Supersize your children’s ministry service projects with these 8 awesome ways to serve your church, families, and community!
Our goal might be to raise up kids with servants’ hearts. But with the time and resources we have on hand, it’s not always easy to fit kid-shaped service into our ministry efforts. Is that because we feel like every service project must be “XXL”? The truth is, Jesus loves and honors service of every size. As we model aid and encouragement in our ministries, kids learn that service is a way of life, not necessarily just a single event. Here are eight service ideas in every size that show kids a variety of ways they can serve the people in their lives.
1. Service to Church Leaders
Church leaders’ lives are defined by service. So let’s help our kids do two things: be more aware of how much those leaders actually serve them—and practice giving back through service.
Small: Simple Weekly Charge Most leaders will tell you that they hear more complaints than appreciation, so get your kids in the habit of showing appreciation by giving them one simple charge weekly. For example, have them find a leader to give a high-five, smile, or thank-you to. Simple gestures say a lot. Highlight different leaders in your church each week, but encourage children to show appreciation to any leader of their choice. Highlighting various leaders’ service to kids will make kids more aware of people who serve them. Letting kids choose which leaders to thank encourages authenticity. Before you share the weekly charge, read aloud 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, and give kids time to pray about who to approach that week. Sometimes just the effort to show appreciation is an act of service.
Large: Picnic for My Pastor Ronald McDonald House Charities has an excellent model for serving families in need. Groups can go into Ronald McDonald Houses and prepare a meal for families who are staying there due to a child’s long-term illness. And once the meal is prepared, groups have an opportunity to eat with the families. This model could easily be translated to a kid-friendly way of honoring your pastors and their families.
After the Sunday morning services, why not prepare a picnic for your pastors and their families?
Ahead of time, you’ll have kids do all the prep work to serve. Before you start, help kids understand why they’re serving by reading aloud Mark 10:45. Ask: • What are some ways our pastors serve us? • What are some reasons we want to serve our pastors, too?
After you complete your discussion, make sure kids wash their hands and use gloves. Kids can work in an assembly line to make sandwiches, adding side dishes of fresh fruit and veggies, chips, and cookies.
As soon as kids have served the pastors and their families, have kids join them. This will be a special and intimate time for your kids to get to know their pastors and their pastors’ families.
2. Service to People in Need
Some of your children may understand very well what it means to be in need, and others may not. Either way, we can cultivate compassion in kids when we help them learn about the real needs of those in our communities and around the world.
Small: Two Colorful Gifts in One Share with children how Tabitha was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor in Acts 9:36-39. Then explain to kids that they can do something kind and colorful for kids in need. Briefly help kids understand some reasons children might be in the local hospital, and invite kids to tell about kids they know who’ve been sick.
Invite each child to carefully color in the first page of a new coloring book and then write or dictate a short message to the child who’ll receive the entire coloring book. Pray together for the recipients of the coloring books, and then deliver them to your local hospital along with boxes of crayons.
Large: Ready Aid Have kids make care packages for people who are asking for help on street corners.
You’ll need: a Bible, index cards, pens, large plastic resealable bags, and items to include such as water bottles, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, small packs of gum, soft snack bars or packages of cracker sandwiches, deodorants, plastic bandages, packages of tissues, and antiseptic wipes
Read aloud Romans 12:13. Say: Today we’ll make care packages so we’re ready to help people at any time.
Invite kids to share about people in need they’ve seen, possibly people holding signs or verbally asking for help.
Have kids set up and use an assembly line to make at least three care packages per child. Give kids each three index cards, and have them write or draw encouraging messages to put in each bag. Send the bags home with families, explaining that they can keep them in their cars to give out as needed.