In Children’s Ministry, we are to partner with parents to guide kids toward a HEART for God. There are 5 elements that support that definition, including:
The fourth element we need in our Children’s Ministries is: Real Service.
5 Elements For Children’s Ministry: Real Service
The Bible is littered with stories of children serving:
- Samuel in the Temple
- The servant girl in the story of Naaman
- Daniel & hi buddies
- Joseph & David as teenagers
- Josiah as the King
- Oh yes, Jesus was serving others by teaching in the Temple at age 12
- _____________________ (fill in the blank from your own experience!)
Real Service is where children (or any of us) put practical application to their faith.
In 2008 my family had the incredible opportunity to head to South Africa & Swaziland. We did children’s ministry training in Swaziland. On the last day we made a spur of the moment decision to go out into the village and get the kids and let the people we were training (local children’s ministry leaders) “practice” some of the principles we had taught them. So we went out and started inviting kids to the church. Little did I know that my own two sons, Taylor (then 12) & Garret (then 10) would be the most impactful of all of us. They made instant connections with the local children, were the key to bringing them in, participated in telling Bible stories, and even shared the Gospel with some of the kids during snack & play time. My sons – children – served the local children in ways that none of us adults could do.
The same can be true in our churches.
In his terrific book, Rock Solid Kids, Larry Fowler (available here) talks about the benefits of children serving. He lists the following:
- Relevance –they apply their faith
- Acceptance – they feel part of the church
- Influence –other children are greatly affected
- Motivation – they are spurred on to more learning
- Permanence – they are less likely to abandon their faith
- Strength – families are strengthened when they serve
- Fruit – parents (& others) are reached when others are ineffective
As Kidmin leaders, we have an amazing opportunity to be part of strengthening a child’s faith by providing Real Service opportunities. Be creative and look through a new lens at what is being done in your church – can a child be trained how to do it? If so, get kids involved. What can families participate in? It can be anything from a major Saturday event or a Christmas gift drive – or how about asking families to participate in visiting other sick children? – down to a small one-time act of service even within their own home.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we were saved BY grace THROUGH faith. Unfortunately, we often leave our verse 10…the why of our salvation… FOR good works – Real Service! This applies to our children as well.