It started out as just a reaction to not getting her way; however, as the scenario continued, the pouting soon turned to crying. The people surrounding the incident uncomfortably tried ignoring the scene that was developing. The frazzled man was doing his best to console and find a solution without giving in to the poor behavior. When crying didn’t change the circumstance, the volume increased, and a full-blown temper tantrum erupted. To the relief of everyone present, the husband finally told his wife: “Margret, you’re causing a scene! If you don’t behave we are going home!” We may chuckle at the humorous twist of realizing that the tantrum was an adult, but the truth is that behaviors from childhood will carry into adulthood. Just as tantrums corrected in childhood make healthy adults, teaching servanthood to children makes outward focused Christians.
One of the 8 Goals for Kids promoted by the Assemblies of God is that every child who is a follower of Christ should be actively serving. The concept of serving goes against everything our me-first culture practices. From birth through adulthood, the natural default is to take care of one’s self first. Yet, few things have potential to impact and influence our culture more than putting the needs of others above our own. In Mark 10:45, Jesus gives us His perspective when He says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (NIV).
One of the most effective ways to combat the cultural mind-set is by modeling a life of service. It’s important that serving isn’t just something that we do as a project. While there is value to doing a service project, teaching our children to have an attitude of service ensures that serving isn’t an item we put on our “to do” list. Serving can happen in the small ways we interact with one another. Serving is putting the needs of others ahead of ourselves. Serving is being God’s hands extended to those around us. Serving helps us to remember we are not our own. We are stewards of the time and money and other resources we have. Using them to bless others and helping them to know God causes faith to grow.
Here are four ways to help a child develop a mind-set of servanthood:
1. Be willing to do menial tasks.
A servant is one who is often in the background and doesn’t receive recognition for his acts of service. Many times, no one will even know everything a person with a servant heart does. This person will simply help with whatever is needed to get the job done—sticking around after class to clean up the room, setting up or putting away chairs, helping the leader in ways that aren’t glamorous or noticed. These acts don’t get many accolades here on earth, but God who sees what is done in secret will reward you (see Matthew 6:4).
2. Be Available.
A servant is one who must be available when the master calls. Life can get very busy—mostly with the things we want to do. Needs very rarely come up at opportune times. In our non-stop culture, it’s easy to get so busy with our own needs and wants that we can easily become self-absorbed. Greatness in God’s economy is being a servant first. In our home and at church, we made it a point to help in areas we didn’t have a direct role in. We wanted our children to know that serving was important even if our work didn’t directly benefit us. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10, NIV).
3. Be Observant.
A servant is one who sees a need and responds to it. While He walked this earth, Jesus often saw the needs around Him that many others walked right by. He looked for ways to bless others. This step is important in that it helps us listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who often will encourage us to act or pray on behalf of someone with a need.
One day my daughter was riding with me as I pulled off an exit ramp near our home. While waiting for the light, she observed a man on the corner with a cardboard sign asking for food. “Shouldn’t we give him something to eat?” she asked. I hadn’t even noticed him as there were often homeless people at that intersection. I started to give her all the reasons why we shouldn’t, and why we didn’t have time, and why … when the Holy Spirit stopped me. Realizing my callousness, I apologized and commended her for seeing the need. We stopped, bought him a combo meal, and went back to minister to him physically and spiritually.
4. Do more than you are asked to do.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught if asked to carry a load a mile you should take it a second mile. Our culture is governed often by doing enough to get by or no more than necessary. A true servant will have a mind to help and then bless even more! In Royal Rangers, a mentoring ministry for boys, a common adage is, “Leave things better than you found them.” It’s very common to hear reports of how borrowed vehicles were returned washed and waxed, or if one was hired to cut grass that bushes were also trimmed and the trash picked up. As young men are learning to be Christlike men, they realize Jesus’ nature was always to do more.
Jesus demonstrated the value of servanthood right up to the end of His life when He washed the feet of the disciples. Active service is a practical and effective way to help our kids bring their faith to life—period.
Want to explore additional goals for your children’s ministry? Visit our 8 Goals for AG Kidmin.
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