Today’s post is from one of my dearest friends, Misty, who has been such a wonderful example of Christlike love to my own boys. I’m thankful for her and people like her who invest in my kiddos. Here, she shares ways you can reach out beyond your own family (or if you don’t have kids) to impact the next generation for Christ.
I started working in the nursery when I was 13.
I didn’t give too much thought to it other than there was a need in the local church we attended and I was available. When I moved to a new town after college graduation, additional help was needed in the children’s ministry at church, and I found myself once again working in the nursery.
Around that time, I had a realization: even though I had no children of my own, I could still make an eternal impact on the lives of the children in my world.
My husband and I still don’t have children of our own. However, isn’t raising up the next generation broader than the kids is your own home?
Ephesians 6:4 says,” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
I have a conviction that we are to invest in the lives of the kids around us, to work alongside parents in bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, a conviction that goes beyond whether or not we are parents. We are surrounded by children and youth that need to hear the good news of the Gospel, and we can play an active, vital role in teaching them about the Lord.
They need to see marriages that are based upon Biblical principles.
They need to see relationships in their homes and churches that encourage each other, help each other in times of need and support each other to grow in their relationship with the Lord.
They need to see us attending and serving in the local church on a regular basis.
They need to see adults being obedient with tithing and giving sacrificial with offerings.
They need to see us living out the truths being taught from the Bible.
Regardless of whether or not you have children living at home, there are things you can do to invest in the next generation. Here are some of the best ways you can begin serving the children in your life.
Serve in your local church
Most churches are desperate for regular, faithful volunteers to serve their kids and youth. Over the years, the area I’ve gravitated towards the most is volunteering in the nursery. What could be better than praying over babies and singing worship songs while you rock them to sleep, change diapers and enjoy playtime?
And then the babies get older and you interact with them over Bible stories and coloring sheets while teaching them to pray. Seriously, this has always been one of my favorite places of serve in the church!
Even if the nursery doesn’t appeal to you, there are many other ways for you to get involved. Teach in one of the elementary age classrooms. Assist with the kids check-in area. Coordinate games and/or snacks in the youth area. Help out with a special trip or retreat.
Go to summer camp
Summer camp is awesome! God moves powerfully among children and teenagers at camp as they are away from their normal routine and experiencing extended time in His presence. Camp provides numerous opportunities to get involved including helping with registrations, serving as a counselor, providing support for worship services and assisting in the cafeteria.
If you can’t physically go to summer camp with your church, there’s probably a way to contribute financially so that more students can attend. Just ask your pastor.
Help with special events
Most churches have a variety of special events that minister to children and youth. These are great opportunities to connect with kids in your community, to share the Gospel message and to show the next generation how to become an active part of your church. Here are just a few events your church may host:
- Easter egg hunts
- Vacation Bible School
- Back-to-school supply collections
- October 31st parties
- Christmas gifts to kids in local schools or foster homes
- Winter clothing/coat drives.
Whatever events your church hosts for children or teenagers in the community, find a way to get involved.
Sponsor a child
Child sponsorship is a great way to invest in the next generation. Personally, we have chosen two organizations, One Child Matters and ChildHope, for the children we support because both of these organizations teach the Bible in their programs.
The monthly financial commitment includes the child’s education, school uniforms, medical care and food for their family. Additional funds can be sent for birthday and Christmas gifts, and you have the opportunity to exchange letters with each of the children. These letters are a great opportunity to share your faith, to encourage them in their walk with the Lord and to write out your prayers for them.
Become an “aunt” or “uncle”
Amy often mentions the importance of being intentional about building a strong family culture. When I reach out to the kids in my world, that is my goal – being intentional to build relationships with the kids in my life so that they truly know they are deeply loved by us and by God.
This role can be so much fun and is a true joy! We do have a biological nephew and niece, but there are other children in our lives who also call us by the beloved titles of Aunt and Uncle.
Again, there are many ways to accomplish this:
- Attend a dance recital or a soccer game.
- Be the emergency contact at school.
- Show up for school and church programs.
- Become a pen-pal with a nephew or niece that lives away from you.
- Go to birthday parties, even if you’re the only one there without a child at the party.
- Create fun memories such as taking them out for donuts or shopping to spend some of their birthday money.
- Send them cards in the mail to congratulate them on accomplishments.
- Pray for the children – for their salvation, for encouragement when they are struggling, for health when they are sick, for wisdom as they start to become independent and for their parents to have Godly wisdom.
Investing in the next generation is the responsibility of every single member of the body of Christ. We’re in this together, and I’d love to hear how you are investing in the next generation. Be sure to leave a comment with other ideas and suggestions.