I write this article firstly knowing that my own ministry needs more of this. We have done a great job at modelling selflessness and sacrifice with mission projects in the past, and so often it feels like you just don’t have time. But how easy a way to show Christ’s love to our community and our kids.
Parents, most kids are eager to help others and so tap into that. But make sure to explain that the innate desire they have to love people is part of God’s plan and that our motivation is to share that with other people, that they might come to know Him and feel His love.
Our church, like most churches, has scheduled mission weeks, collections for great missions programs, does Operation Christmas Child, Compassion and more. It’s all great, but we are missing the mark if we stop there.
I was reading a book by Jana Magruder, LifeWay Kids’ director, and something she recalled from earlier in her life struck me as total genius. In her church, they didn’t have a fall festival or Halloween event. Instead, they encouraged people to do their own in their own communities. Wow. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that? She explains the reasoning and it all seems logical – people willingly will turn up at your house and knock on your door. What once started, she reminisces, as a faithful church family grilling hot dogs to give out on their front lawn with tables and chairs set up for kids and parents as they stopped by has spanned over a decade and turned into a whole block party. Imagine the opportunities if you were to build relationships with your neighbors in such a way?
Now, it doesn’t have to be that extravagant, in fact in the beginning it wasn’t. But think of tangible ways you can model the importance of loving others to your kids and go do it. Talk about why you’re doing it. Pray together about it. If your goal is to disciple your kids so that they will disciple others, then what better activity could you do together?
Here are some ideas:
- Bake cookies for first responders and deliver them to their station
- Hand out water in the park on a hot summer’s day
- Collect toiletries for your local homeless shelter
- Donate diapers to a pregnancy center
- Collect canned goods to give to a charity that works with homeless people
- Mow the yard of your elderly neighbor
I’d encourage you to think of what your community needs. Listen to your kids, they may have some great ideas! Get a few families together and make a difference. Acts of service open the door to sharing Jesus. Teach your kids the importance of loving others and sharing why:
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
– Jared Simpson