Do you want your kids to follow Christ all the days of their life? There are no magic levers for parents to pull to ensure their child will walk with Christ. Yet, there are things we parents can do, while our kids are still under our roof, to lead our children to taste and see that God is worthy of their entire life. 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.
I interviewed a teenager girl who regularly serves with her family in ministry. Has family has served in the local church, with inner-city refugees, in overseas missions and so much more. Her thoughts are remarkable. Their family life is worthy of emulating, trust me.
Ashley, 17 years old
“Serving together as a family was very good and beneficial because (1) we had the same experiences and could relate to each other. Also, while serving together, we could (2) pray with people together. For instance, my mom and I talked to a sweet little Honduran boy with an extremely difficult life. We had the chance to comfort him, pray for him, and love on him. It was (3) great to see how God worked in that His mom accepted Christ as her savior while we were sharing with him. My mom and I still talk about him and pray for him. I have learned that we should constantly be serving God. (4) He has given us unique gifts to glorify in different ways. These became very apparent after serving with my family and a large group. It was a great experience to be with my family, other adults, and teenagers my own age. I would tell other parents that they should definitely serve with their kids on mission trips overseas or here in the States. It is a growing experience for families and brings them closer together. I appreciated having a large group with many people with whom I could interact.”
Common Experience. Ashley and her family have common experiences around which to relate. How many parents with 17-year-old daughters would give just about anything to have some type of common ground with their teenaged child? Think about this. They have stories, memories, emotions, tears of joy in the Lord and so much more – upon which to draw.
Praying Together. Matthew 18:19-20 says, ”Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Praying together is an intimate thing. Praying with your child, in a foreign country, on behalf of hurting and distraught children, must bring a smile to the heart of God. He is eager to answer. There is power in prayer. Ashley experienced this firsthand – with her very own mother. She partnered with God, partnered with her mom and she saw God work.
Part of the Harvest. There is nothing quite like witnessing the moment God draws someone to Himself. There is nothing like being present as someone, by God’s grace alone, is transferred from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of His beloved Son. The human rejoicing that occurred between mother, daughter and brand new sister in the faith was certainly an indelible statement of what is truly valuable to a 17-year-old girl. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves souls.” Matthew 9:37 says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Ashley’s parents led and modeled this highest value, and now she has her own, firsthand experience as a fruit-bearing laborer.
Unique Gifting. Through participation in real-life ministry, Ashley found she had gifts. Yet, equally as important, she saw OTHERS had gifts as well; unique gifts. Experientially understanding the beauty and diversity of the Body of Christ at a young age is priceless. We are all different, yet important. Serving alongside a large team showcases this essential truth in the safe context of her nuclear family.
Ashley has consistently seen what her parents viewed as valuable, both in words and deeds. As a result, she will likely hold those same things in high regard all the days of her life as well. Ashley is a 17-year-old, living guidepost for me as a parent. Her testimony shows a possible direction for me to lead my 9 and 6 year-old daughters… steering them toward worthy ends.
Read the powerful testimony of the other kids and families who have embraced serving together in this series.