Service is giving to others and wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. Helping others is one of the best ways to serve God. Tell Bible stories of helpfulness. Miriam caring for Moses or Timothy's grandmother making him a coat. Model service. Offer to help your child with a task that is unpleasant or difficult for him or her. Include children in tasks at an early age. Match the task to the ability and interest of the child. Help each person realize that even the unpleasant tasks need to be done. Children blossom when they are needed.
Having an attitude of service means seeing what needs to be done rather than waiting to be asked. It means anticipating needs and then thinking of a way to help. Look for ways to be helpful. Play a "detective game." Walk through the house or yard together. List what needs to be done. Choose a task and then plan how you can do it together. You might assign one child to be "secret servant" of the week. List what has been done without being asked. Bake together and take the cookies or bread to an elderly or shut in neighbor. Rake a neighbor's leaves together. Offer childcare to a single parent. Deliver a thank you note to the police station or fire hall.
Do things for people just to be helpful, not because you are hoping for a reward. Do things just because you care. Talk with your family about situations where they can each make a difference—befriending a lonely person, helping a teacher carry her books, sharing toys. Use the "language of service."
Working in a spirit of service means that you give the job your best effort. You don't just do the least amount possible. Work with enthusiasm. Remember Snow White and "Whistle while you work." When a child hears us grumble and complain it rubs off. Thank God for the opportunity to help. Celebrate when the task is complete—read a book together, go to the park or order a pizza.
Do your part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Teach your children that their efforts do make a difference. Fix broken toys. Pass on outgrown clothes. Use the blue box and the composter.
- Set aside 2 hours on one weekend to serve others. Pick up litter in a park, volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Work as a family team at church clean up day.
- Serve together at worship as ushers, greeters, readers etc.
- Collect items for the needy.
- Organize 2 or 3 families to clean 1 room at the church.
- Seek out a neighborhood project and do it together.
- Do the laundry together and talk about baptism and forgiveness.
- Clean the yard together or team up with your neighbour and clean both yards.
- Bake a surprise for someone and deliver it.
- Feed the birds.
- End a community service project with a picnic.
- Post photographs of a serving event
- Write an article for the church newsletter about those who serve.
- Include a thank you for the volunteers in your church prayers
Freudenburg, Ben. The Family Friendly Church. Loveland, CO :Group Publishing, 1998.
Freudenburg, Ben and Rick Lawrence. Family Friendly Ideas Your Church Can Do. Loveland, CO :Group Publishing, 1998.
Stahlheim, Marilyn and Alice Stolper Peppler. The Child in Our Hands Milestones: Intergenerational Enrichment. Minneapolis: Youth & Family Institute of Augsburg College, 1999.