A Note to Moms with Young Children

These ministry opportunities are primarily for families with older children and teens.

When I was a younger mom with only babies, toddlers and young children at home, it was a season of training and nurturing within the home. Many times Bill and I had to say “No” to good activities because they put too much strain on us with so many little ones. We even stopped teaching Sunday School, and stopped going to church on Sunday nights because it took so much physical energy to get that many little ones out the door again.

For us, this was the right thing to do, and the Lord blessed us in those years, and helped me to work out many character and parenting issues with which I was grappling at the time. Then, over the years as our children grew in age and maturity, we slowly began to expand their opportunities to serve outside the home.

Christian Ministry ~ Wise Companion Opportunities

Having home educated our children since 1986, I can tell you four things that are true about most home educated children: they are smart (see Dr. Brian Ray’s website (www.nheri.org) for the latest academic stats on homeschoolers), they are talented (check out recitals, concerts, or awards programs in almost any city in America, and you’ll find homeschoolers shining brightly – and often intimidating us adults!), they are socially mature (see Dr. Ray’s website for those national stats, too), and they are blessed (how many other kids in the world still have two parents in the home – with one of them usually at home full time, giving them a faith-based education, driving them back-and-forth to whatever interest they show a bent for until the wheels fall off the car, and sacrificing financially to make sure they receive whatever tools they need to succeed? There are always exceptions, but homeschooled kids largely fit this description.

Everyone knows what can happen to people (or nations) that are smart, talented, and socially and spiritually blessed. They can get proud and self-sufficient and develop tiny little attitudes that maybe it isn’t their God who has blessed them so, but something inherently good in them that has brought them all their attention and favor, and perhaps they should expect this favorable treatment from the rest of the world for the rest of their lives (check out Biblical and secular history for the stats on that).

So, how do we keep these smart, blessed and talented kids from becoming proud? One very important way (though it is only one way) is to teach our children the true meaning of greatness by being a servant. We want them to build life-long habits of serving others in Jesus’ name. By going "two-families-by-two" or “three-families-by-three” with families who are also focusing on godly character, we build Scriptural, ministry-focused relationships for our children. To that end, I created the following Family-Friendly Ministry List of local places where we can train our children to serve others in Jesus’ name.

Our family has been involved in numerous extra-curricular activities in the past, and our children have benefited academically or musically through them. There is nothing wrong with them. However, those activities need to be secondary to serving in Jesus’ name. In any area where our children succeed there are certain potential “snares,” one of the hardest to detect being that of pride, either in our children or in us (or both!). Pride is only one trap; a self-focused viewpoint and lax attitudes about spiritual things are also common snares for our children. We can help to protect them from those natural bents by making genuine Christian ministry (doing for others with no hope of return or reward from man) a priority in their lives. See the chapter entitled Teaching Children to Live for a Higher Purpose than Themselves in my book, Children of Character, for more encouragement in this area.

Below are some service opportunities our family would like to invite you to join us in this year. If you know of a Ministry Opportunity you’d like to see added to the list, let me know. If you’d like the Moms’ group to sponsor a ministry in which you’re already involved, let me know.

He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Pr 13:20

From Children of Character 1

"At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by, 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.' Hungry not only for bread, but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing, but naked of human dignity and respect...This is Christ in distressing disguise." Mother Teresa

A truly nurturing home is a place that provides training in how to succeed in a world that does not revolve around any one person. The true purpose of doing good works is not to wipe out poverty or hunger or to win that campaign (whatever leader is in office we are instructed to honor and pray for), but to let our good works (for Jesus) so shine before men that we glorify our Father who is in Heaven. Our true purpose is to serve Him in all we do. But we have to teach our children how to go lower to find the higher. We begin by asking the Lord for His leading. And service projects such as charitable deeds and Scriptural good works are the very best ways to develop and nurture wise friendships for our children. If the thought of serving the poor or the hungry or the lonely or the handicapped or the mentally-ill seems intimidating, or even frightening, then it is in allowing the Lord to reveal the causes for those fears, one at a time and fear by fear, that He is able to deliver us from them. This is another powerful way that we are changed as we give of ourselves.

Raising great kids takes a lot of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy. However, if we use our energy pouring out too many good works on our children, the result will usually be a child-centered home. This is the type of environment that produces self-centered children who experience conflicts when they try to function outside the home when life no longer revolves around them or their desires. The energy that it takes for parents to dig their children out from under the weight of self-indulgence can be daunting. Children whose moms are in the Moms’ Group are incredibly active in worthwhile Christian service. Bill and I encourage families to help their children develop wise friendships two-by-two (not in groups), and to build those friendships around Scriptural good works and charitable deeds. We encourage you to prayerfully consider asking other families, whose children have the same type of character you are seeking to build in your children, to serve with your family in an area of Christian ministry throughout the year. “Ministry” means any time our children must think of giving to others instead of simply receiving something more for themselves, even if the something more is something good like more knowledge or experience, etc. From Children of Character

How right it was for us to pull our children away from activities in which they excelled when their character was not yet strong. And how little we knew then about God’s ways. We began to replace our old activities with ministry opportunities, such as taking food to the needy and visiting nursing homes. What a difference we began to sense in our children (and in us). Our focus, and later, our children’s focus, began to shift from “What will we get/learn/earn from this activity?” to “What can we give to this person?” or “How can we be a part of the solution?”