Fun Service Learning Challenge for Families

It’s abundantly clear throughout the Bible that God expects His people to serve others. Yet many Christians are content with merely writing a check and letting someone else do their serving for them. I’m pretty sure (while every ministry could use more funds) that wasn’t all God had in mind.

Part of the problem is that many of us are oblivious to the world around us. Totally unaware that we have walked past someone crying or who is hurting in some way. When questioned about serving others, we confidently claim we don’t encounter people with needs. If you want your children to be the servants God wants them to be, you have to train them to be noticers and problem solvers.

There is a fun challenge you can do as a family to teach your kids how to better notice needs and meet them. It’s also graduated in difficulty so your kids can progress through increasingly difficult ways to serve others. By the time they have completed the challenge, your kids will be well on their way to not only noticing those who need serving, but also competently meeting those needs.

Start with the level that will stretch your kids service skills a bit. Once they are comfortable at one level, move up to the next. Some families can get through all of the levels in a few weeks, while others may take months or even years. The important thing is to serve regularly and consistently and challenge your kids to grow during every opportunity to serve others.

Here are the challenges at each level.

  1. Neighborhood (if you have very young children, you may even want to start with your family before tackling the neighborhood). Find ways to serve those on your street or in your neighborhood. It’s fine to be creative, but make sure the needs are what the neighbor needs and not what you want them to need! If you are going onto the property of someone to serve them, ask permission – especially if you don’t know them well.
  2. Town/Your part of town. Expand the challenge to beyond your neighborhood. You should try to get your kids to notice needs first, then approach the appropriate organizations to see if they are willing to let you help them. Because your kids aren’t as familiar with the locations or people they may be serving, this requires some growth. It may also require more creativity and problem solving skills.
  3. Another town or a part of your town unfamiliar to you. This requires meeting new people and finding out how things work best in an unfamiliar area that’s still relatively close to home.
  4. Another state or country. This is probably more appropriate if you have teens in your family. It requires more research before embarking on your service journey and navigating different areas, cultures, rules/laws and perhaps even languages. If your kids can research, plan and execute a service experience in another country, they are probably read to do independent complex projects serving others almost anywhere.

Don’t forget that Jesus almost always tied serving someone with teaching them about God. Work with your kids on also increasing their ability to have spiritual conversations with the people they encounter while serving.

You can also use these experiences to teach them about various nonprofit management skills like budgeting, long term planning, sustainability, fund raising and more. There are various place to find resources to help online.

Raising kids with servant hearts requires intentionality and a plan. This challenge can get you started.

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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