Kids don't need to wait until they're older to take ownership of their spiritual journey. Of course, parents play a key role in nurturing their child's spirit, as can a local church or Sunday School program. By using practical activities that teach children what it means to serve God you help them build convictions that they can carry the rest of their lives.
The Bible is full of examples of people who served God at a young age, such as Samuel, David or Josiah. Sit down with your child and study more about these people, including what they did for God and how things turned out. Brainstorm together about how those people might live if they were alive today and were your child's age. Make a list of a few things your child can apply, such as, "I can face a giant problem in my life like David did to serve God."
Friends Serving Friends
Talk with your kids at the end of each day about how their friends may need help or attention in an area of their lives. Brainstorm ways that you can help take care of those needs as a family, such as tutoring a classmate in a subject or making sure they don't sit alone at lunch. Connect this to Ephesians 6:7 or Jesus' teaching on the Good Samaritan so your child can better understand what it means to serve God by serving others.
The first two chapters of the Bible share how God created the world, declared it was good and challenged humanity to take care of it. Kids can serve Him by helping taking care of the earth, even with something as simple as picking up trash on the ground. Find an area of town or in your neighborhood that needs maintenance, such as in a public park or an alleyway. Give your child a plastic glove and a trash bag, then walk together to clean up any of the garbage you come across. Pray for the people or businesses you see in that area. Discuss the experience when you're done, including reading from Genesis 1 and 2.
Read through John 13:1 to 17 with your child, noting how Jesus Christ teaches that serving God involves the type of humility evidenced by washing one another's feet. Spend time actually washing one another's feet as a family, committing to honor God by honoring each other. Hand a small hand towel and marker to your child, instructing him to write on it a few ways God has served him through others. Next, challenge him to use the other side to write down a few ways he will serve God by serving others in your household.
Read 1 Corinthians 4 and talk about what it means to be known as "servants of Christ" by the things we do. Brainstorm with your child about people in his life he could give a homemade coupon book to with specific offers of how to serve that person in some way. For example
- “I will serve God by helping you on a project in your yard.” - “I will serve God by doing a household chore for you.” - “I will serve God by making you breakfast." - "I will serve God by telling you all the good things I see in you." - "I will serve God by taking your dog for a walk." - “I will serve God by helping you vacuum out your car.”
Non-Profit Yard Sale
Help your child see that we're surrounded by many people who are in need of things we often take for granted, such as food, clothing or money. Review Luke 12:33 where Jesus taught about selling our own things to take care of others, and organize a yard sale as a family or church where any money earned is given away instead of kept. Put out a box near your cash box labeled "Food Donations" and another labeled "Clothing Donations." Invite your customers to come back and join you in blessing others. Decide on a local ministry you'll support with your efforts, or look for people in your own neighborhood who may be blessed by what you've done.