Jan 2024 childrens blog Serving Together
Missions Discipleship

Challenge Families with Children to Serve in Community Ministries

Now that the Christmas decorations have been put away and we’ve had our fill of festivities and celebrations, it’s a good time to remember that the ministries serving people in your community haven’t taken a break. Poverty, hurt, and need never take a day off.

While many people may have turned their minds toward these ministries during the holiday season by giving or volunteering, are they still helping in January or February?

Challenge the families of your missions discipleship group to work together to help ministries in your community at a time when others may not.

Help Parents Know Where to Start

Give parents an idea of where to get started. Some families may be well acquainted with ministries in your community and how to help, but others may be new to the idea.

Direct parents to your local Baptist association. They can provide contact information to local, proven ministries so families can learn how to best be of service. These may include ministries that help veterans, food pantries, homes that serve children and families in need of foster care or adoptions, senior centers, soup kitchens or homeless shelters, ministries serving in local schools, etc.

While some ministries need volunteers (and most ministries have options for one-time volunteer opportunities up to as much as you are able to help), others may need donations like clothes, canned goods, laundry supplies, etc. If they need both, encourage families to donate the needed supplies and also volunteer, so they can see how their donations are being used to share the gospel.

Ways Parents Can Debrief with Children

For the families in your missions discipleship group willing to take on this challenge, provide ideas for parents so they can debrief the experience with their children. This may be in the form of questions parents can ask over dinner, such as:

    • How did you feel when you knew we were going to help at the ministry?
    • What did you think your experience at the ministry would be like?
    • What was something you saw or experienced at the ministry you didn’t expect?
    • What was something you saw or experienced at the ministry you really liked?
    • Was serving at the ministry easy or hard?
    • How did serving at the ministry make you feel?

Support, Encourage, and Pray for Parents

Remind parents that hands-on experiences led by their example are a very effective way to show children how we are to live as Christians in our community. If we want our children to live lives on mission for Christ, we — as parents — must also live on mission for Christ.

Some of the parents in your group may not have had that example from their parents growing up, and it may be new for them as well. Make sure they know you are available to help them through the process or even to help them debrief. Be prepared to answer their questions, and be sensitive if there are parents who are not Christians. Use the experience — or even the challenge — as an opportunity to have conversations about Jesus with them!

Pray expectantly for your parents, and encourage them to pray as a family for the ministry and the people they served. God can use that one experience to plant a love of missions and service in their life. There is no telling what God will do!

Sarah Murray is the design editor for children’s resources at WMU.