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One (of the many) ways we love to give Millennials a bad rap is by saying they’re a bunch of selfish lazy jerks who sit around in their parents’ basements playing video games and eating Cheetos.
Part of the stereotype is true, like any stereotype, but in a lot of ways young people aren’t selfish, especially when it comes to serving the local church. Below are 12 ways young people can serve their local churches.
Young people: church is not about you and your feelings. Church isn’t about personal fulfillment as much as it is about selfless service.
Stop treating church like a Broadway show or a therapy session and start serving people. Here are 12 ways to do it:
(To be fair, none of these are really limited to Millennials, but some of them are more appropriate for young people.)
This is something small, but I really think it can have a huge impact. I love writing letters and have been meaning to start this for a few weeks now, but I haven’t made the time.
A lot of churches list homebound members on the church announcements or bulletins, along with their addresses. Take 10 minutes out of your week and write a nice note to the older folks in your church who can’t make it on Sundays. Many of them are probably widowed, and nobody hates getting nice mail from people.
If you’re able, go a step further than just writing letters—VISIT the people in your church who can’t make it on Sundays. Go make dinner for them or watch their favorite show with them. Unless you’re a jerk, which I hope you’re not, I’m sure they’d love the company from time to time.
Millennials can certainly serve older members of the church, but they can also serve some of the youngest ones in the church. The first ministry I ever did in the church was hold babies during the service every other month when I was in the eighth or ninth grade.
Serve in the nursery. Pray for the babies and their families.
The second ministry I ever participated in at my church was serving in the elementary school ministry on Sunday mornings. Millennials could learn a lot from teaching a group of young people more whiny and self-entitled than themselves. It’s a humbling experience; Millennials would benefit a lot from it I think.
A lot of folks need brush cleared, trees cut down, lawns mowed, and more. Ask around and see if anyone in the church needs some strapping young folks to clean up the yard.
I’ve volunteered Susie and I for this once or twice. We both love kids, and we don’t have any of our own yet, so I feel like a way we can serve the families in our churches, or among our group of friends in general, is by giving them a night out. They don’t get date nights as much as we do.
Pastors always need encouragement. Give it to them. Build them up. Affirm Christ in them.
Grab a high school student, have coffee with him/her once a week to go through a book of the Bible or something like that. Disciple a high school student. You know what it was like to be in high school—technically, the youngest Millennials are still in high school, just learning to drive.
Invest in the future.
Along those same lines, don’t just mentor one kid, lead a whole small group of them! Serve in the youth ministry; go on mission trips; go to sporting events. This is time well spent. Susie and I have served in this way for a number of years. We love it.
Some churches are big enough to have big landscaping teams. Most are not. Offer to help keep your place of worship looking nice.
Get this: 51% of births to Millennials in 2008 were to unwed mothers. THAT IS OVER HALF. Single motherhood (or even parenthood, generally) is an epidemic destroying our nation from the inside out.
Serve single mothers. Tell them you love them. Support them financially. Do whatever it takes.
Finally, and for some, most painfully, give sacrificially to you church. I have always stunk at this, primarily because I never understood why the church needed my money to function. It had always functioned without my money surely it could continue to do so.
Give sacrificially. Your money isn’t yours, so stop acting like it is.
How do you serve in your local church? What did I miss?