Key 3: Church Skill Set: Part III

Happy Mother’s Day!

This won’t be the traditional Mother’s Day encouragement, but you can find that HERE!

Instead, as you get spoiled with a few moments of rest today, let’s sit back and continue our conversation about Key 3: Church Skill Set! Yay! Seriously, I LOVE talking about this. So, PLEASE send me questions or comments. I’d love to know your thoughts and ideas for this area of discipleship.

Benefits of Serving at Church

When our older son and I were debriefing his time teaching Sunday school, he said, “Mom, when I serve at church, I learn life skills I can’t learn anywhere else.” I did ask permission to pass that one on, but, seriously… this young man couldn’t have given me a better introduction to today’s topic!

Life Skills You Can’t Learn Anywhere Else

There are places your children can volunteer and learn the importance of serving others (Rescue Missions, Animal Shelters, Food Banks, Cleaning Up Walking Paths), but those tend to be one-off or monthly experiences. When children and teens serve at church it’s so much more than learning the importance of serving others (though it goes hand-in-hand with serving). There are life skills involved.

When my children teach Sunday school, they’re learning how to manage a classroom, how to discipline people younger than themselves (parenting training 101), how to make the Bible fun for those they teach, how to repond to impromptu questions, how to pivot and be flexible when things don’t go as planned (how to adapt games when less or more children show up for class that day, how to handle it when someone needs to go to the restroom in the middle of the teaching time, etc).

They also learn responsibility. When they’re put on a schedule and expected to come and lead, it’s on them to get out of bed, get ready to go, and be prepared to teach, having read their Sunday school curriculum beforehand.

In other areas of serving at church, they also learn this kind of responsibility and the importance of being trustworthy and professional.


Someone must train our children to serve in any area of ministry. Someone must show them how to set up the communion, set the lights, where to stand to greet people, and how to run the sound system. It’s not likely that someone will show them how to do it and take off. If they’re good trainers, they’ll stick around and live out this awesome model of discipleship and training:

  • I do it and you watch.
  • We do it together.
  • You do it and I watch.
  • You do it and I go serve somewhere else, checking in with you periodically.

At the heart of this system of training is apprenticeship. Your child will need to spend time with that person learn from them, and likely a relationship will bloom out of it.

PS – this process can be adapted to teaching our children ANYTHING!

If there is someone in your church that you respect and you’d love your child to spend time with, figure out a way for them to serve together. Often long-term and lifelong relationships are built in church-serving settings.

I love that this process organically breeds intergenerational relationships! When your children serve with people who are older than them at church, they may end up being the people who write your children letters of recommendation for scholarships and even read the Scriptures at your child’s wedding.

Another cool benefit? They’ll end up training other people the way they were trained. Discipleship? Yup.

Serving is the Ultimate Boredom Killer

Your children can’t be bored at church when they’re serving, they’ll be too busy to be bored. I’ve spoken with way too many students who’ve said they didn’t like church because they were bored there. These same students served in leadership at school clubs, babysat as their part-time job, and played sports.

How can we think capable and active children will be satisfied with a spectator church experience?

Your children are capable of way more than most parents expect and it gives them ownership and a reason to go to church. Anything you can do to help your children’s faith become practical is worth your time.

How can we think capable and active children will be satisfied with a spectator church experience?

-Beth Meverden

It may mean that you have to go to church earlier than you normally would or stay later. If this is what it takes for your children to be still attending and serving at church as grandparents, I’d say it’s worth a little extra time for your family.

Serving Creates Attentiveness

When your children are serving at church, they’re automatically more attentive. When you’re sitting in service and there’s an announcement about an area of ministry your child serves in, watch them sit up in their seats and take notice. They also walk into church looking for the people they serve with to greet them. It gives them people to look forward to seeing and something to look forward to about church.

The Best Benefit: Upon graduation, your children will look for a church family to serve instead of a church that will serve them.

Most people graduate, move away from home, get settled at college or in a job, then look for a church that is just like youth group. They look for a pastor who gives messages directed at them, music they like, and where they feel comfortable.

When students have all this training and discipleship from you, including a Church Skill Set, they want to keep serving and being engaged. When they understand church isn’t about them being served, but about them setting aside time to worship God communally and encouraging other believers, their approach to “attending” church is simply different.

They will be drawn to a church who needs them and the skills and gifts they can bring to encourage others.

Can you imagine being on a church staff and having a 19-year-old come to you and say:

  • “I’ve been serving in Children’s Ministry since I was in middle school and I’d love to come serve with you. I can get you the number of the Children’s Director I served with at home as a reference and do a background check, if you’d like.”
  • “I’ve been on my home church’s A/V (Audio Visual) team for 5 years. I’d love to help you serve in this area if you could use me.”
  • “I’ve been running slides for my pastor at home for the last 2 years and I’d love to help you prepare and run slides here if that would be helpful.”
  • “I was a greeter at my church at home with my family since I was in elementary school. Do you have a spot for me to be a greeter or usher here? I’d love to help people feel welcome here, too.”

Um… hallelujah! Bring that energy and willingness to our team! I’d snatch that kid right up, take them to lunch, and send them home with a grocery card.

Next week, I’ll give you a working list (that means I’m always adding to it) of ways children and teens can serve at church to build their Church Skill Set.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 1 Corinthians 12:7

Things to Ponder

  • What are the other benefits of serving at church for your family? (Shared experiences – making memories together, obeying God, thinking of others instead of just ourselves…. Add to the li st!)
  • Which of these benefits would you most want for your children?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.