Every person has vital signs like their heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. These items are vital to life. In the same sense there are certain elements that we consider a vital piece to the spiritual life and growth of the children. The following nine elements are found in each of our books to aid the children in their spiritual development:
1. Missionary Element - A strong emphasis has been placed in each one of the books on missions. Each year the books follow a different missionary through the country that they ministered in. Throughout the book, the missionary writes letters to the children updating them on what has been accomplished in the country during his or her ministry there. The children learn not only about their particular missionary, but also about mission work in general. A number of exciting events and wonderful things that Lord did in the missionaries’ life are recorded for the children to read. Each letter also has some questions about the events described in the letter for the children to answer.
2. Fruit of the Spirit Element - Each book also emphasizes a specific Fruit of the Spirit or character trait of the believer. All of the memory verses that the child learns within the book will be about this fruit or character trait. Application is also made into how the missionary displayed this fruit in their life and how the child can grow into a great soldier in the army of the Lord.
3. Exploring Element - Throughout the books, the children stop and set up camp in the books just like you would on a real adventure. There are ten camp sites in each book. The children must complete all of them in order to finish the book. These pages inform the child of their current position in the Expedition. As they complete each camp site, they receive a sticker on the back cover of their book to mark their progress. These camp sites along with other pages in the books give the children a little more information about the country that they are exploring. Not only will they learn scripture and missions in the book, but just like a real missionary they get to learn about other places and cultures as well.
4. The Devotional Element - The Bible is very descriptive about how Christians out to meditate on the scripture. In Expeditions we have been careful to place a very high emphasis on the understanding of what the verse teaches rather than just how many verses one can memorize. The verse is explained and then the children are given questions to answer from the devotional and verse which encourages them to read and truly understand and apply the content of the verse. We want to make sure that the children not only know God's Word, but that they also know how it applies to their lives.
5. Review Element - Back Tracks are used in the books as a built-in-review to ensure that children remember the verses that they are learning. Many children are guilty of the "stuff and flush" mentality. They stuff the verses in and then flush them out of their mind once they have said them to the leader. These review pages occur right before each camp site in the book. They allow the leader to choose one of the verses that the child has learned since the last camp site and the child has to be ready to say it. The more times a child says a verse, the better chance it will stay with them. At the end of each book there is also an entire review section which will review verses and information about the missionary, the country, and other information learned on the Expedition.
6. Outreach Element - Missionaries bring others to Christ. Each book contains an outreach page to encourage the children to invite their friends to Expeditions. It focuses on the fact that they too can be a missionary right now in their own community.
7. Scripture Search Element - God's Word is the map for the Christian. Though the children are learning and memorizing much of God's Word in the program, it is equally important that they know how to read the map. The scripture searches encourage the children to learn to navigate their way through various books of the Bible. It is the first step in training them to find the answers to what they are facing in life in God's Word.
8. Prayer Element - These pages are designed to get children involved in praying for missionaries and others around them. It is vital that children learn to pray. Prayer is a key element that is found in every missionary's life in the Expeditions program. No child is too young to learn to pray. This section offers the leader or parent an opportunity to help a child learn to pray.
9. Fun Element - Children like to have fun and play games. These pages are in the books simply to add a fun side to the books. All of the games also reinforce something about the Fruit of the Spirit, the country, or the missionary of the book.