God created a beautiful array of peoples and cultures and He pursues them all with the sacrificial love of His son, Jesus Christ. Learning about different cultures and peoples is a fun and exciting way to point your child towards God’s heart for the lost. There is no need to travel the world to instill an appreciation of these cultures in your children. You just need a little creativity. Jesus commanded us to share the Good News in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Start in your children’s “Jerusalem” and expand their hearts for others as they get older and learn more about God and His love for all peoples.
Your child’s “Jerusalem” may be the neighbor kids. Perhaps their family does not go to church. Perhaps they dress differently. Perhaps their values are different than your family’s. Even young children notice the differences around them. Help them understand how to process those differences in a healthy way by asking questions and discussing what they see. Avoid making “better than” comparisons. Instead focus on how Jesus came to take away the sins of these neighbors, too, and on how God has called His people to love them.
Many cultures are mixing in our cities and within our everyday activities. Boys and girls from these cultures represent your child’s local “Judea and Samaria.” As you talk with your child, ask questions about the cultural differences they see between them and other children. For example, “That boy’s name is different. I have not heard that name before. Do you know where he comes from?” Begin to learn more about the friend’s culture. Talk about language, food, and other cultural differences. If possible, visit a nearby ethnic neighborhood or store to experience the people and culture together. Many cities have cultural events focused on certain holidays that you could participate in as a family.
As adults, we can get excited about “unreached peoples” but for young children this concept is vague and abstract. Connect your children to “the ends of the earth” by freely talking about whatever people group or country God has laid on your heart. Your excitement will be contagious! Go beyond talking by engaging your child’s senses. Look at pictures of the country or region, prepare and eat an ethnic meal, learn a few words in their language, make a craft from the region, play a game that children there enjoy, or listen to traditional music. As a part of these activities, ask your child open-ended questions like “How does…?” or “Why do you think…?” Engage your children’s imagination by encouraging them to think about why boys and girls in this country or people group need Jesus and how they could share Jesus with them. You might even have them draw a picture of what this exchange would look like.
End each cultural conversation with a question like “How do you think God would like us to pray?” Read Revelation 7:9 and pray together that your child’s friend, the neighbor kids, and all those who do not know Jesus would be worshipping in heaven with you one day.
About the author: Fueled by a passion to see God’s name made known to all the nations, Alicia Bennett is an author, teacher, mobilizer, and mom empowering the youngest generation to take up the mantle of faith and run the race well. Follow her on Instagram @mobilizermom.