I didn't grow up in the church. Actually, I didn't start going to church until well into my 40's! As such, my daughter didn't get plugged into the church until the year she started 6th grade. She began serving in the children's ministry that year and has continued serving all through middle school and now high school. I can see the difference serving at church has already made in her life (compared to her friends that aren't involved in their church).
I sat down with her last night and asked her what she has gained by serving. I was surprised that she came up with many of the same things that I did! Here are the 11 benefits of serving God in your youth (by serving at church) that she came up with.
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The Benefits of Serving God in Your Youth
When kids serve at church, they are doing God's work. God doesn't care about their age or stage of life. He cares that His children are reflecting the body of Christ and serving others before themselves. The benefits of serving God in your youth are plentiful! This time spent serving others truly lays a solid Biblical foundation for them as they enter into adulthood (and the problems and obstacles they'll face there).
While it is important that kids go to church, just going isn't enough! By getting them involved and serving on Sundays (or other times), they will get so much more of a spiritual fill than simply sitting in service on Sunday morning! If they aren't serving, they are really missing out on so much more!
I have seen my daughter and her friends grow in so many ways over the last few years through their serving. I see them alongside some of the friends that don't serve and it is a noticeable difference! They just have this confidence (some like to call it “God-fidence”) about them. They take more pride in themselves and the things they do and how they act. And they are more grounded in their faith!
Here are 11 specific benefits of serving God in your youth that my daughter and I came up with:
- Responsibility and Accountability – When youth serve at church, they are learning responsibility. Even if they have chores at home, it is important for them to learn responsibility in a variety of ways. Whether they are simply tasked with holding a door open for church visitors or prepping the coffee area, they are learning that their help is an important part of making church happen. My daughter loves that she is given greater responsibility each year. She takes such ownership in “I'm in charge of ….” each Sunday and makes it a point to get their early so she can get prepared.
- Problem-solving skills – Just because it is church doesn't mean there won't be problems! How to get a cranky toddler to cheer up? Several volunteers didn't show up so who is going to do their duties? My daughter is always letting me know about the problems they had and how they figured them out.
- Confidence – When kids serve at church, it builds their confidence. Kids need to be given things to do so they can feel needed and important. When they do something well and are thanked or acknowledged by church staff or other leadership volunteers, this significantly builds their self-esteem into believing they can do more.
- Healthy Relationships – When youth serve at church, they are surrounded by other Godly people treating each other with respect. Many kids today just don't have this at home. They don't know how a Godly man or woman acts or behaves because they don't have anyone like that in their life to model after. By serving at church, they can observe others interacting and treating each other. They can see healthy ways to deal with issues or stressful situations.
- Find mentors – Every child needs a mentor of some kind. By serving at church, they will be serving alongside Godly men and women who can pour into them, encourage them, and even take them under their wing. This is especially true for kids that don't have the best home life. Our youth pastor (or one of the college mentors) brings this one kid to church every Sunday (and Wednesday). He hangs out and serves for all 4 services on Sunday. Apparently, his home life isn't the best and our youth pastor realized this. Because they make a point to go pick up this kid, he is being surrounded by and mentored by so many loving adults for the better part of his Sunday every single week!
- Realize their gifts and/or talents – Every child has an amazing gift that God has given them. Unfortunately, so many never realize these gifts because they aren't provided the opportunity to figure them out or work on them. By serving at church, kids and teens can be exposed to things that may bring out talents they didn't realize they had. If they do already know they have a talent, what better place to work on it that by serving God?
- Encouraged to lead – When kids start serving at church, they continue serving. As time goes by, they are often given great responsibility and encouraged to take charge of some things. My daughter started serving in the kid's ministry when she started 6th grade. Now that she is in high school, she serves in a leadership capacity on the Wednesday night (teen ministry) Core Team. This is just one example of how serving God in your youth can help build leadership skills. But I see it every week as I watch these kids literally grow up serving at church.
- Put others before themselves – When kids begin serving at church, they learn to put the needs of others before their own. They learn that serving God in your youth means getting up early on Sunday – even though they'd rather sleep in. They learn how to let others be in the spotlight because they need attention more at a particular moment. They learn that life isn't about them but how they can help others.
- Make new friends – When kids serve at church, they get to meet other kids that they may not have otherwise come in contact with. My daughter serves on the Core Team for our teen ministry. Our church has teens from all of our area high schools and the Core Team is made up of students from all of them. While my daughter's regular circle of friends includes other kids that have funneled into her high school from the same middle and elementary schools, she has been able to make new friends with kids that live on the other side of town. These are kids she wouldn't normally have ever even been in the same room with.
- They become an example for other – The more our youth are exposed to Christ, the more they emulate Him in their own actions. I see this so clearly with my daughter! Even though I didn't raise her from an early age in church, serving in her youth has truly made her a better person and one that strives to be an example for her peers. She exemplifies Christ in so many ways and encourages her friends to do the same. And her light shines so bright that others don't really need much coaxing. They want to join her!
- Learn the Bible – Of all the things she listed, I really didn't expect “learning the Bible” to be one of them (you know, because she is a teenager!). She specifically mentioned how, since she helps in the children's ministry (1st-5th grade) she gets to help with the Bible lesson and because of that, she remembers verses and stories much better. Often times when she is listening in during regular church, her teenager attention span gets in the way of her actually absorbing the message. But by serving, she is getting a double dose and is actually getting to know more of what the Bible says.
Bible Verses About Serving God in Your Youth
The Bible speaks often about the importance of serving God and serving others before ourselves. These particular verses really drive home the importance of kids serving God in their youth and how it impacts them in so many ways.
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
When you get your kids connected to and engaged by serving at church, you are laying the foundation for them to understand the importance of serving God so they won't be so easily swayed away from their faith as they grow older and are exposed to more temptation.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV
When kids serve God, they are no longer just silly kids. They are now providing an example for their non-believer friends to see. We need more youth who are willing to be bold in their faith so their lost friends will have the opportunity to know Jesus!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:19 NIV
The more time our youth spend surrounded by others who speak life into each other, the more that becomes the norm for their own speech. They'll know their true value in Christ and only want the same for their friends.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
By serving from an early age, we are teaching our youth about the reward that awaits them in Heaven. This mindset will carry over into the time they have here on Earth and create a strong work ethic for them which is so important as they transition into adulthood.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 NIV
The more time kids spend surrounded by other Godly people, the less they'll stray from God's word. For teenagers, being surrounded by other Godly teens can help fight the normal temptations that teens face and they'll face.
Serving God in Your Youth Matters!
It matters to God! It matters to those who are being helped through their service. And it matters for their own personal and spiritual growth. I encourage every Mom to get their kids connected at church. Find opportunities in which they can serve in. Most churches will allow middle and high school students to serve in the children's ministry (Sunday School). If they are musically inclined, get them involved with the worship team. Just get them doing something!
I'm so happy and blessed that my own daughter has taken such interest in serving at church on Sundays and being a leader in the teen ministry. I see how her light shines so bright when she isn't at church. A light that can hopefully rub off on others and get them interested in joining her.
I'd love to hear of some ways that your youth are serving God either at church or in the community! I'd love even more to hear of real-life transformations that have happened as a result of a child faithfully serving God.
Be sure to also read:
- The Importance of Raising a Godly Generation of Youth
- 12 Reasons Why Bring Your Bible to School Day Matters
- 102 Life-Changing Reasons for Going to Church Regularly
**We use verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.