My husband and I want our children to learn to serve others. So much joy comes from focusing on the needs of others instead of on ourselves.
Serving together allows us to share our heart with our children while setting a good example for them to follow. Here are five ways families can fulfill this calling.
1. Minister in church. Since our oldest daughter is twelve, she is able to help me in the younger children's ministries in our church. She works with me in the two-and-three year old nursery and in the children's church program. Right now she is mostly observing, but as she gets older, she will able to lead songs, manage prayer time, and even teach the Bible lesson. Other areas of service could include setting up for church functions (potlucks, baby showers, etc.) and cleaning up afterwards, helping in Vacation Bible School programs, singing or playing instruments together, etc.
2. Reaching shut-in's, people suffering from illness, new mothers, etc. Children can help prepare meals for shut-ins or new moms who are in need of assistance, then go along to deliver it. They can make cards or craft a small gift, with parental help, for someone who's in the hospital.
3. Support missionaries. Currently, our family has two specific missionary families that we pray for daily and support in various ways. I have our daughters read the missionaries' prayer letters so that they can stay informed about their needs. From time to time we also do small projects to help the missionaries or contact them through e-mail or by writing letters.
4. Hospitality. This is a great opportunity to minister to others (and an area in which I'm weak!) From cleaning their room to preparing food for guests to sharing their toys with young visitors, our children can definitely be a help as we invite others into our home.
5. Cleaning Up. Whether in your neighborhood, at a church workday, or at an elderly person's home, all family members can rake leaves or do other yard work, pick up trash, clean outdoor surfaces, etc.
Do you have other ideas we could use as we learn to serve together?