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What they really think about serving

Cara Martens
Cara Martens Tuesday November 16, 2010
<? echo $type; ?> What they really think about serving

Do you ever wonder what kids really think about serving? Deep Justice in a Broken World: Helping your Kids Serve Others and Right the Wrongs Around Them by Chap Clark and Kara Powell mentions a 2006 nationwide survey conducted by MTV to hear from students directly on why they help others.

*70% think it’s important to help others in need, but only 19% were “very involved”.

To unpack this further, the survey ranked the top five reasons youth aren’t involved.
It’s just not for me (18%)
I like to hang out with friends (15%)
I don’t have enough time (14%)
I don’t know how to get started (14%)
I want to see concrete results (8%)

So looking at these reasons, here are some practical things to try:
Promote several different types of service opportunities during the year.
Encourage students to invite and serve with their friends.
Replace other activities they regularly attend with a service activity.
Create easy ways to get started as well as more challenging options.
Publicly celebrate afterward through stories, pictures or videos about what they experienced together.

Why is getting students involved locally and globally worth fighting for?

In Inside Out Families, Diana Garland reports on her study of what makes the most impact in a student’s spiritual life. She concludes after extensive survey and research, “Community service was significantly more closely related to the faith development of teens than attending worship services. Service appears to be more powerful than Sunday school, Bible study, or participation in worship in the faith development of teenagers.”[i]

She goes on to document that when teens serve alongside adults, the experience broadens their faith and redefines their understanding of church. (Excerpt from pg.67 of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof)

We want young adults to BE the church before they leave home and not just GO to church. What are some other reasons why you think service is so important to students and older children? What do you DO in your ministry to get them fully engaged in impacting others? We’d love to hear your ideas and add them to our list of things to try this next year.

Cara Martens can’t help but read, write and dream, so becoming the 252 Basics Creative Director and main researcher for all things Orange is a perfect fit. She taught for a decade in schools and led teams in creating experiences for the church. Cara and her husband, Kevin, are schooled daily by her five- and eight-year-olds on how kids learn best.