A great way to help your kids understand the biblical concepts of serving others and sharing your faith, is by serving others as a family. The concept may sound overwhelming, or even scary.
With a little preparation though, it can become a treasured family memory in addition to strengthening the faith foundations of your kids.
Of course, the easiest way to serve together as a family is to participate in service projects and/or mission trips with your congregation. You can also search through non- profit data bases to find organizations who are looking for volunteer help. Find someone to help that resonates with your family – there really are so many options.
Once your family has decided whom you want to serve, keeping these 5 tips in mind will help your kids get maximum spiritual impact from the experience.
- Tie your service and faith sharing to scripture. How you do this will depend a lot upon the age and spiritual maturity of your kids. Young ones may enjoy hearing a story of how someone in the Bible served in a similar way. Or perhaps you all want to learn a couple of verses about serving others. Older kids may want to study in more depth – perhaps scriptures about what our attitudes should be when serving others. The goal is to help your kids understand the connection between God and serving others.
- Involve your kids in the planning stages. This is important because it will help your kids take personal ownership of what you are going to do. Planning will also help develop the part of the brain your kids use to make decisions. The more planning they do, the more this area of the brain can grow and mature – improving the chances your kids will make better choices.
- Encourage your kids to help with problem solving. Does the place you want to serve, not like to use kids? Is the person you want to help not available the day your family can go? Whatever the problem, involving your kids in the problem solving will also develop their servant- leadership skills.
- Create ways for your kids to interact with the recipients of your service. Kids often do service projects where they make or collect something to serve others, but then never meet the people who receive it or even see a photo of the people they helped. Interaction with recipients will add meaning to the project. The people will become real people with real stories – not someone who may or may not exist.
- Provide opportunities for reflection after your family has served. Kids are interesting. You are never quite sure what they learn from an experience – unless you encourage them to share it. Reflection will give you an opportunity to correct misunderstandings and answer any questions they may have about the experience. In some ways, it’s as valuable to the experience as the actual service.
Take advantage of opportunities for your family to serve others. It will help your family grow closer, teach your kids important biblical truths, create great family memories and help strengthen the faith foundations of your kids. It’s definitely worth the time and effort.