Use the tabbed interface below to find ideas by months of the year.
Church: Adopt A Shut-in — Every church has shut-in or homebound members. Get a list of these people from your pastor and gather your group to design and make a collection of seasonal greeting cards for each person. Provide youth with construction paper, markers, crayons, scissors, sequins, ribbons, and other items for decorating the cards. Include favorite Scripture verses. Each youth member may wish to adopt one of the home bound members and become a once-a-month pen pal with that person. sending reminders of Jesus’ love throughout the year.
Community: Coat/Mitten/Cap/Scarf Collection — Check your closet and drawers or contact local stores to gather a collection of coats, mittens, caps, and scarves. These items can be donated to an agency such as Lutheran Children’s and Family Services. Invite someone from your church that can crochet or knit to teach the youth this skill and create scarves or caps to donate.
Church: Sweetheart Dinner for Senior Citizens — Plan a festive dinner for members of your church who have been married 40 or more years. Enlist members of your youth group to serve as waiters and waitresses. Provide simple decorations of candleholders and candles on white tablecloths. A simple menu of lettuce salad, spaghetti, and bread sticks can make up the first two courses. Contact a local bakery or ask someone in your church with cake decorating skills to create a special anniversary cake to serve as dessert. Entertainment might include appropriate music provided by someone in your group who plays piano or violin.
Community: Valentine Caroling — Christmas caroling offers a pleasant surprise for those served by such festive songs. You may cause an even bigger surprise if you carol when it is not Christmas. Practice an assortment of familiar Christian songs that share the messages of God's love and grace such as "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know"; "Beautiful Savior"; "God Loves Me Dearly" or others. On the weekend nearest Valentine's Day visit a local retirement home and share your gift of music.
Church: Quilt Squares — Seek out someone in your church that sews and/or quilts for help with this project. Gather your group to create quilt squares using twelve 22” squares of fabric. The fabric may come by recycling old but good clothes or other items or from fabric samples or remnants. Assemble your squares into a 64” x 84” piece for a beautiful quilt. You can donate your quilt to a local nursing home.
Community: Tray Cards for Nursing Home — Fold blank 5” x 7” index cards lengthwise to create a tray card. Look for Scripture verses that provide words or encouragement and thanksgiving. Print the verses on the cards using a fine tip marker. Add other decorations to the cards using crayons, markers, sequins, ribbons, etc. Deliver the cards to the activity director or other staff of a local nursing home to place on meal trays being delivered to residents' rooms.
Church: Spring-Cleaning — Contact the person(s) who coordinates the maintenance of your church and/or school facilities. Create a list of areas in the building(s) and/or grounds, that could use extra attention. Plan a service day to complete the items on the list. If your church already sponsors a spring workday provide refreshment stations or lunch for those workers who participate.
Community: Baby Shower — In local homeless shelters, social service agencies or hospitals, gifts of layettes convey a warm welcome to newborns and are gratefully received by mothers. Invite your youth group and members of your congregation to donate items for baby layettes. A completed layette may include two shirts; two gowns, sleepers or onesies; two receiving blankets; four cloth diapers; one sweater; two washcloths; one bath-size bar of soap and two diaper pins.
Church: Care Packages for People in the Armed Forces — Check with your pastor or church secretary to learn the names of any members of your church or circuit who are serving in the armed forces. Gather items such as granola bars, prepackaged dry snacks, lip balm and, small devotion booklets for a care package. Include a note with encouraging words and Scripture verses. If your church does not currently have anyone serving, you can reach out to specific military unit through LCMS Armed Forces Ministry by contacting LCMS Armed Forces Ministry .
Community: Flowers for Firefighters — Call your local fire station and ask if you can plant flowers in their yard or provide large pots of flowers for their property. Flowers seem to brighten everyone's day. You may wish to make and add a card of thanks to these community helpers.
Church: Play dough for Preschoolers — Anyone who works
with young children in your church can benefit from this servant activity. Gather
supplies and your group in the church kitchen to make several batches of play
dough to give to the people in your church who share Jesus' love with young
children. A collection of Christian shaped cookie cutters such as crosses and
hearts can be included with each batch of Dough.
Traditional Play Dough
· 1 cup flour
· 1 cup warm water
· 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
· 1 teaspoon oil
· ¼ cup salt
· food coloring
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Dough will last for a long time.
Community: Adopt-A-Highway — Improve the anti-litter and highway beautification efforts of your state by having your group participate in an adopt-a-highway program in your community. Contact your state's Department of Transportation for more information.
