This is the 2nd key or formational experience in Making Young Disciples. This is a part of a series looking at how we can help our young people not walk away from church and/or faith in their early adolescent years.
For too long children have been seen as objects of the mission rather than active participants in the mission. Children are not simply to be seen as jugs to be filled with information but rather as whole people of God who can actively contribute to the mission of God.
When any person has to give an account of the hope that is within them this causes their faith to grow deeper. This is true for children as well. Where are the opportunities for your children to be able to give out as well as taking in as they continue to grow in their journey with Jesus?
When children can serve in the mission with their family this has benefits on many levels – strengthening the household of faith as well as spiritual life of each member of the family. Sending teams to overseas mission feels has been a long held strategy of local church communities. However, very few of these include children. Imagine the impact on a child’s faith having served on a mission team in a developing country. But you do not need to go overseas to involve children in a mission project. There are needs all around us if we have eyes to see and if we are prepared to take a few risks.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Principles and practical ideas to inspire you as you implement this Formational Experience into your 10 year plan:
- Do we see children as part of the body?
- There are some things that we need to unlearn!
- Teaching children that they can be used by God ( Samuel and Eli)
- Visiting Aged Care facilities to give a oncert, massaging hands, painting nails etc.
- “Go West” – include children in real ways in ministry to rural churches in need of encouragement.
- Church Leadership need to ‘champion’ opportunities for children to serve, so that children feel welcome and valued.
- Connecting children to the needs of the local community. Present a community need and ask the children ”What do you think we can do?”
- “Coins 4 Kids” Bucket- Children bring an offering and place in ‘their ‘ bucket , and have input into how the finance is dispersed at the end of the quarter.
- Encourage kids to bring their friends from school to church.
- Ask children to ‘decorate’ the Worship Space.
- Doing physical tasks alongside adults to be part of the faith community.
- Connect with both local and overseas communities to provide a balance in opportunities for children to serve.
- Overseas mission trips
- Delivering meals hampers to other families to be done as a family
- Short term family mission trips – whole families go
- Australian opportunities exist with indigenous communities, refugees, country towns
- Kids selling something they have made at church to fund a mission vision they may have
- Children involved in telling the stories of their mission involvement
- High school kids teaching RE to primary school kids