Family service projects should be a staple of any Christian family. They give your kids a chance to actively serve others and share their faith. Service projects also give your family quality time together doing what God wants your family to be doing. It creates wonderful memories and impresses upon your kids that this is your family identity- serving God by serving people and sharing your faith with them.
Sometimes the service projects you see online can seem a bit overwhelming. Or maybe you have done a lot of the “random acts of kindness” and are looking for something a little different and fun. How about a “My Favorite Meal” project?
Gather your family together and think about people you may know or a place you can go to serve. Think of someone who may be struggling financially. Or maybe it is someone who is new to your area and you want to invite them to join you at church. Perhaps it is someone who lives alone and you worry they aren’t eating properly.
Once you have identified whom you want to help, the fun really starts. Give your kids a budget. They are to plan and buy the items for as many of their favorite meals as your budget allows. Try to think of menus that don’t require food that is refrigerated. The ingredients for a meal that feeds several people should only run a few dollars at the most. If your kids use coupons and watch for sales, they may be able to do several different meals for a few dollars.
Have your kids print out recipes for their favorite dishes. Consider including some disposable cooking pans in case your recipients don’t have any. Encourage your kids to come up with healthy menus, but don’t be afraid to include items to make a dessert.
Then gather the ingredients and recipes and package them up. It can be as simple as a cloth grocery bag (which if used in some stores can save people a little money) or as fancy as a gift wrapped box. Deliver your meals as a family. If it is someone you want to get to know better or is lonely, consider calling ahead and finding a time when you can cook and eat the meal together. (If you choose this option, prepare enough food so the recipient has plenty of leftovers.)
Consider putting a note with an encouraging scripture in with the ingredients. Write a favorite verse on the recipe. Invite recipients to attend your church. Tell them you just wanted to show them God’s love by serving them. If they have the means to pass on a meal to someone else, encourage them to do the same for others.
Have fun with your “Favorite Meal Project”. When it’s over, talk about your experience as a family. What went well? What would you do differently next time? How comfortable were your kids serving others or sharing their faith? What did they learn about God and His principles from the experience? Did they realize they need to grow spiritually in a specific area because of the experience?
Depending upon the age of your kids, the reflection time may be very short and basic or could evolve into a deep discussion. Either is fine, but your kids need to get into the habit of reflecting after they serve others and share their faith. End your reflection time with a prayer, sharing with God how your family feels and what they need help with in the future as they continue to grow and serve.