Children and giving


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Children and giving

  1. 1. Encouraging Giving Ideas for engaging with children and young people about stewardshipBackground• Family/household Young people are financially dependent, usually as part of a family/household. They may have increasing financial independence as they get older.• Church and group They may have a strong sense of being part of these – or they may not. They may be experiencing what Christian generosity is like. Or they may not.• Consumerism and materialism Marketing is targeted at them. (And charities may join in this.)• Student debtPrinciples It’s about sacrificial giving not legalism. If young people are to give, they need ownership of what is happening with the money. That should mean: being a full part of the church community; having a say in how the church uses it’s money; knowing what the money is used for – things within their experience. No taxation without representation. God wants people to give from what they’ve got – not just money. Children and young people won’t have control of much money. But they have lots of other things to give as part of their discipleship. The church needs to recognise what young people are already giving – not just money but gifts, time, service and the rest. The culture needs to be affirming not nagging. They will only really learn about Christian generosity by being on the receiving end of it. It is not just a matter of teaching sessions but the nature of the community. Are they learning a Christian counterculture or just materialism?StrategiesChurch: The PCC can give each children’s and young people’s group a sum of money from the church budget for them to decide where it goes – in the life of the church or giving away (but not for their own benefit). It should be a significant amount, meaningful to the age group, but not in proportion to their giving. Make sure they get feedback on what the money has done.Giving: the message Page 1
  2. 2. Make a set of boxes labelled with some major categories of actual spending in your church – keep it simple enough to make sense for the age group, e.g. ‘paying the youth worker’, ‘heating the building’, ‘running a holiday club’. Give each child/young person some monopoly money to share between the boxes as they want. Add up the totals and discuss them as a group. How did they make their decisions? Do they want to agree any changes? Give the results to the PCC or Annual Church Meeting.Family: Encourage families to discuss and make decisions together about where their giving goes, where possible. This may mean discussing the whole giving ‘budget’ or part of it. One option is for parent(s) to allocate a sum of money (one-off or regular) and then give their children a set of options which will be meaningful to them: o an agency that provides good information for children and young people (e.g. Toybox) o people you know (e.g. mission partners) who will write back or visit o a particular project in the life of the church.The family can then talk through the options and come to an agreement.Older children may be keen to give in response to current disaster areas.That can be good but help them be aware that there are other needs whichnever make the news. There may be other ways that family members cansupport this project too – praying, giving practical help, writing letters.Individual:• Individual children and young people should have a way to give from whatever money they do control. For example, if there is an envelope scheme, any money put in special stamped envelopes could go towards a particular project or aspect of church life meaningful to children and young people. Make sure these envelopes are available for any young people who want them. Give regular feedback on the progress of that project and what the money is doing.Church group:• Children’s and youth groups should think what they can give. What are their gifts and abilities? What is the group as a whole good at? What has God given them which they can use for others? If they love baking, they can make cakes and sell them. If they have stuff which could be sold – have a trip to a charity shop. If they are motivated to pray, they could lead prayer activities for the whole congregation. Notice the difference between their making a genuine contribution – and creating the illusion for the sake of feeling good about it.• Affirm children and young people for what they already contribute as a group to the wider church. The affirmation should come from the church not just group leaders.Set up a small group to have a single meeting to decide what to dowith these ideas, or come up with better ones. Include one or twopeople from each of the following: young people, parents, groupleaders, PCC, clergy.Giving: the message Page 2