by Nina Durning/ November 2, 2017
“What needs to be done?” This is one of the most powerful questions you can ask children when challenging them to bring their faith to action.
Every children's pastor, leader, or worker has a desire to see the kids they teach become Christlike servants and become a part of ministry. It is a strong part of their faith development and understanding of God’s love when kids actively participate in ministry.
1 Timothy 4:12 states, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (NIV). Our kids can have an incredible impact in their home, community, church, and missions. We just have to allow them the opportunity to do what needs to be done and to be the examples of Christ that He desires them to be.
So how can we help our kids serve God and others? Here are three ways:
1. Involve our kids in church ministry.
The church is one of the best places for kids to become involved in ministry because it is a safe environment for growth. We can give our kids opportunities to serve the people in our church family without having the pressure of perfection put on them. We want our kids to serve in the ways that they best know how, and that requires allowing them to make mistakes along the way. You can give kids opportunities to serve in productions, such as Easter or Christmas programs. If your church does a play or something special for those services, get the kids involved! Let them sing a song, or play a musical special.
You can also have the kids who are very friendly be your “first impressions” team for kids’ church. Have them greeting kids at the door and making the other kids feel welcome. This also allows for your regular attenders to become buddies to first-time visitors. If a child comes for the first time who doesn't know anyone, your first-impressions team can serve as “first friends” for that new child; and they should spend the entire service with the newcomers. This immediately gives your first-time visitor a more comfortable feeling about returning for a second visit.
You can also use your kids throughout the kids’ church services. There may be kids in your ministry who have a heart and passion for prayer, or running media, or leading worship songs. Offer those opportunities to your kids, and watch them flourish in service!
2. Involve our kids in community outreach.
Many opportunities are available to enable our kids to realize there are lost people in our communities who need Jesus. Giving our children the chance to minister in nursing homes, in food pantries, or in soup kitchens helps them see the heart of Jesus for the poor. When our children see those who are less fortunate than themselves, it becomes an opportunity for teaching thankfulness and giving. Opening environments for kids to serve those in their community also stretches their boldness in sharing their faith in Christ.
We need to be coaching our children in evangelism, giving them every opportunity to share their faith with those around them. When they successfully share their faith, it builds confidence in their beliefs and ability to follow Jesus’ call to tell the world about Him. Community outreach helps your kids ask the question, “What needs to be done?” and then to engage in some action that will answer the question. We want our kids to be the “hands and feet of Jesus,” so give them opportunities to do that in their community.
3. Involve our kids in missions through BGMC.
BGMC teaches kids to pray, to give (of their time, talents, and offerings), and to go (being the “hands and feet of Jesus”). The “go” part of BGMC offers our children the chance to serve missionaries and people around the world. When we give our kids the chance to give to missions, we present a need to them that they can help to meet! It empowers our kids to find creative ways to raise money for the kingdom of God.
BGMC creates in children a heart for giving by teaching them about the needs of people around the world—giving them the mindset of Christ to “go into all the world” making disciples. Make BGMC fun! Have contests for BGMC giving. Hold BGMC fundraisers in your church, allowing the chance for the kids to run the event. Show your kids their direct impact through BGMC by Skyping with missionaries and telling them true stories of how their giving helped. Make missions real for our kids, and watch them thrive in serving the Lord in their giving.
This all begins with you and me. We need to realize that the kids in our ministries are ministers themselves!
It’s back to 1 Timothy 4:12: Don’t let anyone look down on the kids because they are young. Set an example for these young believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. If you haven’t done so yet, begin now. Encourage your kids to be ministers of God’s love and Word!