Children who serve WITH their families in a faith-based ministry, are more likely to stay connected to Christ and the church when they leave the home.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve shared some of my observations of families I’ve seen serve well together. And I’ve given some insight from these parents. But what do the kids think?
I interviewed a girl who regularly serves with her family in ministry. She started serving as a Large Group Teacher with her mom in 1st – 3rd grade Sunday school room in front of 100+ kids. Then, after tasting the blessing of serving, she stepped in to serving as a nursery volunteer once a month by herself.
Most recently, she traveled to a Costa Rican orphanage with her mom and sister. Through interviewing her, I observed some really insightful things.
Emma, 14 years old
“When getting ready to start serving together with my mom, I was (1) quite nervous at first, I was a little unsure. Now I’m all over it. I love coming to teach and also helping in the nursery every other week! Some of the kids really like me, and when they see me on Wednesdays or Sundays or whenever, they say hi and come to talk to me. It is SO CUTE!!! And (2) it makes me watch everything I say and do, which is good! I like to act, and along with acting, I do a lot of memorizing scripts, and have it word for word, and (3) this is teaching me to let go and have some fun with improvising! It is still an on-going process, but its improving. (4) I have learned that I am leader material, and I can’t use and abuse that like people in our history did. Serving in Costa Rica on a missions trip with many friends and families that go to Valley, (5) made me realize I am being called to work with orphans. I am glad I have served with my family because I know that I have them to lead me, and (6) it is a good experience for me to know what to do with my family someday.
Nerves. Yup…she has it right…nerves and feeling unsure is a part of serving. But praise God that she is in a position to overcome some of these fears at just 14 years old. (By the way, Emma, I still get nervous…nearly every time!)
Power of Example. Interesting that Emma said that serving, “…makes me watch everything I say and do…” She understands the power of her “position” in front of kids. She seems to understand the responsibility of leading. So much more is caught than taught. Good lesson. James 3:1 – “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Quite true.
You Don’t Need to be Perfect! In the Large Group Teaching role, she has been memorizing scripts word-for-word. However, she is developing a comfort level with her teaching role. She is loosening up and improvising a little. She is learning what we all need to remember – we do NOT have to be perfect; prepared, yes, but not perfect. It is and ongoing process of loosening up and offering our faulty and imperfect gifts to God for Him to use.
I am Leader Material. Did you read that?! Through serving with her mom, Emma now realizes that she is a leader in the making. This is powerful. Yes, Emma, you are a leader – right now.
Hear the Master Call. Here is a 14-year-old girl who has direction as a result of experiencing serving — first in Sunday School, then in the nursery and most recently overseas. It seems her realization that “I am being called” happened as a by-product of getting her feet wet and trying out this “serving thing”. Personally, I found my “calling” not by a mystical message written across the sky, but by being available and becoming active in different service capacities. My sense of calling happened at 24 years old…hers happened ten years earlier. That is pretty cool.
Legacy Training. Emma said, “…it is a good experience for me to know what to do with my family someday!” This is unbelievably powerful. Future generations are at stake. Interestingly enough, Emma’s mom told me, “It’s a blessing to me as a parent to see her serve God. I did not have this opportunity growing up.“ Jodi (generation #1) did NOT have a mom serving with her. Emma (generation #2) has a mom serving with her. Emma’s future kids (generation #3) have a greater shot at having service as a part of their lifestyle because of what Emma is experiencing…right now.
Word to the wise: serve with your kids.