Kids Can Serve Their Local Church
Love Does author Bob Goff writes, “God isn’t dazzled when we go across the ocean, He is wowed when we go across the street.” While international mission service is vital, we must be cautious not to glamorize foreign missions over local/church service opportunities.
What better training ground for children, than to serve in our local congregations? Mission or project giving is a foundational building block to cultivating a life of service. However, each week we are given the opportunity to introduce “service” lessons allowing our kids a hands-on experience.
Lesson plans, visual teaching aids, Bible memory verses, and activities are a vital part of children’s ministries. But why not add a “serve” element to your curriculum or lesson? Here are some ideas that will engage your kids to serve the church.
Allow each child to contact a church leader and shadow them during a Sunday morning. This will give the children a behind the scenes view of how each leader can serve the church with his or her responsibility. Include as many ministry departments as possible:
- Clerk & Treasurer
- Church Hostess/Hospitality
- Women’s & Men’s Ministry Leaders
- Musicians/Praise & Worship Team
Allow the kids to take an active role in assisting the respective ministry leader.
In many congregations, bused kids have never known the love and wisdom of a grandparent. Many grandparents have relocated and miss the opportunity to spend time with a family member. Take a photo of each senior member that is willing to participate. Once a quarter, invite the children to escort their adopted grandparent into the sanctuary. They may present them with a small token of love, and perhaps gift them a handmade card or picture.
All children to serve in housekeeping roles around the church facility, assigning the kids one specific task for each Sunday. While this service opportunity may need extra supervision, it would be a wonderful reminder of the sacrifice necessary to maintain a well-kept sanctuary.
Station kids with adults to open doors, greet, and hand-out church bulletins to those entering church services. Teach them to be kind and to welcome new kids and families. If your church gifts welcome bags, offer to let the children’s ministry stock the bags.
Many congregations have families that need extra assistance. Invite your kids to be “secret agents of service” and bring in a pantry food item, stuffed animal, or clothing item to assist those in need. This gives kids a wonderful opportunity to share the added blessing of serving someone anonymously.
The opportunities for our kids to serve in church are as vast and unique as each congregation. Don’t limit their ability and willingness to serve. Be sure to place value on each service opportunity from custodian to pulpit.
As a parent or leader, seek for ways to be an example of service, generosity, and compassion. If you cannot think of ways, ask your child or children’s ministry what ways they want to serve the church.
Growing up in the church, I have vivid memories of standing in the front of the church on “Mission Sunday.” From time to time, our children’s ministry leader would ask a young lady to assist with the offering as an “usherette.” I was thrilled when my time came and even tried to convince the shy kids to let me have their turn.
Standing in the front of the congregation with shiny, black patent leather shoes, a yellow eyelet dress, bouncy black curls and white gloves with tiny pearl buttons, I took my responsibility serious. As my tiny hands clutched the wooden offering plate, I may have lingered a little longer than normal at each pew, especially those who didn’t drop something in the offering plate. The opportunity to serve as a six-year-old has resulted in more than forty years of Christian service.
Serving may not come natural to everyone, but it is a biblical mandate. I Peter 4:10 tells us that “each (that’s kids and adults) has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
God has specifically gifted each of us with talents and abilities so that we may serve others. Teach your children’s ministry to wow God as they serve in the church.
—Michelle Brooks-Young, KidServe Coordinator. Learn more at www.cogop.org/children/KidServe