When teaching children to serve God, help them understand that they often serve him by serving others. No matter the age of your children, you can find activities that will teach them to serve God and serve others. Explain the meaning behind what you are doing. You will give your kids skills they can use to serve God's purpose in their everyday lives.
Take your children to a local park to remove litter. If your kids do not fully understand how they are serving God by picking up trash, explain to them that God created everything and gave it to them to tend. By making public areas visually appealing, they are honoring God by helping others enjoy the beauty of his creation. Extend this activity by encouraging your children to help members of your community who may need help pulling weeds, mowing their lawn or anything else that makes their world visually appealing.
Helping the Least
In Matthew 25, Jesus says that whatever we do for the least of his people, that is what we have done for him. Find activities such as helping at a local shelter, volunteering at your community food pantry or anything else they can think of to help those in need. Explain to them that Jesus has told us that if we do not help those in need, it is just as if we have turned our backs on God.
Place an empty chair in front of your youth group. Ask the children to think of one person who needs to be sitting in that chair. Christians are called to reach out to non-believers and those whose faith is failing them at the time. Once the children have thought of someone, ask them to make an invitation for that person to come to the next youth group. This teaches children the importance of serving God by sharing his word and his kingdom with as many people as they can.
Find a blank wall to turn into a wall of prayer. Teach your kids the importance of praying for others rather than focusing on their own desires and needs. On one side of the wall, have kids tape prayers for those in need and on the other side, ask the children to write down something for which they are thankful. Teach children to pray as a way of praising God and relying on him when things seem hopeless.
A Giving Heart
Organize a movement in your church to adopt a child or mission in a foreign country. Explain the hardships that others face and encourage children to donate their spare change or a portion of their allowance to help someone else. The reason adopting a child is effective is that kids feel like they form a bond with the person receiving the money through letters they exchange. In one Wisconsin church, the youth group students have become so involved with their adopted student that they recently had children asking their families to make donations rather than buy them gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Kids have compassionate hearts you can nuture to protect them from becoming jaded by challenging life situations.
- The $5 Youth Ministry; Todd Outcalt; 2009
Heather Heinzer is a freelance writer from Wisconsin. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and has been featured in "Parents for Parents" magazine. She is planning to return to the University of Wisconsin-Rock County to obtain a degree in communications.
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