opportunity to know Jesus and pray for the people who are ministering to the unreached or unengaged on the mission field.
e3 has an upcoming children’s ministry trip to Tanzania running from July 26-August 5. There’s still time to apply and help bring Christ to a part of the world you’ve never seen.
To find more trips through e3, click here!