Monday, March 05, 2007

Youth Ministry: Persevere and Pass It On!

I’m proud of the members of my high school Sunday School class. At the beginning of December, they decided to earmark their weekly offering money for a special project with the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. If they raised $25, they could provide a care package for a teenager in guerilla torn Colombia.

We thought we could do it as a Christmas service project. But we have only six students in the class. And Christmas is a tough time on their wallets. I gave them the option of just donating whatever they had raised to another mission or to keep going until we reached our goal. They chose to keep going. It wasn’t until yesterday, March 4th, that they reached their goal.

Now that may not seem very impressive – six teenagers raising $25 in four months time. But I’m impressed. They did it on their own with their own money, not asking any adult to help them out. As the teacher, I could have bailed them out a number of times, yet I probably put in only two dollars to that total amount. When they realized yesterday that they were only a couple of dollars short, they dug deeper into their pockets and purses, counting out change to make up the difference.

I teach my high schoolers about seeking God’s will for their lives, how to apply God’s wisdom to their relationships and their career choices, how to avoid the temptations unique to youth and the need to share their faith. For the last quarter, I’ve taught them lessons about who Jesus was and what His ministry entailed. Yesterday they taught me lessons I don’t think I’ve covered with a group of kids in my twenty five years of teaching – the importance of persevering until you get the job done and faith that God can do something with even what seems like a small gift. What’s exciting is what God has the power to potentially do with that $25 in the form of a care package to an oppressed Christian teenager on the run for his faith!

If you are reading this blog, would you join me in praying that God use this $25 in an awesome way to encourage His people and change lives? Thanks.


A reader posted some great ideas on the comments page of last week's blog. Let's make this topic practical and share what other service projects we can lead and encourage our young people to do. Here’s the ideas we have so far:

1. Collect offering for a special mission project (check out Voice of the Martyrs. The usually have great projects teenagers can do.)
2. Plan a worship service to share with a shut in.
3. Do yard work and snow removal for the elderly in your church or community.
4. Prepare care packages for servicemen.

What has worked for your youth group? What about service projects for elementary school age children? I invite you to share your ideas on my comments page. I’ll compile the list for a future post.

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