by Amy Grisham
With the holiday season right around the corner, many of us are looking for opportunities to teach our children and students about serving those outside the walls of our church—in our community, in our schools, in our world. As we work to find strategic ways to serve, we find that nothing else—none of our daily, weekly, monthly tasks—are taken off of our plates. In fact, we often find even more piled on in the form of children’s Christmas plays to prepare, parties to plan for our small groups (adult and children’s!) and our own family’s plans to attend to.
If you serve in a church that doesn’t have a staff person who is responsible for outreach and charity opportunities, this is added to your plate in addition to everything else. How do we take on creating service opportunities for our children and students without further burying ourselves?
I have had several leaders share with me a great way to not only create a wonderful opportunity for those in our ministry to serve, but to do so in a way that also helps us with our workload. This idea? Find ministries in your area who are already serving well, and joining them in their efforts. In most every community there are already ministries, organizations, corporations doing excellent work and who would love extra hands to join them!
Check in with the family ministry areas of larger churches in your area, and see if they have projects already in place where they could use your help. Maybe they already do a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to feed families in need in your community. Would they allow your ministry to join them in the preparation, serving and cleaning up of the event? Is there a food pantry that organizes the gathering and distribution of food in your area? Ask them for a list of the most needed items and have your ministry focus on gathering those items. Then the food bank takes the responsibility for organizing, storing and distributing the items. It could be that older children and students could also help them out with organization and distribution. Does your local mall host a “Christmas Angel” tree or some other way to gather toys, clothing and supplies for children for Christmas? Find out what this opportunity is and join in their effort. Charities are in high need of assistance during this time—they would love having any extra assistance you are able to offer. Again, they will take care of the organization and distribution of what you are able to bring in, taking that portion off of your plate!
Lastly, within your ORANGE curriculum, there is an outreach opportunity suggested each year. The suggested organizations have been fully vetted by ORANGE and the curriculum provides all the information in how to partner with the specific organization for the year. The hope is to make it as easy as possible for you to jump in and be a part of the larger project.