Encouraging Children to Serve Others

Scripture Reference:  Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9; 1 Peter 4:10
Concept:  It is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35).

Many of us are incredibly blessed.  We have no worries about food and shelter and are often surrounded by the luxuries of life (including the Internet!).  However, the majority of the world is not so fortunate and it is our responsibility as Christians to care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

But just how do we teach such ideas to young children?!?!  Mikhyla and Scarlett are still so young and it seems quite hard but I have given it some thought and here are a few ideas I have had.  I've tried to even think beyond the ages of my own children and have come up with ideas for primary aged children too (actually from a little experience as a Primary/Junior Sabbath School teacher!). 

Bible Stories About Serving Others

Practical Ideas

For Preschoolers:

  • Practice the art of sharing with children their own age.  Make biscuits to share with friends at play, or make one paper chain of dolls together in a group (see Danielle's Place Martin Luther King - United in Love or  Enchanted Learning's Paper Gingerbread People) and divide among children.
  • Make gifts for others at times other than Mother's Day and Father's Day!
  • At Christmas time have them wrap up a gift - it could even be a toy they no longer play with - to place under a tree at a department store (Department stores here in Australia have such trees with tags so people can give gifts to children through registered charities - I hope this happens elsewhere in the world!).
  • (Enlisting parents help of course!) Have children bring along non-perishable items of food to the class when discussing serving others.  Discuss where it is going and donate it to a local charity.
  • To children to visit a home for the aged.  While children may not fully appreciate what it is like to be aged it will bring infinite joy to others.  Children could even take along cards or small gifts they have made.
  • A very easy thing to do which we have started in our home is to collect stamps!  Rather than throwing out the stamps on your mail begin collecting them.  Some charities such as Asian Aid are able to resell these stamps in collections to stamp collectors and raise funds for their cause.
  • Samaritan's Purse has a program where called Operation Christmas Child where you can put together a shoebox of Christmas presents for a child experiencing poverty or disaster.  My girls really enjoyed being a part of this.

For Older Children (including the above ideas of course!):

  • Ask children to do without luxuries (like a treat from Mum/Dad) or a portion of their pocket money for a couple of weeks and collect this money each week during the class to donate to a charity like Asian Aid or ADRA/ADRA Australia (again parent help should be enlisted to encourage children!).  Here in Australia, if money is donated to a specific project that helps in the development of Third World countries, the government will quadruple (no typo!) these monies.  This means that even a small amount of many collected can be used to make a real difference.  Ask the charity to write and tell you what they have used the money for so children can receive some feedback on their gift giving.
  • Sponsor a child and write to this child.  Organisations such as Asian Aid have sponsorships for as little as $15 (Australian) a month.  If your class is too small to be able to sponsor a child have them write letters, draw pictures or make cards for the child/ren you (or someone else in your church) sponsor.
  • If someone in the church visits a Third World country, whether it be on holiday or for a mission project, make sure you have them come in a talk to your class.

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