Did you know... the reason bees are so noisy is because they beat their wings 11,400 times in one minute! The honeybee is the only insect that makes food people can eat. And honeybees communicate through a series of dance moves. The waggle dance is the way that honeybees share information with each other about things that are important – usually about food sources and nesting sites.
Blaze the bee is a new way of helping children and families in congregations right across PCI explore how God is at work in the world and what it means for them to be a global disciple, doing what they can to play their part in God’s global mission. This includes learning about, and praying for, global mission workers, God’s church around the world and a Christian approach to big issues like creation care.
The aim of the Blaze initiative is to encourage children to be passionate about God’s world and to see how they can be involved in sharing God’s love with others and caring for the world in which they live. We want them to learn to “waggle dance”, share what they are learning and seeing about God, as they grow in faith as global disciples.
Blazing a trail for involvement in global mission
Blaze can be used in a variety of ways in a range of church and family settings. It could be the focus of an all-age service, children’s addresses, used along with Digital Dispatches from our global mission workers, be the launch pad to provide some activities for children’s ministry on global mission in organisations or to do at home with parents and other siblings.
Some of the ideas you might encourage families to start with are as follows.
- Get a map of the world to look at together at home. You may already have a map at home or you may want to download one onto a device to look at. Choose a country to learn about as a family. Maybe you could choose one of the countries where a PCI global mission worker is involved. You can find those here. Spend some time learning about life in that country in general, looking at what language is spoken, what food is popular and what the weather is like for example. Then maybe you could find out what it is like to be a Christian there. You will find more information on Christianity in different countries from Welcome - Operation World.
- Buy a travel journal for Blaze. Have a child or family take Blaze home for a week, choose a country and learn about what God is doing in mission or the church there, and add what they have found out to the travel journal. Children or families could briefly report back to the whole church or group and you could pray specifically for that country.
- Take a photograph of Blaze in a setting local to your church which pictures an aspect of creation care e.g. a recycling centre, a wind farm, a bird or animal sanctuary. Use the photo of Blaze on location to help children grasp that caring for God’s creation is part of what it means to be a global disciple.
Over the next months and years, Blaze is going to travel to visit PCI global mission workers in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, sharing stories of what God is doing in those places and the projects that we can support.
Blaze will also occasionally learn about projects being run by partner agencies which will also help us think particularly about creation care and helping us understand how our actions can impact the lives of others in different places of the world, e.g. how we buy our food and how energy is made, as well as the impact that natural disasters can have on communities. We want children and families to learn together, both in church and at home, what God might be teaching us about the part we can play in this kind of work.
Warming up to global mission together
Honeybees are involved in the waggle dance to let other bees know where the best nectar is, where they can find water and the best sites to build their nest. They want the best things for their colony and share the information through performing a particular figure of eight dance. As a church our desire is that children know and understand the best things about the world they live in and the part that they can play as God’s disciples within it.
As adults we need to encourage them to see beyond their locality and to discover how they can play a part in praying for, and learning about, different mission projects, and also how they can take an interest in creation care and the impact we have by the decisions that we make. We want children to learn from adults as we lead the way in our waggle dance of living as global disciples.
Matthew 28 is a familiar passage to many of us. Before he returned to heaven, Jesus gathered his disciples together and commissioned them for the work that he is leaving them to do with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Helping children to understand God’s mission in the whole world is vital to understanding what it means to live out the call to “Go and make disciples of all nations”, a calling that is not simply for those of us who are adults, but that is crucial for every person, young and old, as they follow Jesus in their everyday life.
So, let’s all do our waggle dance together and, with the help of God’s Spirit, encourage our children to live as global disciples.
Ruth Bromley is PCI's Children's Development Officer. Stay tuned to our homepage for further information about Blaze the Bee.