My friend, Kevin Mahaffy, shared 6 tips on how to get teenagers involved in their communities and I thought these were very helpful. I will share 4 of them with you here on the blog, and you can get the link to the full post at the end.
- Make it fun. If serving is a drag, students will not want to do it. It can be hard and challenging, but it’s never dull. Find ways to make service fun. Build fun competition, crack jokes when things aren’t going as planned, give them fun incentives, etc. Give students shirts when they register. Host a swim party after a long day of serving. Take students out for a Slurpee or a burger on the way home. Be creative and show them that serving, especially together with their friends, can be fun.
- Make it short. The best way to introduce healthy elements into your ministry is by starting small. For “Love Long Island,” I knew that if I asked students to sacrifice their whole spring break, our participation would have been minimal. By making it a two-day commitment on the front-end of the week, they still had five days to sleep in, play video games, or whatever they wanted. Our service days were only 9am-3pm so they still had their evenings on those two days.
- Make it affordable. Service projects are built into my student ministry budget. I purchase needed supplies, etc. using those funds. For “Love Long Island,” I just charged students $25. For the two days that covered their t-shirt, bag lunches, chaperones, and transportation. Even if you don’t have a budget, you can keep the cost low. Again, be creative. Have students bring personal work gear, tools, and even their lunch.
- Make it regular. Through the years I have always looked for ways to make service a constant on our calendar. In addition to our annual events and mission trips, we also designate monthly or bi-monthly “Serve Nights” for our small groups. On those nights, rather than having regular small group meetings, they plan and implement service projects as groups. Through the years they have made care packages for kids with cancer, wrote Valentine’s cards for veterans, visited nursing homes, cleaned the church, delivered goodie bags to local business owners, and picked up trash around town.
Go here to read the full post.