A long-term, extensive study was conducted of numerous students to determine who was likely to stay in a faith community as they move from adolescence into adulthood. It’s no surprise that the more deeply the teens were woven into the fabric of the congregation through activities and involvement, the more likely they were to continue ont hat path in the adult years.
The results were summarized in The Journal of Youth Ministry:
Those who want to help young people develop a rigorous, meaningful faith life should involve them in meaningful service…. Treating teenagers as partners in ministry rather than objects of ministry is an important and empowering distinction for developing new generations of spiritual leaders.
There is no better way to have students serve than with their family. The single biggest “sticky” factor for faith taking root in children is the experience of serving alongside their parents. It may be baking cookies for a neighbor, a spring-break mission trip with “The Fam,” or canvassing your neighborhood and picking up trash. What are some service projects your family has done together? Or if you have never done any, what are some you can add to your calendar? Is your church offering any upcoming service projects or even a mission trip?
What you choose to do isn’t important.
Who you do it with is.
Why? Because serving gets you out of your comfort zone, and it can be quite humbling. Getting your hands dirty removes the layers of pretension and pride which so many spectator Christians have. When you serve, you start to look like Jesus.
Mark 10: 45
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”