Early in the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine, I felt led to spend time in worship because stress and anxiety became too much. I went downstairs into my living room, turned on my television to YouTube, and played my favorite worship and praise songs. A few minutes into my worship session, my children migrated downstairs and sat with me. Eventually, they started to sing along and requested their favorite songs. At that moment, a light bulb went off in my head. What if other children missed praise and worship like my kids? I knew then I needed to do something to meet the spiritual needs of the children at my church. I recognized my children’s spirits thirsted for God’s presence, so I knew the children I taught twice a month when church met face-to-face were thirsting too. This nudging from the Holy Spirit birthed the children’s online ministry at my church.
However, my years of experience in youth development and program management taught me that this shouldn’t be a preacher, volunteer, or parent-led effort, but the children themselves should participate in and ultimately lead their ministry. That’s why my children participate in ministering to their peers each video. They lead prayer, sing, dance, and help facilitate the lesson. My children look forward to videotaping the lessons each month, and they have even become my advisors into what kind of content their peers want to see.
Here are three reasons why you, too, should get your children and youth involved in outreach ministry:
We are all called to make disciples.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…” Joel 2:28 says, “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (NRSV). Jesus calls all of us to point others to him and the cross regardless of our age. Jesus recognized the gifts and abilities of children. He said that unless we become like little children, then we couldn’t enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3). There is something your child can do to reach others for Jesus. They can use their lemonade stand to evangelize. They can make phone calls to members. Youth can send inspirational messages through group chats or social media. There are so many ways we can encourage our children and youth to get involved in outreach ministry.
Outreach Ministry provides youth an opportunity to discover their gifts.
In church, we talk a lot about identity in youth ministry because we recognize that childhood and adolescence are key times of self-discovery in a person’s life. Encouraging children to get involved in ministry by participating or leading helps them discover their natural and spiritual gifts. They will learn whether they thrive leading and teaching or supporting their peers. They will discover if they’re prayer warriors or if they have prophetic insight. Outreach ministry is a wonderful opportunity for children and youth to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to raise up the next generation of believers. We need to provide them with platforms and opportunities. Also, children and youth know more about technology and how to maximize it including social media. Have you seen what they can do on Tik Tok with editing and content creation? Now is the time to push them forward in utilizing their gifts.
It builds self-esteem.
You probably remember what it was like as a child. We go through seasons of self-doubt and confusion. Many of us were nervous to speak in public or in class. Some of us lacked the confidence to lead. Oftentimes, the church is a safe place for children and youth to build self-esteem and confidence. Allowing them to lead and participate in ministry builds their confidence for not only ministry, but for school, home, and ultimately, the workplace. They may discover what they want to pursue professionally through their ministry work. Their participation gives them opportunities to strengthen areas where they may be weak. For example, my son has issues with speech and articulation. His involvement in the children’s online ministry gives him a chance to work on extemporaneous speech and effective articulation. Children also feel good about their contributions, especially when we encourage and affirm them. Our children need to know that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them, especially during these precarious times. Getting them involved in outreach ministry is a great place to start.
What are your ideas? How have you gotten your children or those at your church involved in ministry during the pandemic? How have you kept them connected? Share in the comments!