One of the most common questions we get on the External Focus team is...
How can I serve with my kids?
(I've gotten this question two or three times in the past couple of weeks!)
It can seem tricky to figure out great ways to serve with your kids - especially if they're really young. So that's why we created a resource answering that very question. And do you know where we got the answers? We got them from what YOU reported on the 4B Survey.
Below you'll find some highlights from that resource, but the full document - 163 Ideas for Serving with Your Kids - is available by clicking here. Enjoy!
Sharing Your Stuff (& Helping Others Share, Too)
Giving material resources can be a great way to start serving with your kids, especially when you also pursue more relational forms of serving!
- We had neighbors write on our sidewalk — for every 5 names, we bought a backpack for a low-income school
- Delivering cookies to neighbors
- Serve the firefighters and police officers in our neighborhood by baking, writing notes, and taking treats
- Our family packed resource bags to give the homeless, then distributed them to our neighbors for them to pass out
- Our family decided to cut back on Christmas gifts so we could make a significant contribution. We researched and studied different possibilities, and decided on donating to a spine doctor in Ethiopia to provide money for one spinal surgery
Hosting at Your Home
Some families even take the step of building relationships through hosting. (You can find our guide for building a great get-together here.)
- Our family hosted a weekly dinner and bible study for the junior high football team. Our son led some of the Bible study sessions for his teammates
- Planned a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt
- Served our neighborhood with a family BBQ get-together
- Backyard Bible club with our neighbors and kids
- We are serving with our kids by bringing two foster babies into our home and loving their socks off!
- Block party in my neighborhood for National Night Out
- Put on theme nights for our neighborhood as a way to draw people in. We’ve had "dive-in" movies, bounce houses, etc.
Serving through Organizations
There are many fantastic non-profits where families can serve. These include Watermark’s official Ministry Partners (get info at watermark.org/impact) and other orgs that you find, “vet,” and jump into as a family.
- I bring Samuel with me to serve at Interfaith Family Services
- Babysitting at a women's shelter, and talked to some of the moms about our faith and about taking their next steps
- Buckner International
- My wife and I attended a Compassion event in 2015 with our 5-year-old daughter Madeline and now sponsor a girl in Uganda who is close to her same age
- Donated food and time at Beautiful Feet in Fort Worth
- Reading program at a local apartment
- Participate with my kids in a softball league, and we live out our faith at the team’s social gatherings
- Kids Beach Club in our neighborhood school
- Cheering on the kids at Mercy Street sports leagues
- Started a dance camp at Mercy Street a few years ago, which we put on annually for the kids
- Served at a local Vacation Bible School
- Connected with families who were at Ronald McDonald House
- Volunteering weekly at a school in the Como neighborhood
- With ACT in West Dallas by picking up trash, praying over the community, and sharing Christ with those living there
- Younglife Capernaum (the special needs ministry)
- The kids and I serve at our crossing guard's church once a month in the summer, giving out food to the very poor. It is really cool that we know our crossing guard's family, pastor, and the people they serve
Right Where You Live
It’s fantastic to teach kids to look around for chances to serve nearby — including right where God has placed your family at home or in school!
- Served in our neighborhood by helping people move
- Built a wheelchair ramp for a neighbor
- Served with friends who run the Apartment Life CARES ministry at their apartment complex
- We have a large number of refugees that go to our elementary school. Several families at our school have cleaned at their apartment complex and reading camps. But we also just give them rides to functions at the school. They are friends with our kiddos and a great chance to love our neighbors
- Pray for our kids’ teachers and classmates consistently
- My son and I will gather the grocery store carts that have been taken by customers in route to their apartments. We go throughout our area and roll the carts back to the local store so the store workers don't have to. My son loves it when the clerks offer us a discount for our deed, but he politely declines with, "God gave us a gift, I just wanted to give you a gift too."
- Concerted effort to visit 2 of our elderly neighbors and offer them authentic friendship, love, and service. We bring our kids with us so they can see what it means to serve
- We started doing small acts of service in our community since our son was 18 months old. We leave artwork w/ Scripture on our trash can for the waste valet, leave a sign "Need a Church Home? Come See" w/tear-offs of Watermark's address at our mailbox area, took cookies to our neighbors when we first moved in and during the holidays...
- We have an “open door policy” for the neighborhood kids and foster relationships with them
- I try to show my family that you don't have to go far and away to find people who could use our help and our skills. Even just working on cars, houses, cleaning up, or giving people rides because of lack of transportation
- We serve our neighbors on our street through my position as block captain. Kids help with this
- We babysat every month for neighborhood kiddos so husbands and wives could have some couple time
Like we said, there are four times this number of ideas in our resource, 163 Ideas for Serving with Your Kids. Now that spring is getting ready to... spring, and summer is on its way, why don't you take a few minutes and get some great ideas?
Find fantastic External Focus ideas and more at our weekly blog here - or subscribe below to get the posts in your inbox.