Missouri churches are learning the value of hosting ministry opportunities for the whole family.
First Baptist Church, Farmington, is currently making plans for their annual “You are the Light” family mission project in June. The week-long event gives families the opportunity to serve other families in the community by performing minor repairs and cleaning projects around their homes.
According to education minister Chuck Henson, volunteers in bright yellow T-shirts divide into teams to do everything from construction and painting to kitchen duty and media.
Children age 6 and younger are in childcare during the projects, but those 7 and older and encouraged to participate. Young volunteers are able to wash windows and clear brush, among other things, Henson said.
“It really brings the church together,” Henson said of the projects. In the last two years, the church has served approximately 120 families during the “You are the Light” project weeks.
First Baptist Church, Sedalia recently returned from a mission trip to the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, Ill. “We did not advertise this opportunity as a family mission trip; we simply invited all ages to participate,” minister of missions and administration Cara Harrington said.
The team of 45 ranged in age from 4 to 72.
The church has partnered with the CAC for several years. Last year they hosted 21 children from CAC for Vacation Bible School. “FBC children played an integral role in this project,” Harrington said. “It was only natural to invite them to go and see where their ‘guest’ lives and rekindle special friendships.”
The team worked on a variety of projects, including cleaning, painting, installing shower stalls, landscaping, addressing heating/cooling and electrical concerns, laying new floor, organizing, mounting mural boards and supervising the playground, she said.
The variety made planning for young workers a simple task. “Some would require specialized skills, while others simply needed willing hearts,” Harrington said. “With this in mind, it was somewhat easy to find some child-friendly activities to put in the mix.”
She said that the church emphasizes that God can use everyone, regardless of age, skills or gifts. This trip was one way the church would put those words to action.
Younger team members had the opportunity to strengthen their faith through service. “I saw God at work when we were playing at the playground with the CAC kids,” said Sarah White, 9.
“There is something very special about watching families serve together within their church family,” Harrington said.
“It is an amazing thing to watch people of all ages come together to work as one team. The inter-generational aspect only adds to the experience as our church family draws closer together as we serve together.”
Team members agreed. “I was blessed by the trip to the Christian Activity Center because my family and I got to all go together,” Phillip Wise wrote.
“It was a blessing to me to serve together with all of my daughters, my wife and my granddaughter.”
Jennifer Harris is the news writer for Word&Way.