Reflective Giving

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have ... seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you."

(Philippians 4:4-9)

Background

Many churches are in the midst of an annual financial campaign during the fall. Often we overlook the important opportunity to teach children about money and giving during these campaigns. We perceive that children are not very aware of our remarks regarding money. When discussing either the church budget or personal giving, we should remind our children and ourselves of the true meaning of Christian stewardship.

Activity

Have markers and large easel tablet paper to form a list. Call together a family meeting. List all the commendable activities you have experienced as a family in your local church during the past year. Now, think about all of the ways that your local church has changed the lives of other people in the congregation, in the community, and around the world. Add these to your list. Pray together as a family for the mission and vision of your church and for all the people who will be touched by its ministry and outreach.

Sample Prayer
Lord, we have so much to be grateful for in our daily lives. Help us to see and hear where we can be at our best in our church family. Help us to listen carefully to your vision and mission for our lives and for the life of the church community. Amen.

Send a note of thanks to the church treasurer, the finance committee chairperson, the money counters, and other volunteers for the time and effort that they provide in overseeing the financial management of the church. Remind yourself and your family that because of the financial giving of church members, your family benefits from the programs of the church. More importantly, remind one another of God's call on our lives to give a portion of our assets back to God as a response to God's goodness in our own lives. Send a note of thanks to the church staff for their leadership with these various programs.

Invite each family member to discuss his or her financial commitment to the church with the other family members. Break the silence on money discussions — talk about giving in an open, honest family discussion. Celebrate your financial commitment at a family dinner with candles, tablecloth, and even cloth napkins. Add additional ways in which family members intend to give of themselves to the church over the year. Examples of responses include:

  • Brother Trevor will sing in the children's choir and contribute ten percent of his allowance to the church.
  • Sister Amanda will volunteer to serve as an acolyte, will regularly attend a youth program, and will contribute ten percent of her babysitting earnings to the church.
  • Mom will read a daily devotion, usher for worship monthly, and serve as a regular liturgist.
  • Dad will teach the second grade Sunday School class, volunteer for a mission project, and serve as a confirmation mentor.
  • Together, Mom and Dad will share at least ten percent of their monthly income to the regular offering and invest an additional $3,000 in the capital campaign.

Prayer of Celebration (Example)

O God, it is with great joy that we pray to you. Thank you for Trevor's gift of singing; Amanda's willingness to give; Mom's daily devotion to you, Loving God; and Dad's commitment to teach and to mentor children and youth. We thank you for our financial ability to give generously to the mission of our church. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in 2005.

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