One Mission Society’s children’s ministry began more than 100 years ago when Aunt Julia Kilbourne introduced the monthly prayer coin calendars. The money collected supported mission projects around the OMS world. News articles were even written for kids in the OMS Standard publication (today’s OMS Outreach magazine).
OMS family conferences introduced the PALS program, allowing kids to rub shoulders with OMS missionaries. They also raised funds for OMS projects, which helped them learn firsthand that OMS is a family. Kids knew by name Pat Winfrey, Gwen Pinkerton, and Aunt Ruth Hunter (see clown photo).
Their use of puppets, songs, games, clowning, and exciting missionary stories brought missions to life every year.
In the 1990s, God burdened Susie Howard to bring missions to kids beyond missionary conferences through the quarterly Missions to the Max newsletter. Cartoon characters Otto the Missionary Sender and Max the dog joined the One Mission Kids (OMK) team to introduce each article. Each issue focused on a specific country or region, allowing kids to get a snapshot of what God was doing. A prayer and birthday calendar for OMS MKs was also included.
In 2004, OMK partnered with Men for Missions to produce the first Kids Can Do (and Big People, Too!) book (KCD) of 10 lessons to help raise funds for the Operation Saturation solar-radio project in Haiti. Soon, more mission projects were given the Kids Can Do treatment so kids could “experience” a mission trip at home, through the interactive Missions to Go lessons.
In 2006, Jason Campbell brought his audio skills to the team and produced the Music-to-go CD for kids. Workshops became a yearly focus with trips to EQUIP in Peoria to educate parents, teachers, and church workers to train their kids in missions.
In 2007, Jason created the MAXers summer program (previously PALS), resulting in the creation of the Good News Reporters, later released as a VBS in 2013. Jason continued his summer ministry of speaking at youth camps as a way to test the VBS-type programs. To date, One Mission Kids has developed 8 VBS-like mission programs.
In 2009, Missions to the MAX! morphed into an interactive website, allowing kids to explore the world of OMS. In 2010, when OMS changed its name to One Mission Society, OMS’ children’s ministry rebranded to become known as One Mission Kids. During this time, the Champions of the Great Commission book series began with the story of Charles Cowman.
In 2015, Lora Jones Campbell joined One Mission Kids, bringing her skills as an educator and curriculum developer.
This year, with the help of a cartoonist, OMK is updating the Missions to the MAX! cartoon characters for web animation to breathe new life into the OMK website. Mr. Jason and Aunt Lora continue the long-honored tradition set by Aunt Julia to find new ways for kids to grow their missionary hearts through the ministries of OMS.