the shape of leadership

Five Reasons to Encourage Kids to Serve

Involving young members of your congregation

Influence Magazine on August 29, 2019

Some ministries have a minimum age for serving — perhaps 13 or even 18. Others allow children and young teens to serve alongside their parents.

There are obviously some important considerations, such as physical strength and emotional maturity, that may keep kids from serving in specific areas. But there are also benefits to exposing them to ministry at an early age.

Here are five reasons to provide the children in your church opportunities and encouragement to get involved in serving:

1. Serving instills responsibility. Volunteering helps kids learn the importance of following through when others are depending on them. Punctuality, focus, and teamwork are among the lifelong lessons they can start learning now.

2. Serving strengthens their relationship with the church. Pitching in helps children take ownership. Instead of a place to go, church becomes a place to belong. Taking ownership means seeing their place within the local body and stepping up to fill it. Rather than just letting others serve them at church, kids will recognize the importance of actively doing their part.

Young volunteers will get a feeling of joy when they see how their service impacts lives.

3. Serving reveals their gifts and passions. A child’s skills and interests often change over time. But the best way for them to get a sense of what they’re good at is to try out different roles. If a boy or girl expresses an interest in greeting or teaching, consider letting him or her help out in one of those areas — with an appropriate level of supervision, of course.

4. Serving releases spiritual blessings. One spiritual component to service is growth. Helping the church and ministering to others will help children understand the heart of Jesus. It’s also a source of blessing. Young volunteers will get a feeling of joy when they see how their service impacts lives. And the Lord will bless these boys and girls in other ways as they give their time, talents and treasure.

5. Serving shows them how God moves. When volunteers serve in the church, they get a front row seat for how God works in the lives of people. And that experience has no age restrictions. As volunteers, your kids and teens will see the power of the gospel changing lives. And when young people have such encounters early in life, they will be more likely to remain a vital part of the church for years to come.

Think through your volunteer policy as it relates to young members. How can you get more children and teens involved in serving?

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