For a lot of people it can be difficult to find a place where they feel comfortable serving. This type of dilemma is the reason so many churches struggle to get their youth involved. It’s hard to find opportunities that are age appropriate. In some cases, you may have to find some tailored jobs made specifically with the youth in mind.
For 5-10 year old’s, you can create a service team that stands in the entrances and opens doors for people, or you can have some kids walk through the auditorium before service greeting people. By creating these jobs, you’re providing a way for your kids to feel connected to the church. Plus, kids this age have infectious smiles, and the church will feel more inviting with them greeting people.
For 10-14 year old’s, you should start introducing the idea of serving even when it’s not Sunday. You can do this by having some of them help you on Saturdays as you vacuum and clean up for Sunday. Or, you can ask your 12-14 year olds for ideas about the curriculum for your second and third grade classes. That was one way my church got me involved. When I was 14, they asked me to attend a meeting of the Sunday school committee and give a kid’s perspective. Looking back, I doubt my assistance was helpful, but being invited made me realize that God had given me special talents I could offer the church. I just had to find them and serve my heart out.
For 14-18 year old’s, the trick is to find jobs that are more about action. Teens are fidgety people. The more you let them do and the less you ask them to sit, the more connected they’ll be. Fortunately, this is also the time when you don’t have to invent as many jobs for them. They can take on many of the responsibilities you have open to adults, such as playing in the band or helping to prepare food for events. You can also find service opportunities by asking your busier volunteers if they would like an assistant. This relieves pressure from your volunteers, while also giving your teens some mentors.
Often people tell the youth, “You are the future,” or “You are the church of today.” This is a good thing, and it’s true. The problem is that the youth is being excluded from the “now”. If your church doesn’t make it clear through its actions that the youth is included in “we,” nothing else you say may reach the youth.