Involving Your Children In Adult Ministry Projects

Talk to any Christian parent of adult children actively engaged in serving and ministering to others and they will tell you they involved their children in their ministry projects from almost infancy. Their children grew up serving and sharing their faith with others as much of their identity as other family priorities. Why? Because not only did their parents live their faith on a daily basis, they included them in their personal ministry in age appropriate ways as early as the toddler years.

Now if you weren’t raised in a home like that, you may wonder how it is even possible. How can parents include an eighteen month old in a project serving an inner city ministry or engage a three or four year old on a mission trip? It’s not only possible, but you may already know families doing that very thing who can help you do what they did. Until you identify them, here are some tips to get you started.

  1. What things are your children capable of doing? Can they hand you items? Move things from one place to another? Clean? Paint? Code a computer program or app? Knowing your children’s capabilities can make it easier to involve them in ways that benefit both them and the ministry project.
  2. What tasks are required to complete the ministry project? Older children and teens may be capable of completing tasks independently, while toddlers may only be able to assist you with one part of a task. When our daughter was barely over a year old, she would put cans from our church pantry shelves into a box to transport them to the urban ministry. Yes, I still needed to neaten them a bit, but she took an active role.
  3. Teach them skills they can use to help. Relatively young children can help with tasks that are more advanced if they are taught how to do them and given practice. For things like sewing or computer coding, you can even pay someone to teach them skills that interest them, but you yourself don’t have.
  4. Allow extra time and build in time for regular meals and rest times. The biggest mistake groups make when involving children or teens in service and mission work is that they push them too hard. When young people are hungry or tired, the behavior problems begin to surface and the entire project can become a nightmare. It’s better to take an extra few hours or days to complete a project with everyone well fed on healthy food and well rested. The results will be much better – both on the project and in making an impact on your children.
  5. Let them help in the planning process. Families with young adult children actively engaged in ministry from childhood often report that their children can plan and execute sophisticated ministry projects as teens and young adults. Why? Because their parents involved them in the planning process as children. Start out by giving them two acceptable options between which they can decide and that are part of the plan for the project. As they grow older, give them more ownership of the planning process. By their teen years, most will be capable of planning and executing at least a simple service project if they have been involved in planning with you since childhood.
  6. Let them meet and get to know the people they are serving as much as possible. Relationships make serving others more meaningful. Meeting and growing to love the people your family serves can lead to your children developing a passion for ministry that children who only do service projects where they never meet the people they served never develop.
  7. Spend time in reflection with them after a ministry project. What went well? What would you do differently next time? Did you have the outcome you expected? Why or why not? How did you see God working within the project to change or modify it as you went? What additional opportunities did God give you? What roadblocks did you encounter? Were they from God or Satan? How do you know? What do you do in each situation? Reflection helps them understand the thought processes needed in enhancing ministry projects and accomplishing the goals God has for them.

Involving your children in your ministry projects takes extra time and effort, but it is worth it to raise children who are actively involved in serving others and sharing their faith as adults.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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