For years now I have big proponent for family missions. I believe that it is a responsibility of the church today to provide opportunities for families to serve God and others as a whole. Opportunities for mission or ministry outreach should not just be limited to teenagers or adults, it should start from the beginning. It is our responsibility to bring up the next generation now, from infancy, looking for opportunities to glorify the name of God through service to others.
With that said, I do recognize that the opportunities for mission work with young children are going to be limited, but they do exist. The attention span of a toddler or preschooler is very limited so the activities do need to fit the demographics of the people involved. Within my own family, a few years ago (back when we only had one child) we had the opportunity to regularly interact with and provide sandwiches and waters to some of the homeless members of our community downtown. Our daughter, who was 2 at the time, loved going downtown and passing out water bottles or just entertaining herself with whatever she found nearby. For a long time she thought going downtown meant helping people. I don’t want that outlook on the world to change for her or my other children.
Unfortunately, there have not been as many opportunities for regular service as we have added two other children to our family. My husband and oldest daughter regularly partner with friends from church to go down to the homeless shelter on a monthly basis to serve meals. When our other children are old enough they will be able to participate as well (and finally I will be able to help on a more regular basis since I’m usually the one keeping them while my husband goes).
I am constantly on the lookout for new opportunities that might arise where we can participate as a family and serve others. I want my children to understand the importance of helping others from their earliest memories and to also understand Jesus’ commandment to go and serve others:
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”
– Matthew 20:28