The best way to teach our kids to serve others is by example. Even better – how about serving alongside them?
Here are some ideas. (Remember, any time you take kids off church property – even around the block, you will need permission slips.)
*Visit a church shut-in. Leaders often take kids to nursing homes or retirement complexes to sing Christmas carols. But how about those people in your church who are house bound? Sometimes, because they live alone, they are forgotten. Sing outside the home unless specifically invited inside. Leave a small gift – a loaf of pumpkin bread, a card the kids have made, etc.
*Do an around-the-block carol sing. The Sparks, T&T and youth ministry kids at one church, walk around the block (where the church is located) the last night of club before vacation. They stop at each house, ring the doorbell, and then sing a few songs. They also give a gift from the church along with a card thanking them for being good neighbors.
*Serve hot chocolate. Have your older kids meet parents at the church door with hot chocolate and cookies as they come to pick up their children (especially welcomed on a freezing cold night). If you live in a warm climate, you could serve something cooler.
*Plan a blanket drive. Designate a week or two for a blanket drive. Kids bring in slightly-used or new blankets for a local shelter.
*Collect gift cards to be passed out to homeless people on the street. You may need to designate a few leaders to actually distribute the cards since an entire group of kids on a city street could be a safety issue. (One family does this, collecting gift cards all year and then going down to the city at Christmas to hand them out.)
*Give the church a gift by doing a work project. Even young kids can do jobs such as sorting through crayons and removing the broken ones, or taking down the pictures on the bulletin board that’s been up since 2010 (and helping to put up new pictures).
*Does the pastor or other staff member live close to the church? Allow the kids to write kind messages with sidewalk chalk. The chalk will wash off in the rain, but think how fun it would be to come home to a driveway full of messages saying how much you are appreciated.
*Challenge kids to do a gift of service for each family member. A child could willingly make everyone’s bed, could straighten out the pantry, could play (happily) with a younger brother or sister, could bring mom breakfast in bed, etc. Have kids share with the other kids in club the following week.
Be creative this Christmas. Encourage kids to serve others and in doing so, reflect the love of God.