Community service is the giving of ourselves to help others rather than a “project completed” or “hours counted.” As Jesus said, “For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve”‚Ä® (Mark 10:45).
Below is a list of simple ways youth can reach out, make a connection and help others in imitation of Christ. Check them out and make this kind of ministry a regular part of your youth ministry service efforts. Above all, remember the key to involving youth in Christ-like service (as with any youth ministry effort) are personal invitations, consistency, and follow up.
- Community Cleanup: Choose an area in town to keep clean for the next 6 months. Contact city officials to ask if they would provide trash bags or paint to cover graffiti-covered walls, etc. One Saturday a month take a team of teens (it doesn’t have to be all of them every time) to clean up the area. After, go back to the church for some pizza or cookies!
- Bottle & Can Drive: Collect bottle and cans, go to a recycling station get your deposits and give to a local charity.
- Start a Tutoring Program out of Your Parish: Life Teen/Edge youth can sign up to help younger children with reading, writing, math, or science. Offer tutoring services each month in the evening, providing a quiet, relaxing atmosphere that is good for studying, followed by some fun. Contact local elementary schools about offering your services.
- Make a Meal at the Local Soup Kitchen: Contact a local soup kitchen and offer to prepare a meal. Find out what to cook, ask for food donations from people in the Church, and gather at the Church or Soup Kitchen to prepare the meal.
- Closet Cleaning: Have everyone in your Life Teen/Edge group go through their closets to collect items in good condition that they would be willing to give to people in need. Give it to a local service organization that distributes clothing to people.
- Mission Trip: Often times there are a variety of mission trips available through Catholic groups/organizations and different parishes.
Participating in service can be life changing! It enables us to experience what it means to help people not because we want to be “nice,” or because we expect to “get something back in return,” but because of a genuine concern. Service is one of the most powerful ways to show youth their faith in action.
Question: What are some current service activities you do at your parish?