Teach Them to Serve

Amber Leonard
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Let’s be honest; the world is full of statistics that show more and more young adults have lost interest in the religious scene, and frankly, in God Himself. They would rather catch up on the latest worldly entertainment than crack open a Bible. There are so many ways our society has gone wrong in teaching children to love God. Can we as mothers in God’s church encourage and promote our children’s love of God, His way of life, and the church?

Throughout history, it should be evident that young adults seek to have a purpose—to make a difference and change their world for the better. Often in the world, this desire becomes misguided or gets taken advantage of, and does not lead to positive results. But Christian mothers have an advantage, because we are part of a work that is doing something greater:

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him my Father will honor” (John 12:26).

One way mothers can help their children start out on the right foot is by encouraging them to serve at church services. No matter what age they are, there is always something they can do. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? If we counter the temptations of the world by building interest in serving God’s people, we are in effect lowering the chances of our young people thinking, “Why am I here and what is there here for me?” Rather than becoming inward and self-centered, we are teaching them to focus on the needs of others. Serving encourages good relationships, friendships, and bonding. The more they get involved, the stronger their ties to the Work and the church will be in the future. We can encourage them to serve at services in many ways.

  • Greeting. People have often told me that seeing cheerful children inside helping to greet as they come in to services brightens their day.
  • Hand out hymnals. A simple but important task. A smile and a “Happy Sabbath” should do.
  • Collect hymnals. After services there are usually hymnals lying around needing to be picked up. If you have a shy young person, this would be a great place to start.
  • Give hugs. This may seem small and trivial, but for some people this may be the only physical human contact they’ve had all week. Who can’t do with a good hug?
  • Fellowship. Encourage them to talk to someone sitting alone. It takes courage to walk up and start talking to someone, but if they do put themselves out there, they will be surprised by what they can learn.
  • Take out the trash. People caught up in conversation with each other during planned meals and refreshments after or between services tend to linger over empty plates. This is a good time for a young person to come by and take someone’s plate to the trash can so that people aren’t interrupted in their conversation.
  • Sing. In children’s or adult choir, volunteers are usually needed, and chances are they will meet other young people just like them.
  • Hold a baby. This is a tricky one since some moms are particular about someone holding their baby, but if you have a more mature young adult, this could be the right job for them. If you see a mother of multiple children working her way through the snack line with an unhappy food-grabbing baby on her hip and three or four plates to juggle, chances are she won’t say no to a little help. Just make sure your young one stays in her line of sight, with her precious bundle.

All of these ways to serve encourage our young people to get involved, but we must also “practice what we preach” and personally strive to be examples of service to our children. We shouldn’t expect more from our children than we are willing to do ourselves. This should not be a forceful process, but rather a strong encouragement. After all, we don’t want them to see serving as a chore, but for what it really is—a delight and a joy.

The preceding article was written for the encouragement and edification of aspiring mothers, particularly those in the Living Church of God with very young children. If you are not a member, but would like to know more, please visit us at the website linked above!

—Editorial Staff