Something God has shown and taught me about children over time in leading our church to reach our community by offering to do some humble acts of service done with no strings attached is this:
Children transform from being inwardly focused and self absorbed, to being able to thrive in personal day to day outwardly focused servanthood when given simple tools, time, and practice to serve others.
From time to time i will ask parents that frequent our outreaches questions on the effectiveness of our outreaches to impact the personal life of their children. One question i have been specifically been asking parents lately is this:
Have you seen your children apply what they learn through serving our community for an hour and a half on saturdays, to their everyday life?
The response from parents to this question across the board has been an emphatic, YES!!!
One mom told me that before her son started coming and serving our community on a frequent basis, he would constantly be looking down at his iPad playing games. However, slowly, but surely she has started seeing a change in her son from being inwardly focused and unconcerned about others to being outwardly focused and simply looking for opportunities to serve people.
Just the other week they were at Wal-Mart and there was a man that very obviously needed help carrying his groceries to his car. In the past she stated her son would have never even seed him, but now with him looking for opportunities to consider others greater than himself, ran over to the man, helped him, told him that he just wanted to share God’s love in a practical way with him, and even handed the man one of our outreach cards.
Another mom within our church told me that she has seen a huge difference in her son’s transformation from being inwardly focused to being outwardly focused since he has began serving at our outreaches. He is starting to reach out to his friends at school, be very bold and confident in Christ, and is becoming the servant leader that she has been praying for. She even said her daughter who is very shy and used to not ever look people in the eye, is starting to communicate boldly and will insist that she prays out loud and in front of people.
Furthermore, a father of a young girl at our church told me that he can’t go to Sonic anymore without his daughter making him buy multiple cars free drinks so that she can tell them that God loves them in a practical way, and leave an outreach card with them.
Ultimately our goal has never been to give families at our church a 2 hour timeframe, once a week, to bring their kids and serve our community so they may see this as the fulfillment of their kids being outwardly focused. Our goal has always been, and must be, that our outreaches become apart of our children’s DNA as believers in their everyday life. We don’t want to add a program, but we want to change the culture of our kids from being inwardly focused to being outwardly focused and searching for people to show Christ’s love to. Serving on Saturdays has been very effective in teaching children and giving them practical tools and practice to reach not-yet believers in their everyday life whether they are at school, social events, grocery stores, or restaurants.