Over the last several articles I have been laying out practical ways to equip young people to stand firm in their faith. The first article outlined the importance of training up a child. The second and third articles were all about evangelizing our children. In this article I will tackle the topic of young people serving within their church community.

Why is serving others an important part of our Christian faith? In Matthew 20:28 Jesus tells us, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Our Master, our King, Our Savior and Lord was the greatest servant of all. So as His followers and children we should seek to emulate Him. This means we too should be servants; it should be a desire of our hearts. We should especially desire in our hearts to love and serve others in the body of Christ. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:13,14 that serving others is a sign of your love for them: “but through love serve one another.” In John 13:34,35 Jesus gives us a new commandment: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Serving others is not so much a choice, but rather a characteristic of a disciple of Christ and a child of God. Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), so Christian love is in your DNA, and one of the ways that love manifests itself is in your service to others. Our children should see us, their parents, loving and serving. They see us loving and serving the flock on Sundays or Wednesdays or any day really. Also, they see us serving at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, and at home each day. As Christians and as parents, what we do matters not only to Christ but to the world around us, to the body of Christ, and to our kids. What we do reveals to all who we are. If I am a child of God, I will love others and I will desire to serve others.

Why is it important that our kids/students serve within their church community? Children need to see adults as role models in serving others. They need to see us praying with and for others. They need to see us living a life that matches our beliefs – the very beliefs that are outlined in the Bible we read, the beliefs that are fully realized in a Man who is 100% man and yet 100% God. One large reason young people leave the church is that they are not being taught how to participate in their church community. All people want to be loved, valued, and treated with respect, and we all want to be a part of something greater. We all seek and need purpose. Our purpose is Christ, to love Him and make Him known to all. His purpose was to suffer, serve, and to save the very world that rejected Him. We must help connect our children to Christ in this way now while they are young, so that when they are older they will be more prepared to live as a Christian.

Here is an interesting thought. Should the Lord tarry, your kids will spend more of their life as an adult than as a child. Those adult years will (hopefully) be spent in the world on their own outside of your four walls, not still under your complete guidance and protection. Train them today; evangelize them now; teach them what it means to love and to serve like Christ today! We cannot do these things perfectly, but we can do them authentically, and we have a beautiful partnership with our wonderful Lord in doing so.

NOTE: The Accelerate youth group has a program called SERVE in which we monthly connect students with a ministry in the church to serve in. Kids can serve anytime if they would like to; all they need to do is just connect with a ministry leader, but SERVE is another way to help parents and students get connected to serving the body here at Koinonia. We do it on the third Sunday every month, and the teens can sign up in Youth Group or in the Welcome Center to help greet, serve in Children’s Ministry, Hospitality, or Media. Thank you!