Community service is now a graduation requirement at many U.S. high schools. That may be one reason volunteerism is on the rise among young people today.
But another is that teenagers are recognizing the value and joy of helping to meet other people’s needs and finding significance by serving a purpose. This millennial generation craves making a difference in the world, and today’s teenagers are actively searching for ways to engage and serve.
For Christian teenagers, serving is an important practice of connecting their faith to something real and tangible, and understanding God’s call on our lives to love and serve others.
As you and your family are entering this new year, explore the variety of serving opportunities that exist for your teenagers and for your whole family in your local church, community organizations, camps and family-friendly mission trips.
- Service gives teenagers a sense of significance, purpose and worth. Living out the greatest commandment to love others connects kids to something much bigger and significant than themselves and their struggle for identity in a me-driven culture.
- Service takes teenagers out of their comfort zones. The challenge of tackling something new makes kids pay attention, work as a team, face obstacles, and expands their capacity for overcoming hardship.
- Service teaches kids to rely more directly on God—and helps them grow closer to him in the process…making their faith something they own, not something forced on them.
- Service leverages new, meaningful relationships with like-minded peers. Teenagers are exposed to new peers and mentors who share the values of service and living out their faith.
- Service makes kids appreciate how fortunate they are. Helping others in need puts life into perspective and makes kids count their blessings.
- Service makes people in need become real and human.Teenagers gain a greater sense of respect and value for every life, as well as sensitivity to how God can use them to touch others with His love.
- Service creates a hunger for God. Kids who serve realize they’re also serving God in the process and often desire to get to know Him better.
- Service builds a wide range of life skills. Teenagers learn responsibility, tolerance, accountability, good citizenship, compassion, friendliness, acceptance, self-control, determination, endurance, and dependability.
- Service encourages young people to be salt and light. Kids share their Christian faith with people by demonstrating God’s love in practical, tangible ways.
- Service becomes a habit. When teenagers help others, they establish a lifestyle of service that often carries over into adulthood.