Preparing Your Family for Christian ServiceSuzanne Broadhurst
Do you want to serve your community, church, country or another part of the world? Do you feel unable to do so because you have children who are not only at home, but learning at your kitchen table, feeding from the edu-meals you provide?
Homeschooling our children doesn’t disqualify us from serving. Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to serve.
Our home becomes a home base of operations, a place to begin, a place to build, and a place to come home to.
Begin with Prayer as Fellow Journeyers
Pray with your children as fellow journeyers. We are in this together. We want their hearts involved, not just their hands.
One of our first neighborhood outreaches, inspired through prayer with the wee ones, was a baby step – seemingly so huge at the time – which ignited a fire in their hearts.
Small steps of faith can ignite a fire in the heart.
Fired Up Next Steps
Fired up by God’s blessing on their project, my little ones’ next idea was way bigger than we could pull off. We dug deep into our lint-filled pockets, the children voluntarily contributing their own wee resources to the outreach.
We need to be willing to invest in our ministry ideas, not just delegate them to others.
God provided a great deal when He saw the heart of the children wanting to reach as many as possible. We loaded our plastic green wagon with promise books and walked about the neighborhood knocking on doors sharing the love and Word of God.
Many people thought we were early Trick or Treaters, expecting to be asked for a handout of candy. They didn’t quite know what to do when they found we were there to give them something.
Baby Steps to Upper Elementary Steps
For perspective, my children were no older than 5-7 years old at the time of our first steps into the neighborhood. Those baby steps became upper elementary leaps when at a family counseling session, a blind counselor — wise in heart, blind in health — suggested we create a new family tradition to bring us together at a time that life was trying desperately to tear us apart.
Discussing ideas with the children, praying with them, the not-quite-as-littles wanted to continue to reach the neighborhood with the light of the gospel. So our annual Light the Night tradition began. I won’t get into details, but feel free to ask me about it. The funniest (and strangest) comment was when my family doctor asked, “Is that legal?”
From Neighborhood to Community: Serve in the World You Are In
My daughter’s dream service came true when she was old enough to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House. Who knew but God, our family’s involvement would begin from inside the House as patients/guests before reaching in from the outside as volunteers.
My son joined my daughter and me, wholeheartedly cooking, cleaning, and serving, welcoming the opportunity to give back to an organization that served our family so faithfully in times of medical need. He also loved playing chess with one of the patients!
Look for natural opportunities to serve as a family in the world God places you.
Community to the World
One of our now-grown family’s passions is Operation Christmas Child, reaching beyond our community to the larger world needing hope and truth.
God still uses those early days of trusting Him for a wagon load of books to remind us Whose project this is, Who will provide, and Who will get the glory as is due Him.
The Challenge to Trust
As you serve in what seem small ways to the eyes of the world (but feel like monstrous steps of faith), your trust in God to provide resources will continue to be stretched.
You will see need and opportunity you didn’t see before.
You will be challenged to pray for God’s provision, for wisdom, for balance between service outside the home and service inside the home.
Keep Home Base Homey
Be cautious. The needs of the world are many. They can overwhelm us and distract us from the needs in our own homes. Pray for God’s view, so that with our generous outlay of time, energy and emotion “out there” we don’t forget there is an “in here,” too.
Our children will be young for such a short time. Serve with them, not instead of them.
God lets us know He needs us and we respond, “Here we are. Send us.”
Sometimes, He needs us more at home; sometimes He needs us more beyond. Let Him lead on the journey.
Is He knocking on your home’s door to open it to beyond?
How You Can Prepare Your Family for Service
- Be prepared to learn alongside your children.
- Pray with your children.
- Brainstorm freely and wildly. So much fun!
- Be open to their suggestions.
- List the skills and resources you have.
- List the skills and resources you need.
- Ask God to fill the need.
- Start where you are.
- Trust God to increase or decrease as He sees fit.
- Don’t focus on numbers, focus on people.
- Begin, serve and end with God.
- Take time to rest. Then go with Him all over again!