Serving others is a major part of loving them like Jesus and being a disciple who makes disciples. You can’t walk with Jesus without serving other people, it just isn’t going to happen. You may not live a life out on the international mission field, or be a modern-day Mother Teresa but there are people you can serve and things you can do every day.
You may be sitting there thinking “Okay, I hear what you are saying. I need to be serving others if I am a follower of Jesus. But I have kids and a job and life. Where do I find the time?”
That is a great question and here is the answer. Serving looks different in different seasons of life. There are different things that can be done with your kids as they grow and develop to give them an introduction to what serving is all about. It doesn’t have to be a big showing thing. It can be making cookies for your neighbor, taking a meal to a family that needs it, making cards for kids in the hospital, making blankets, or volunteering at the local food pantry.
Serving others can also be praying for them every day, calling them to check-in, or sending a card in the mail. I think we complicate what service to others looks like and we become overwhelmed by how unattainable it feels. Or at least I do. Sometimes I convince myself that I need to do more because what I am doing feels really small. Serving my family is the main place I serve right now and it feels like it doesn’t count because it is my family.
But that is a lie. It counts so much. I mean, being a parent is the literal definition of having a servant’s heart. Often I am LITERALLY serving someone. Serving people breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Serving by making sure they have clean clothes. Serving by teaching them how to do household chores so my future in-laws won’t have to. Serving by reading to them, loving them, and disciplining them.
What about that isn’t serving? Sure, we can still serve outside of our home with our kids and that is a great thing to do, but don’t make the serving you are doing INSIDE your home small.
If you are wanting to do something with your kids to serve others, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Volunteer at the Food Pantry
If you have a local food pantry (most towns or at least counties do) it might be possible to serve there. They are usually looking for some help. For families with older kids, you might be able to actually help on days the pantry is open by keeping shelves stocked or bagging things up.
For younger families, ask about coming in on a day that they are closed to help stock and organize. You could also collect canned items for donations from your neighbors. That counts as serving too!
Make a Video for a Sick/Lonely Neighbor, Friend, Or Family
Anyone can do this. It doesn’t matter the age or stage, a fun, encouraging video can serve an emotional need for someone who has been sick, or moved to a new city and doesn’t know anyone.
Don’t underestimate the power of encouragement and reaching out to someone. Technology may get a bad rap but it is definitely handy with long distances or when it isn’t possible to visit someone in person.
So stop being camera shy and make someone’s day!
Cook for Someone
There are many reasons why one might cook for someone. They had a baby, there was some type of tragedy, someone is sick, an adoption or foster placement, or maybe you just know someone is having a rough week and you need to show up with lasagna.
It could be anything. This is a great way to get kids involved in serving. They can help prep or package the meal and they can DEFINITELY help deliver the meal.
You can also just randomly show up with some freezer meals and stock someone’s freezer for no reason! Try it out and see if it doesn’t serve someone by taking care of something we all need every day, FOOD.
Write a Letter
Write a letter and send it via snail mail. Even when we can send an email or text message there is something special and personal about a card or letter that is handwritten and sent to your physical mailbox.
And it teaches kids how to write, address, and mail a letter. It is an important skill that isn’t taught as much anymore.
Someone your kids could write to is a missionary from your church. Our church has missionaries and many of them have children. It would be a great way to serve them by sending some encouragement via the old pony express.
There are so many ways that you can serve with your kids. Even ways that may not seem like serving but they are. So get creative and include your kids in the conversation. Ask them what they would like to do or what they think their strengths are and see how you can use that to serve.
Are you looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marthe Durosier email@example.com
Molly Pontius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Kirby: email@example.com