Ministering to the whole child
FOR A CHILD TO develop fully, his or her needs must be met in a number of areas. Physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual development is required. These developmental areas are interconnected e.g. without the basic physical provision of reasonable food and shelter, it is extremely unlikely that a child will develop properly in other areas. Without the capacity to relate well to others, it is hard to relate to the Lord and grow spiritually.
World Outreach International has a range of ministries addressing these different aspects. It is not always possible to have a completely well-rounded programme, but in our various hostel ministries, all of these developmental areas are addressed.
Physical development. Many of our ministries have programmes like clinics and feeding programmes and in disaster relief situations, we do our best to specifically help children. They often suffer the most and are the most vulnerable to death by disease or floods. Recently, after a church bombing in Pakistan, WOI provided children with medicine and Christmas gifts of clothing. A Christian school destroyed by militants was given books, desks and equipment. A Philippines school damaged in a recent typhoon will be repaired.
Mental development. ACE Christian schools in Africa are linked with WOI ministries. In Vietnam children are sponsored to attend school. Hostels in Thailand, India and Indonesia provide or ensure schooling and extra tuition is provided where necessary.
Emotional/Social development. Our training programmes for children’s workers include elements of games, group discussions and fun times. For many kids these events are one of the few times they can relax and enjoy organised activities without the pressure of rigid discipline, or pressure to perform. Courses on basic children’s counselling are offered.
Spiritual development. Evangelism and discipleship of children is a major focus of WOI. All our residential ministries emphasise this and children from these homes often end up in full-time ministry. Many of our ministries work closely and serve local churches in order to multiply the effect of their outreach ministries and week-by-week discipling programmes. In addition to culturally-appropriate basic materials in various languages, in-depth curriculums are published and provided to churches in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Middle East countries, Thailand and Cambodia. The future of the church lies with its children, and a leadership by people of lifelong faith and good character will make for a solid platform into the next generations.
Peter Van der Westhuyzen
Children’s Ministry Coordinator