It’s uncomfortable saying this, but for a very long time, I’ve been making excuses. Many of them, really, about a variety of things, but most specifically about ministering to others.

You see, I have four small children, and my husband and I believe our kids are my main ministry. This is a worthy thing, but it slowly led to me using them as a reason not to share the Gospel or minister to others outside my home, declaring I didn’t have time to do such a thing and that it was “inconvenient” with little ones.

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Those reasons themselves aren’t completely false: we do get very busy as we continue to add babies to our family and it IS quite the process to get everyone moving and in the right frame of mind for doing something for someone else.

But this is something I have been slowly learning over the past few months:

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it.

Maybe you are feeling this way right now, that you can barely get through the day with your head on straight and your sanity intact, much less think of ways to bless others, share God’s Word with them, or spend time in prayer.

Can I offer you a few suggestions?

These are things we are currently working on implementing in our family, and they aren’t perfected, nor will they always happen as planned. But the idea is to have a plan and purpose for doing ministry, according to what God has laid on our hearts.

I needed to stop using my children as an excuse for not ministering to others outside our home and start asking the Lord to help me prioritize my time. This is important because my children are watching and learning from me how to serve others “as unto the Lord.” It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated or “perfect,” just done with a servant heart.

I want to give you some ideas as a springboard to help you start (or restart!) ministering to and helping others even when you have young children!

When you have young children, it can seem overwhelming to find the time to help others. But ministering to others is a great tool for teaching your kids kindness and cultivating a caring heart! Here are five ways our family helps others even when we're busy!

Five Ideas for Ministering to Others When You Have Young Children

  • Bake something and deliver it with your children. This is probably the simplest idea, and your children, even the littlest (well, except maybe the baby, who can just go along to be cute) can participate in the preparation and delivery of baked goods. If you don’t trust the two year old to mix the cookie batter without sticking his hands in it, have them color a picture or scribble on a notecard  (add a Bible verse) to attach to the bag of cookies or pan of bread, while you or your older ones do the baking. Walk or drive to the neighbor’s house or the home of someone from church that could use some encouragement and deliver it in person or anonymously. (My kids love surprising people, and this also teaches them to do things for others without having to be thanked!).
  • Sing or share at a local nursing home. Recently my five year old daughter went along with me and some ladies from our church to help at the local nursing home monthly “birthday party” for the residents. She was nervous at first, but she enjoyed singing and handing out the cake and ice cream, and of course, the elderly residents made over her like she was the cutest girl they’d ever seen! I realized in that moment that I wanted to help my children bridge the age gap between them and the much older generation, including my grandparents and many of the people in our church. To serve at a nursing home, contact the activities director and ask if you can share your talents with the residents, whether it is playing instruments, singing, or reading poems or Bible verses. The elderly residents at our nursing home especially enjoy hearing songs, hymns and poems that were popular when they were young!
  • Create a prayer list and pray over it with your kids! During family devotions, we are starting to pray for each family in our church and for other family members and friends as well. We created a box of prayer cards that list not only specific character qualities that we pray over our children {you can print these character cards for free if you’d like!} but also names of family, friends and church family that we are rotating through throughout the year.
  • Ask your kids what they want to do! Children have wonderful ideas, and I have to get away from the idea that only my husband and I can come up with ways to serve others. Do you have a child who loves to color and draw (like my 5 year old daughter)? Deliver her carefully crafted pictures to nursing home residents or the children’s ward at a hospital. Prompt your child’s creativity by asking them what needs they see around them or ask them, “What can we do to show we care for other people?” You may find a new family ministry activity!
  • Show hospitality (aka, getting over my messy house). This is the hardest thing for me to do. Honestly, I’ve neglected to have friends over many times because of the stress it puts on me the day before trying to get the house ready for guests. I don’t live in squalor, and I love spending time with friends, and I realize that building those relationships is important, BUT I’d rather just meet at a restaurant for coffee. I’m ashamed to say that I changed my plans with a sweet friend because I felt her house was so big and beautiful and mine was so….not. Showing hospitality is a great way to do ministry and we should remember that other women relate to our “messy house” struggles and desire a friendship, not a sparkling home to be shown to them. {I’ll let you know if I get better at this!} :)

How do you or did you minister to others with your little children?

I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Jenn

Blogger/ Author at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm an "unstuffy" pastor's wife and mom to four amazing and active children. My desire is to equip you with the resources, tools and encouragement you need to learn God’s Word and apply it to your life so you can teach the Word to your children in a way that has a lasting impact! I want to help you turn good ideas into good practices so that you feel confident, by the grace of God, in carrying out the many vocations you have been called to as a Christian woman. Read more on my about page!

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