As the holiday season approaches, you may be looking at your ministry schedule and seeking opportunities to serve in your community. After all, the Bible is clear that our faith is shown by its fruit — good works that bring glory to our Father in heaven (Matt. 7:20).
Here are five great ideas you can implement in your ministry to be a light that shines for Christ in your community.
1. Connect with a Food Pantry
Food drives are a great way to provide for the less fortunate in your community. If you are in an area of the world that celebrates Thanksgiving, perhaps your ministry could collect Thanksgiving meal items for a themed food drive. Many pantries also work with local grocery stores and food shares to get special deals, so cash donations are always sought as well. Perhaps your ministry could take a special offering and be a blessing that way. In any case, establishing a connection to your local food pantry is a great idea, because many pantry administrators have their fingers on the pulse of the needs of the community.
2. Minister to a Senior Living Facility
The holidays are a joyous time for many, but sometimes we forget that for some, it can be very lonely. Many seniors spend the holidays alone. Reach out to your local senior living facility or nursing home and organize a Christmas caroling night with your students. Perhaps you could write letters of encouragement or Christmas cards with gospel messages. Not only will you being there put smiles on their faces, but your witness could even open discussions with the unsaved that could lead to gospel decisions!
3. Do Chores for a Shut-In or Widow
Options for this idea could vary greatly depending on where you are in the world, but for shut-ins and widows, important work still needs to get done — and family might not always be around to help. In more temperate climates, raking leaves or chopping and stacking wood is a great help before winter sets in. If snow is on the ground, shoveling snow is a great option as well. In warmer climates, one could also plant flowers or do a bit of basic landscaping and cleaning. These tasks may seem simple, but they can be a great encouragement, and have a profound impact on your testimony in your community.
4. Collect Clothes for a Homeless Shelter
For some of those in colder climates, the winter months may mean struggling to stay warm, especially those who may not have a home to shelter in. Perhaps your ministry could collect gloves, hats, boots, coats, and other winter clothes for your local homeless shelter. For those in warmer climates, even something as simple as basic t-shirts, pants, and socks would be a great help. If you have a young children’s ministry, you could focus the clothing drive on children’s clothes or shoes.
5. Clean Up Your Community
No matter where you live, there is most likely a street or public place near you that needs a good cleaning. Gather a group of teens, some gloves, and some garbage bags and pick up some litter. It’s not a glamorous job — but be encouraged that we serve a Savior that wasn’t afraid to do the “dirty” jobs (John 13:1-17 being a great example of this!). Serving your community in this way is a great means of ministering to your local officials.
There are thousands of ideas that can be utilized to serve others. As you teach your students and show them the love of Christ in your ministry, encourage them to share that love with the community around them, and let their lights shine!
Adam Minor is the Chief Editor for Word of Life Youth Ministries. He has more than 20 years of experience as an Olympians leader at his home church. He and his wife, Sarah, have two young children and live in northeastern Connecticut.