When I was a kid our church had over the road buses. Since my dad served on the staff at the church, he was called upon to drive for various trips and missions. One time in particular, I got to skip a Friday from school to take a bus trip to Kansas City, MO with him. On the way over it was just us in the big brand new empty over the road bus. It had two bathrooms and a sleeper compartment for the driver. Since it was a Mercedes and the instrument panel was in German, the speed was in kilometers. It made the trip interesting. I don’t remember much of what we did out there except have pizza in the motel room waiting for the group we were driving to get finished.
In addition to that trip, we always had the opportunity to go on retreats, mission trips, Sunday night pizza trips with youth groups and camps. Our lives were centered around faith and the church. And it was a blast!
I think it’s important for kids to have an opportunity to serve alongside their parents in ministry. Recently, we were setting up for a weekend conference and since it was a snow day, one of the guy’s sons was running around helping. My daughter always loves riding up and down the lift when we have it at church for special conference and event set ups. It’s a reminder to me of the importance of teaching, of building relationships and of modeling. Here are some thoughts about involving your kids in ministry with you:
It models community for our children to see us interact with others in ministry. One of the best ways to share the faith of Jesus is to be loving toward other adults around us as we work to accomplish a task together. And though it may not immediately cause a kid to desire to follow Christ, I know it at least supports the central message of faith. And on the flip-side, someone who can’t work well in a team of committed believers tends to give the gospel a black eye and it says more to a kid than we can imagine.
We don’t want to shield our children from the butting of heads that at times helps us to clarify, strengthen and make the end product better, but we do want to make sure that we are modeling community with others in the church.
Inviting your child into ministry with you means that you are teaching them. It doesn’t have to be in the church – though that is a great place. It can be where ever you are serving – community outreach, in your home, etc. You help them learn. One great by product of mission trips and service days is that kids learn all kinds of skills. I’ve heard it said that 80% of what kids learn in life they learn from home. That’s huge! That’s probably why so many business are taken over by sons and daughters. They have lived it and people trust them because of their name, their experience and their knowledge. As Christian parents, we should involve our kids in ministry with us because it teaches them about faith and about serving. And, as always, actions speak louder than words.
Get it in their blood. There’s something better than living for yourself and that is helping someone. Inspire them when you are together to live out life with a kingdom mindset! Stop to give a homeless person a meal. Help to serve at the church in ministry to the hurting. Invite the community to take part in some sort of event.
There’s no easier way to involve all generations than to serve together. Most projects have roles for all levels of skill. I have been on projects where I have been the gofer. Other times, I have been the key leader. In both cases, I was able to experience the richness of being around the group who was committed and ready to make it happen. Kids need to be around adults and adults need to be around kids. So many areas of the church (and life) – they are separated. Involving your kids in ministry helps bridge the gap.
We have been privileged to take our two children into all kinds of ministry settings – from conferences, to retreats, to camps. One day, my daughter got to join me on an ABC News Channel set to join a talk show talking about something at the church. We have been in outdoor ministries, motels and conferences centers. She has had the chance to join me in singing and has been involved with mission projects. She has been in the car or van when we stopped to hand a homeless person a bag of food. She was on a DVD with me as we sang a song for children’s ministry event. My younger daughter was with me as I led devotions for our church Upward program – she helped me hand out the Bible verse at the end. They get to go with my wife as works in the church nursery. And the list goes on.
Here are some ways to involve your kids in ministry with you:
1) Operation Christmas Child
2) Have them take posters with you around town.
3) Take them to the store with you when you buy meals for community dinners.
4) Take them with you to the church for projects like painting, cleaning, and door hangers.
5) Stick around after worship or before to help get things straightened up or ready.
Middle School and High School Children:
1) Take them on a mission trip.
2) Invite them to join you for special nights of men’s or women’s ministry events.
3) Take them with you to help mow the church yard or shovel snow.
4) Bring them with you on Sundays to help run a sound board or computer for worship.
5) Volunteer them for lifting, cleaning and special one time projects around church – be there with them as they help.