Josh smiled as he watched his kids, ages 8 and 10, help carry one end of a single mattress. Carrying the bottom end, he coached the children as they made their way up the front steps into the home and then back into the bedroom. Carrie, the children’s mom, followed behind with a package containing bedding and pajamas for the 6-year-old who would sleep in a bed for the first time that night.

As volunteers of their congregation’s Beds for Kids program, the family delivered beds, set them up, carefully made them and then prayed before going on to their next delivery.

That night at dinner, the family talked about their experience. The kids asked questions about the child who received the bed and about her family. Carrie and Josh tried to explain why she might not have had a bed. They talked about abundance and scarcity. They talked about how they felt to be part of this project.

One of the most powerful things a family can experience together is serving others in Jesus’ name. These experiences can change them.

Reformation is when communities, families and individuals take steps toward becoming who God has created them to be.

When we consider the Reformation at this time of year, we often discuss it as a historical and transformational event—and it was. But we may not always think about God’s ongoing work of reformation in the world and in the lives of God’s people, or our role in it.

Reformation takes place wherever the Spirit works through God’s people to make God’s hopes and imagination for the world a reality. Reformation is when God’s people experience transformation in their faith. Reformation is when communities, families and individuals take steps toward becoming who God has created them to be.

The child who received that bed experienced a reformation: that night, she would have a safe, warm and comfortable place to sleep. Josh, Carrie and their kids experienced reformation by participating in God’s mission for the sake of that child and her family, and for the sake of the world. Together, they created a liturgical memory, an opportunity to experience being an agent of God’s grace. It was their hands, doing God’s work.


  • Talk with your family about where you see need in your community. Pray for guidance on how you might meet those needs.
  • Serve together as a family. Inquire in your congregation or with area service organizations about how your family might serve together.
  • Hold a family conversation to process your service project. The experience of serving can’t stand on its own. Ask your kids what they saw, how it made them feel and how they think they might have helped. Share your answers too. (Parents, model honesty and vulnerability.) End with a prayer for all whose lives might have been touched by the work you did together.
Todd Buegler
Todd Buegler is a pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, Minn. and also serves as executive director of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. He is married to Lori and dad to two boys. His blog is

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