One thing about serving with the kids at youth center is teaching them how to serve without expecting something in return. A while back, I started doing a star chart rewards system with them. When they cleaned up, behaved really well, did homework, they got a star. They loved it, and I loved it! That is, until they began doing things only to get a star! Over the course of their earning stars, they began to fight over who had more. They began to demand a star when they did extra cleaning or helping. Some would think up a hundred different tasks to do if they would get a star for each one. I would tell them that they shouldn't do things JUST to receive a star. That would usually end with them not doing anything at all. Then I would find that kids were giving themselves stars when teachers weren't around. And on this went. So for a time, I stopped doing the star chart so that they could learn to do things without demanding/expecting things in return. There are a few kids that come that genuinely like to help and they don't ask for anything after. I love when kids just want to take the broom and mop and clean up after youth center. To these kids, I love to give a little something because their heart is right about serving, but they won't always get a treat and they are ok with that. More than just a treat, I like to really verbally encourage their effort and let them know that it pleases God. I know this blesses the heart of God, and it blesses me to see that. This is the service that we want to encourage, and we pray that they continue this way and grow up to be examples for other kids that come.
Andy and Amir are two of those boys who just like helping! One Friday after youth center they stayed to help clean up. Andy picked up trash and Amir cleaned out the bathrooms, and they did it gladly! Pastor Leon Sr. used to tell us “Always remember who you serve, but also remember WHOM you serve”. Pray for the kids to not only know that they serve God, but to come to know the God that they serve in Jesus Christ.