|NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--What in the world (pun intended) do Sunday School class Christmas parties and international missions have in common? Generally, not much. But you can change that if you start planning right away. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
-- Raise money for Lottie. The most memorable Christmas party I ever attended was with a 40-somethings department that conducted an auction to benefit the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board (IMB). Each of the men brought a homemade tree ornament, which was auctioned off. It was great fun. We still hang the glittery 3.5" floppy disk on our tree ... it was worth the money.
-- Tell Lottie's story. In the party mentioned above, the auctioneer, Rick, prompted higher bids by exhorting, "It's for Lottie!" After the auction, one of the attendees with a non-SBC background asked, "That was fun, but who is this Lottie?" Why not use your party to tell the inspirational story of Lottie Moon's sacrificial life of missions in China?
-- Identify with a UPG. Use the Christmas party as the kickoff for the class to adopt an Unreached People Group (UPG). Go to www.imb.org and click under the heading "Lead your church" to adopt a group. For the party, consider using what you learn about your UPG to inspire ideas for decorations, food, activities and, of course, prayer.
-- Emphasize missions in North Africa. Here's an alternate idea to adopting a UPG. The emphasis for this year's International Missions Study is missions in North Africa, specifically missions to the Berber people. Study materials, promotional materials, inspirational DVDs, etc., are available through the International Mission Board (www.imb.org) and the Woman's Missionary Union (www.wmu.org).
-- Don't forget to invite your own missionaries. Be sure to include your associate members, the folks you've released and blessed from your class to serve in preschool, children, and student classes. They're not serving in a foreign land, but sometimes they feel like it. Celebrate their service teaching kids about Jesus.
David Francis is director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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