Daniel and I are a blended family with three children. Jimmy is 13, Chloe is 10, and Lydia is in Heaven. We choose to serve Alpine together as a family. We serve in a variety of ways, both individually and together, including (but not limited to) Chicago Homeless Outreach, Hospitality (coffee, greeting, and ushering), Youth Ministry, Worship Team and Thrive Single Moms.
When we began serving together as a family, it was simply a way to keep the kids engaged while Daniel and I were serving. It started a couple of years ago when Daniel and I knew that we wanted to serve together, but we weren’t sure where we could all fit. We knew that the kids got bored easily and would be difficult to keep rounded up on Sunday mornings, so we needed something that would be active for them. Hospitality seemed like a good fit for all of us. As we began to serve regularly, we realized that it wasn’t as difficult to engage the kids as we thought it would be and it’s held some amazing benefits as well!
As we moved into expanding our “family reach,” through additional serving, like Youth Ministry and Chicago Homeless Outreach, we got to see God working in us and the kids to highlight each of our strengths and giftings. Chloe found so much joy in helping to serve coffee and meeting new people. Jimmy is breaking out of his shell and is even stepping out to serve in other ministries all on his own. Daniel has plenty of opportunities to have good conversations with new people, sharing encouragement and prayer. And I find joy in helping and serving others through front of house and behind-the-scenes tasks.
Serving as a family also gives us the ability to talk to our kids about selflessness and doing things even when we don’t want to. Believe me, there are mornings where we’re dragging the kids (and ourselves…) out the door, but when we model Christ for them, it shows them how we want them to act outside of the church walls. It also shows them that hard work for the Kingdom is always worth it.
Finally, serving together brings us closer as a family. It’s hard to spend time together during the week. We’re all in different directions and so tired. But, when we serve together, we can put aside our morning squabbles and focus outside of ourselves. This not only gives us time together, but it makes it easier to forgive one another in the process. Usually we’ve forgotten our grumpiness completely by the time we leave!
Needless to say, serving as a family isn’t all rainbows and daisies, but it’s a commitment that we’ve made as a family to model Christ and share our gifts. Besides, we wouldn’t be followers of Christ if we weren’t at least a little messy, right?!