Our mission for Next Gen mirrors the mission of our church. One of the components of our mission relates to serving. Specifically, here’s how serving supports our mission.
Be the Body (Serve)
We help kids realize that they are part of a collective body bigger than themselves and that through Godâ€™s power they can make a significant difference in the world for Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
I’ve been working with my team in setting goals for 2010 and I’ve been thinking a lot about this area of service. Last year my goal was to initiate two serving initiatives where participation would exceed 50%. We did two outreaches in 2009. One was a flop and the other appeared fairly successful. However this year I want to put a little more though into this area of service.
Rather than just have a service project/initiative, I want to teach our kids how to serve. I’ve done all kinds of service projects in my years of ministry. We’ve raised canned food, peanut butter, gifts, money and all kinds of other things. Through these drives, we’ve helped thousands of people in need. But I’m not sure we were always successful in teaching our kids to serve. When doing these projects, how often were parents just going out and buying the stuff for the kids to turn in? Although it may help our project see success, does it make a difference where it’s most important.
I can only speak for myself (although I have a feeling many others of you are in this same boat). We’ve held initiatives where the goal is to raise “x” amount of money or “x” amount of whatever. Success is determined by how close we get to “x.” What if we looked at the initiative from the other viewpoint and “x” amount of whatever wasn’t what determined success, but perhaps a percentage of participation was? In addition, what would it have to look like so you could track participation?
Just thinking out loud on this. What do you think?
Join the Daily Dispatch!
If you're a kidmin content junky... submit your name and email and you will get the following:
• Daily updates from the blog
• Weekly blog summaries with exclusive content
• Access to amazing resources
ALL DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!
I think you are right on with this observation. I have seen (and participated) in these mission opportunities and service projects over the year without any obvious lasting impact on the kids. I am totally convinced that the gauge by which we judge the “success” of these endeavors should be actual participation by the children!
I am thinking through the exact same situation right now. I want our kids to “do it” and see how it feels when they, not their parents, bless others. We started it this Christmas with asking the kids to give a toy that they like but are willing to give to someone less fortunate, rather than have their parents go out and buy a $15 new toy to donate. This let’s the kids learn that giving costs something. But it’s worth it.
I am anxious to find other ways to let them continue this all year.
Sometimes it’s hard to think of things that “kids can do.” Thinking of you food drive ideas of the past, what if bringing the food was only step one? What if “step two” was committing a day to come to the church, sort the food, box the food, and drive with the parents to deliver it to whatever organization you collected it for?
Bringing service projects “down” to a kids level can be challenging. What about a day creating Valentines for nursing home residents (step one) and actually delivering them (step two?)
Participation is key. Maybe you can measure success in two ways – one by reaching your goal of X “Step 1”, and the other by participation in your “Step 2.”
You could always include a family level suggestion as a “Step 3.” (volunteering in the shelter, adopting a “grandparent” in the nursing home, etc.)
Really good thoughts Donna. I like your idea of steps. You can get a lot of momentum when you have a large group of kids working together to make a difference and the kids enjoy hitting a grandiose goal. However, having participation steps as well as family involvement steps as a part of the outreach strategy is exactly what I’m talking about. I think that what you suggest needs to be our strategy for every outreach event.
Awww, thanks Kenny.
I’m just as guilty as the rest … i want to increase service, but i can’t even help my own child remember to bring in ‘items’ for the goal. i would love to find some ‘lessons’ for class on service (including an activity for a service action) anyone got any suggestions …