What does your child absolutely love to talk about when he or she has the chance? Do your kids have a hobby that they participate in every free minute? Do they ask for supplies for an interest for every gift giving occasion? Chances are these are your child’s passions.
Now if you have had a child for very long, you have learned childhood is often about rapidly shifting interests and passions. Actually, that’s great because it is allowing your kids to experiment with lots of different possible gifts from God. Often, it’s not until they actually try something that they may find they have a talent for it.
For some kids, it is easy for them to find their gifts from God and their passions. Others may need to try a lot of different things before they find what those gifts and passions really are. Your kids may need your help in identifying their true strengths.
Some parents are great with helping their kids find out what they are good at and love doing. Unfortunately, that’s where it stops for many families. Some may take it an extra step or two and encourage their kids to take lessons from professionals or even consider it as a possible future career option.
Rarely though, do you meet parents who help their kids find ways to channel those gifts and passions into serving God. Which is sad, because that is the primary purpose for which your kids were given those gifts.
And churches aren’t much better at incorporating the talents of young people into how the church serves others – unless it is in the area of performance arts (and even then, there is no guarantee). No wonder most young people take their gifts and use them in secular ways – having no idea God meant for them to also serve others and share their faith with those same gifts.
So how can you help your kids learn how they can use their gifts and passions to serve God?
- Search for other Christians already using those same gifts to serve God. If your child’s gift is unique, it may take a Google search, but start asking around at church. People with the same gift may be excited to help mentor your child and include him or her in the ways they serve God with that gift.
- Be creative. Start brainstorming with your child. You may come up with a bunch of ideas that seem ridiculous at first and that’s okay. Often those seemingly silly ideas, will spark the idea that works. You may also have a few ideas that don’t work well at first, but after refining them, become a vibrant ministry.
- Check if the gift could help a larger ministry. Many ministries have skill sets they need, but can’t find people who have them. They may not advertise these needs openly. Don’t be afraid to ask ministries if they have a need for your child’s gift in what they are doing.
Helping your kids find ways to serve God using their gifts and passions is a process. Some young people will find an early and immediate connection. For others, it may take years for them to understand God’s plan for using their gifts to serve Him.
Encourage all of your kids to keep developing their gifts. Help them find ways to serve God in little ways while they may be waiting to find other more encompassing ways of serving God with their gifts.
Realizing God gave them gifts to serve Him and using them will help your kids find purpose in God’s plan for them. It will help them find connection to their congregation as they realize they really are a part of the body – needed as much as anyone else. Those are two key parts of helping your kids grow to become active, productive Christians as adults.