Monday, August 21, 2017 04:23

Teach Children and Youth to Give–Idea #9

iStock_000007088099X Giving Bible & Wallet

Teaching teens and children to be good stewards is critical for two big reasons.  One, discipling all God’s children, regardless of age, is part of the church’s responsibility.  And two, kids have a lot of money they should be taught to handle biblically.

Let’s take the second reason first.  If you think kids in America don’t have much money, think again.  The average 8- to 17-year-old makes more than a dozen trips to the mall each month and each one spends about $3600 there a year.  Look at the stuff they have—phones, computers, iPads, etc.  Even if some of these things are gifts, their stuff indicates their standard of living is high. 

Where’s the money coming from?  Their jobs and their parents.  While it’s true that it’s been harder for teens to find jobs recently, still 18.6 million youths between the ages of 16 and 24 years were employed last summer.  And many of those that couldn’t find “real” jobs were doing things like babysitting.  And many more still received allowances. If mom and dad are providing for all their basic needs, then by definition all the money they have is discretionary.

What if young people were taught to give to God?  There’s no better time to start than now.  While it is primarily the parents’ responsibility to teach their children (“Teens and Stuff”), the church can help.

Take a quick look at the resources available. Crown Financial Ministries offers about a dozen resources for teaching stewardship.  It’s age-graded, too, starting at age three!  Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace resources also start at age three.  Plus they have some special stuff for Church Youth Groups, too.  Additionally, check out the resources available through your denomination.

The days of Sunday School offerings may be gone.  However, many churches do have special youth/teen/student worship services.  I wonder if we are teaching giving as worship or do we allow the kids just to be consumers?  In every EXCEL capital campaign we urge youth pastors to help teach their students about sacrifice.  It’s a vital part of the church’s calling. 

There is no better time than now to reach “the next generation” with the message of stewardship.  In doing so, you fulfill the biblical mandate to “make disciples . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19, 20). And in the process you create a new Christian steward who may enjoy the blessing of generosity for the rest of their life.  

(c) Linden D. Kirby.  Excel Ministries, Inc.  2012. All rights reserved.

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