In my first article, I described the success of an experiment conducted at my assembly in which the 9-12 year olds were allowed to serve coffee during break. We discovered many benefits to the children and to the assembly by allowing them to serve like this, despite the messes, the mix ups and the spilled coffee.
In this article I would like to suggest another way the children can serve in the assembly, particularly with regard to youth group. Youth group is a lot of fun and we do all sorts of crazy games, trips and food. Likewise, the youth participate in a lot of Bible study, discussion groups and prayer times.
Not just fun and head knowledge
In addition to all the fun and study, we have intentionally built in service nights where our youth people can learn to express their faith in practical ways.
Every six weeks or so, but sometimes not as often, we try to serve someone in our assembly. Our service mainly caters to the elderly but it does not have to. Together as a youth group, we have raked leaves, shoveled snow, cleaned up yards, and moved dirt from one place to another. Sometimes the location of our work is the chapel property, but often times it takes place at the houses of the saints.
On a larger scale, we have made big pots of soup and delivered them to the elderly. We have put on Seniors tea events, and we have annually hosted a full assembly banquet, where the youth serve as waiters and waitresses, in order to raise money for sending children to Bible camps.
On some occasions we have even helped people move, or have helped them prepare their house in order to move, and so on.
Putting the Word into practice
With a little imagination, and a little keeping our eye on the “radar,” we can plug the youth into all sorts of big and small jobs that pop up in our assembly. These opportunities can be taken up and woven into the curriculum of our discipleship of the youth, teaching them to put into practice the things they have learned in the Word.
Prior to the work of service, whatever it may be, we give a short devotion based on serving – in order to connect Biblical truths with practical service. For example, before serving as a waiter or waitress at the Seniors’ Tea we give a devotion using the words of our Lord Jesus.
He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35) or “whoever of you desires to be first shall be servant of all,” (Mark 10:44) and “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me” (John 12:26).
Involving youth is the key
You have probably heard the old adage first spoken by Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This saying is vital for discipleship.
We must think of ways we can involve the young people of the assembly in service. We tell the youth the truth, we teach the youth the truth, but only when we involve them in it will they be forever changed.