Kids Can Serve Their World!
Earlier this year, our church chose to help a pastor in Myanmar start a goat farm for their congregation to become self-supporting. The week before the project was introduced to the congregation, I had the opportunity to teach to our preschool class about Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to help rebuild the walls of the city. We talked about ways we can be a helper at home (picking up our toys); how we can help at our church (passing out water bottles at an upcoming consignment sale); and ways we can help people around the world that we may never see (the Give-A-Goat project). We talked about goats and goat farms, how this would help the people have money for food and other things they need and how we can give money to help. The children set a goal of $54. I thought that was a little ambitious for 10 preschoolers but none the less, that was our goal.
The next morning at the weekly men’s prayer breakfast, my husband was asked by one of the fathers about buying goats for God. He shared with the group about the project and the next Sunday the project was introduced to the entire congregation. One mother talked to her 2 preschoolers about how they could earn money for the project. They made goat-milk soap and sold it, raising over $80. The elementary kids had a bake sale. Within a month the entire church came together and raised enough money for the startup cost of the goat farm. Why? Because they were moved with compassion.
What is “compassion?” Compassion is sharing the hurts of another and wanting to help. First, I see the need. Second, I care about the need. And third, I want to help meet the need.
In her book, Unwrapping the Servant, Tina Houser says, “People get an impression of what God is like by the way we serve others” (p. 126).
Discipling children to have a heart for serving others should start at an early age. The brain develops fastest between the ages of 3-5 years old. It’s the best time for compassion to become part of, what I like to call, a “child’s spiritual DNA.” A lot of life application activities in preschool lessons focus on being kind and serving others. We often ask, “Does that make you happy or sad?” and “How can you help your family?” or “What can you do to help?”
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-39, NIV.)
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw that people had compassion as part of their spiritual DNA, loving their neighbors. We saw companies donating to help support essential workers. We saw families rally around neighbors to help with grocery shopping. We saw children with compassionate hearts. We saw a report on the news of a mother and daughter at a truck stop handing out snack packs to truckers. We saw children making signs to thank their postmen and women, We saw kids encouraging friends and grandparents on zoom meetings.
Compassion and caring did not happen overnight. It was a part of people’s character. Prayerfully ask God how you can raise up a generation of children who see a need; care about the need; and want to help meet the need.
Resources to Help Kids Serve their World:
Unwrapping the Servant: Teaching Kids to Serve Jesus and Others by Tina Houser
Living on the Edge: A Six Week Curriculum Series for Elementary Children, DVD/CD by Chip Ingram
Kids Serving Kids Mission Kit 1: Tales of the Not Forgotten
Mission Kit 2: Tales of the Ones He Won’t Let Go
Service Projects Preschoolers Can Do by Group Publishing
- Contributor: Kathy Green, Nursery Coordinator, Keith Street Ministries