I love helping out a teenager; however, my eyes roll every time I have to sign off on a service hour requirement for school. While I love the fact that teens are getting involved I don’t like that it’s become a requirement.
Teenagers need to serve because it helps them grow as disciples, but making them do it as a requirement is not the answer. If you want to grow disciples who serve locally, nationally and internationally because they Love God and Love Others then you need to make sure you:
PREACH AND TEACH ABOUT IT’S IMPORTANCE
Teens know that serving is a good thing; but, they don’t always know how it connects to their relationship with God. If you want teenagers doing more than just collecting service hours you need to make sure you preach on it’s value.
Take some time to talk about the Great Commandment. Help them see the love the God has for others by pointing out examples of how Jesus served others. Give them a vision of how serving will change their lives and the lives of others.
MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
How to get involved is not always clear. Teens might think that serving in and outside the church is for adults. They might see their peers serve but think, “They must have a connection or know someone.”
To make serving accessible think about creating steps that make it simple. It might involve taking time:
- Explaining What’s Available
- Giving Them Opportunities To Test It Out
- Partnering Them Up With Adults Who Are Already Serving
The more accessible, the more participation you will have. Help teens get over the stigma that they have to be super talented and the fear that serving is complicated.
RAISE THE BAR ON WHAT’S EXPECTED
While you want to make serving accessible you also want quality participation. That means setting clear standards that explain what’s expected like:
- Showing up on time.
- Dressing appropriately.
- Giving them responsibility and ownership over different areas.
If they fail to meet those expectations hold them accountable. If they do a great job then praise them. When teens see you taking them seriously they’ll hold the same attitude with the position they hold.
SHOW THEM THE VALUE OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
When finding places to serve look for organizations that you can commit to long term. It will show teens that serving is more than just accomplishing a task, it’s about building relationships.
Before selecting an opportunity interview different placements. Look at ways they will work with you and help you invest in the lives of the next generation. By developing strategic partners you will develop committed followers of Christ.
Take the time to invest in a new approach for service. Eliminate the requirement and show them how it will impact their relationship with Christ. In the end you will have growing disciples who love to serve others.
Question: How are you helping teenagers plug into serving opportunities? You can leave a comment by clicking here.