Many people hear the word ministry and get a bit nervous--"I don't have the time", "I'm not very creative", "I don't have the money", etc...
Ministry, first and foremost, isn't about having ample time, tons of money or a knack for creativity; it's about people! Ministry can be as simple as gifting a new neighbor with a pie and a welcome card. The goal of any effective ministry, large or small, is to connect with people to the glory of God.
One of the biggest factors that keeps women in the season of motherhood from ministering is indeed time! Of course, your primary ministry while in this season of life is your family, and what greater joy than that! However, it is important to minister, even in small ways, to others. This is a wonderful opportunity to share ministry with your children, to instill in their hearts a love for showing mercy and compassion to God's people.
So, what are a few ways a busy mom can minister to others in need? Here are a few suggestions:
Minister to New Neighbors: Maybe a new family has moved in next door, or perhaps you've never met your neighbors at all! What a wonderful opportunity to bless them, perhaps with some homebaked bread or a pie and a thoughtful "welcome to the neighborhood" card. I find this to be an easy, non-invasive way to present opportunities for more intimate get-togethers in which to share the Gospel message.
Minister to a New Mommy: After the birth of my oldest son, some lovely women from my church came to visit with me and baby, and blessed us with a beautiful knitted afghan, a homemade pie, cards with encouraging scriptures and ready-made casseroles for a quick, hot meal! These thoughtful ladies even included paper plate, napkins, plastic cups and plastic silverware, as to eliminate the need to wash dishes! What a beautiful way to minister to a tired new mom, thus allowing her to spend more time enjoying her tiny new blessing.
Food Pantry Ministry: This is a great way to involve children! Have them help you fill a large box full of food pantry staples: sugar, flour, beans, rice, canned goods, pasta, bread, etc... Don't stop there; when you drop off the food box, ask if their will be an opportunity for your family to hand out food packages to patrons. Some pantries even serve hot meals. This is how the children can feel the impact of helping others.
Pregnancy Care Center: Pregnancy care centers are Christian organizations that serve to pregnant women, often teens, who have limited financial means to support their pregnancies and a new baby. These centers offer a wide variety of services, including childbirth and basic baby care classes, counseling and guidance, ultrasounds and free clothing and baby gear. Many women arrive at these centers considering abortion, but find that there is help available to them to support baby and encouragement to mommy. Most of these centers are non-profit, donation-supported ministries. Consider volunteering time to help size, organize and put away baby clothes, or if you have old baby clothes that you are finished with, donate.
Of course, these are just a few suggestions for simple and effective ministry opportunities; the list of possibilities is endless! What does your family do for ministry? I would love to hear your ideas, as I'm planning on writing and publishing an e-book on the topic of family-based ministry. I can't wait to hear your ideas!