When we think about serving with our family, we start with the example of Jesus.
At times he taught or fed a huge crowd, but more often he just healed, touched, or cared for one person at a time. That is a great place to start when your kids are little. You don’t need to do something big for a large group of people. Instead, start small: just love and serve one person. Pray as a family for God to show you someone you can love. And then find a simple, small way to do it.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started!
When someone new moves into your neighborhood, make a batch of cookies and a welcome card. The kids can help you bake, color a card, and walk with you to drop it off and say hello. You can also do this for nearby neighbors you don't interact with very often.
If you know a family member or friend in a nursing home, have the kids make cards or pictures and take them to visit the person and give the cards. Even a 15 minute visit can brighten a lonely person’s day.
Have a garage sale where the kids help you put it together and then help run the sale. Donate the proceeds to a missionary or ministry that you like. You can advertise a sale for a cause on FB and often friends will donate items as well.
Collect aluminum cans (and ask friends or family to save them for you as well). When you have a bunch, take them to a recycling place that pays for aluminum. (This is an interesting experience for kids in and of itself!) Take whatever money you get,even it is is $5, and send it to a ministry or missionary.
Spend a month learning about a country and missionaries who are there. Read books from the library, google pictures, read missionary blogs, etc. Pray for the missionaries. Email them and see if there is anything you can send to them.
If you like to plan events, host a kids’ party at your house. Ask everyone who comes to bring canned goods for a food pantry. Later, take the kids with you and drop it off at a food pantry.
Make up 5 big ziplock bags with some basics like snacks, a $5 McDonald’s card, a pair of socks, toiletries, and a note from your kids that says “God loves you and so do we”. Keep those in your car and when you see a homeless person, give them one.
Take your kids on a family mission trip. Even when our kids were 4 and up, we took them. Kids can help with some work tasks, but even if they just play with the kids at an orphanage or in the place where you serve, they are bringing love and kindness to other kids.
Make a meal or cookies and drop this off at a Ronald McDonald House near a Children’s Hospital. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide a place to stay for families whose children are in the hospital with serious, long-term medical issues. You can brighten their day with some home cooking while they are there.
Sponsor a child. Put the child’s picture up, pray for him or her, write letters and learn about the country. This makes it more real!