Church: Coffee Hour — Select a Sunday to host a coffee hour for the members of your congregation. Schedule a baking event in the church kitchen on the Saturday before the event. A favorite muffin recipe from someone in your church would be an easy item your group to prepare. Invite each member to bring one of the needed ingredients for baking or a can of orange juice to serve at the coffee hour.
Community: Canned Food Collection — Food pantries often experience low inventory during the summer months. Conduct a food drive within your congregation for a local food pantry. Gather an assortment of empty plastic grocery bags to distribute with a suggested shopping list attached. Give these to members on two Sundays prior to the official close of your food drive. Arrange your collected food in a high traffic area of your church with a large "thank note" printed on poster board and a tally of what has been collected. Deliver the items to the food pantry and volunteer to stay and help stock the shelves with the food items you have donated.
Church: Library Loaned with Love — Develop a plan to collect good books and videos for a mission church in your district that does not have funds to support a church library. Suggest that contributors bring books and videos with a Christian perspective. The recipient church can loan these materials to their members freely.
Community: School Supplies — Invite youth group members to collect a variety of school supplies including notebooks, pencils, pens, crayons, etc. Contact your local school district to determine a local school that would welcome your school supply donation.
Church: Adopt-A-Missionary — Your group can help with the mission work of someone serving in the mission field within North America or around the world. LCMS International Mission can connect you with a missionary your church can sponsor and who can use your support through correspondence, encouragement, prayer and financial contributions. For more information visit their web site, http://lcms.org/missionarysupport.
Community: T-shirt Drive — Discuss with youth the fact that we have so many blessings—many that we don't even use. Have youth sponsor a T-shirt drive advertising and setting out collections boxes where people can donate clean, used T-shirts they no longer want or use. Emphasize that T-shirts are universally useful and enjoyed. Youth can organize the shirts after the drive and distribute them to a local shelter or relief agency.
Church: College Student Care Packages — Develop a list of college students from your church. Ask your church secretary for their college addresses. Collect items for care packages to be sent to the students which include small packages of snacks, microwave popcorn, gum, and other "treats." Include a recent copy of your local newspaper, church bulletin, and/or newsletter. Write short notes to the students. Carefully package the items and address the boxes. Invite members of the congregation to mail one of the boxes at the post office.
Community: Game Time at Retirement Center — Gather a collection of board and card games such as checkers, Old Maid, Yatzee and others. In coordination with the activity director at a local retirement center, arrange a time for your group to come and spend time playing these games with the residents. Your group may also want to provide refreshments to share during the activity.
Church: Thank you messages and treats for church/school staff —Use candy and snack treats to create thank you messages for those who serve in your church and/or school. Example: "Our CUP runneth over with all you do." (Include a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup). "We are EXTRA glad you are serving our church/school." (Include stick of Wrigley's Extra sugarfree gum).
Community: Thanksgiving Baskets -- Contact a local community social service agency to discover the name of someone in your community who could benefit from a thanksgiving basket. Include in your basket all the items needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner such as cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, pumpkin pie ingredients, rolls, vegetables, and a frozen turkey or grocery gift certificate. Your basket may also include items the recipient can use to decorate their thanksgiving table such as festive paper napkins, small pumpkins, and gourds and ornamental corn.
Church: Gift-Wrap Station — Organize a gift-wrap station and provide free gift-wrapping for Christmas gifts before or after Sunday worship services. Schedule one or two dates for this event. Share your idea with local stores who may donate wrapping paper for your service project. Provide supplies and practice wrapping techniques beforehand. People can bring their gifts to the gift-wrap station, at which a sign is posted saying, “Free gift-wrapping:our free gift to you as a reminder of the greatest free gift we have in Christ Jesus!”
Community: Birthday Party Boxes — We celebrate Jesus'
birth at Christmas. Help needy children celebrate their birthdays by assembling
children might like to have at a birthday party: cake mix, frosting, candles,
napkins, paper party plates, and party decorations. Include enough supplies
for one party for six to eight children. Place the items in a box with a lid
such as a large shoebox. Wrap the box and lid separately with birthday wrap
so the child can life the lid and see the contents of the box. Deliver boxes
to a local food pantry or other social service agency for distribution to families
in need. Consider including something in the box that will deliver a simple
spiritual message such as My Happy Birthday Book available from Concordia
Publishing House. Pray for the children who will receive the box. Pray that
they will enjoy
it, know that other people care for them, and above all, that they will know
that God cares so much for them He sent His Son to be their Savior.