We began last year to intentionally provide training along age lines as rights of passage for students called Faith Milestones. I Can Serve offers an invitation and an expectation to include and engage children in worship for students in 3rd-5th grades. This year, we kicked it up a notch.
We have a Sno Cone machine, a Popcorn machine, and a Spin Art machine to add that little something special to events, hot summer after-church-times of fellowship, and great fun to ministry with children. Including training and practice with these items invite the students to share in hospitality to other students.
Teaching one machine at a time included set-up, safety features, possible dangers, how to speak to others we serve, and the all important clean-up. A job done is only done well with training and practice. To everyone’s delight we taste-tested everything and spoke about partnering with one another to serve well as Jesus never sent out his disciples one at a time, but two and three at a time.
We started the event at 3:20pm and finished out at 5pm just in time for CLUB345. The closing bingo game gave us a chance to elaborate on logistics of serving communion; personal hygiene; arriving 30 minutes ahead of time to set up and get any final instructions before serving; to always be on the lookout to be safe and provide a safe environment for those we are serving (where the electrical plugs go, which way to face the machine, setting up a floor mat, etc.); appropriate dress code when serving; serving like Jesus in extending over-the-top hospitality in our words and face; we begin serving as a 3rd grader because our hands are strong enough to hold the full challis and tall enough to light the candles on the communion table; by 6th grade they have practiced and followed directions well enough to serve as a student leader in VBS; and vocabulary=an acolyte is a ‘helper in church.’ We took the pledge…’raise your right hand’…and they are chomping at the bit to know when they can begin, as Ashton said, their ‘duty.’
By the end of the day, students have been trained and practiced lighting the candles on the communion table, serving the juice at communion, speaking into a microphone, running the sno cone machine, spin art machine, and serving from the popcorn machine. How are you training up the current and future leaders in your church in service and hospitality?
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7