5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Serve

We have eight children 14 years old and under.

Over the years, a number of people have remarked to me and my wife that our children are unusually interested in helping others. 

If a lady is carrying a heavy bag, they often run to carry it for her. If a man is changing a tire, they walk over (unsolicited) to hand him the tools. If congregants need song sheets, they rush to assist. When the meal is over, they’re pretty good about clearing the table quickly and washing the dishes so the adults can talk.

“Show us the secret,” they say. The secret is really no secret at all. You can find the answers in the Bible. We believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible is all we need. This doesn’t mean that Scripture will teach us how to remove stitches or win at horse shoes or pass the chemistry exam. It’s not sufficient in that way. The Bible is sufficient for faith and practice. This means that the Bible teaches us, either directly or indirectly, everything we need to know about salvation and sanctification.

In other words, if you want to know how to draw blood, you go to nursing school. But if you want to know how to live a good life, you go to the Bible. This includes teaching your kids how to serve others.

Here are five tips.

1. Show them serving is Christian

Serving others is to Christianity what ivy is to the outfield wall at Wrigley Field. When you look at Christians, you’re really looking at servants. The word “servant” is found well over 250 times in the New Testament. Paul had a hard time introducing himself without calling himself a doulos. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…” (Rm. 1:1).

This is totally foreign to our narcissistic world. Some years ago, Tim Tebow said that the girl of his dreams would have a “servant’s heart”. Though this is standard Christian parlance, much of the media lost their minds. The wife, servile? Yes, and not just the wife but the husband and all the kids too, all in an effort to serve just like Jesus. The Master said: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mt. 20:28). Continue reading

Should Children Aspire to Be Future Missionaries?

87C0F729-70B2-4D20-95A4-83B1A2AABB80_1_201_aMay children be saved? Yes. Spurgeon said that as soon as a child is capable of being lost, it is capable of being saved. Cotton Mather called the parent an ostrich who pretended their lost child was a Christian. Parents must call them to faith, for children can be converted.

So if a child is capable of being saved, is he capable of aspiring to be a missionary? Yes. Parents should not deter such dreams. In fact, they should pray for it.

“Lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children” (Lam. 2:19).

Historical Examples

When John Paton volunteered for missionary service to the cannibals of the South Seas, his whole church discouraged him from doing so. He was in his early 30’s at the time, but he returned home disheartened. It was then his parents broke the secret they had long kept from him. They had prayed since his birth that he would become a missionary but they hadn’t wanted to unnecessarily sway his opinion. From his youth they had consecrated him to worldwide missions.

Paton wrote in his Biography the words of his mother that fateful evening:

“We feared to bias you, but now we must tell you why we praise God for the decision to which you have been led. Your father’s heart was set upon being a Minister, but other claims forced him to give it up. When you were given to them, your father and mother laid you upon the altar, their first-born, to be consecrated, if God saw fit, as a Missionary of the Cross; and it has been their constant prayer that you might be prepared, qualified, and led to this very decision; and we pray with all our heart that the Lord may accept your offering, long spare you, and give you many souls from the Heathen World for your hire.”

Anthony Norris Groves aspired to missions as a boy. He became one of the greatest missionaries in church history. He ministered for a time in Bagdad, the headquarters of Islam. He eventually established the first Protestant mission to Arabic-speaking Muslims. Continue reading

20 Questions a Husband Should Ask His Wife About Their Kids


She’s not happy because he never gave her this list

I recently asked these questions to my wife. It spurred excellent conversation. If a husband genuinely wants to know his wife’s thoughts on these questions, he’ll discover many things about her he never knew before.  

  1. Are you glad we had children when we did, or would different timing had been better?
  2. Are you happy with the number of children we have, or do you wish we had more or less?
  3. What are two practical things I can do to make your job as a mother easier and more enjoyable?
  4. Am I doing a good job teaching biblical doctrine (“what the Bible says”) and character (“how do I do this”) to the children?
  5. What is one way you think I manage the children well and one way I need to manage them better?
  6. Do you think I treat you as my chief confidant and advisor when raising the kids, welcoming your suggestions and advice?
  7. Do you think I give you freedom and help you to spread your wings as you train the children, or do you think I hold you back?
  8. Do you think our children are happy, or do you think I exasperate them and provoke them to wrath?
  9. Am I too optimistic and naive with the kids, thinking they’re little angels, or too pessimistic, thinking they’re demons incarnate?
  10. Do you think I’m doing a good job of creating warm, fun memories with the kids, or am I too firm and glum?
  11. Are there some ways you think I am hypocritical with the kids?
  12. Do I have a good balance of showing them love with affection and words, or am I too negative?
  13. Have I created a home that is safe from mockery and ridicule and where the children are free to make mistakes?
  14. Have I made the rules in our home clear or is there confusion among the children as to what I expect?
  15. How would you say I need better balance when it comes to disciplining the kids?
  16. What are two practical ways I can make rules in the home that are more clear and more easily attainable?
  17. Do you think I am quick to ask forgiveness from the children when I have sinned, or am I reluctant?
  18. Am I a good listener with the children, spending adequate time learning their likes and dislikes?
  19. When it comes to caring for the children, how would you fill in the blank? “Often I’ve thought, ‘I wish my husband would do ____ better.’”
  20. At my 75th birthday birthday party, what do you think I will be most glad I did when it comes to training the children? The biggest regret?