We're in the midst of stewardship season here at UCC Longmont. As I said in my sermon yesterday, I love stewardship. I love the opportunity to think about whether my faith and values are being lived out in my budget.
Years of church stewardship seasons have seeped into me, changing the way I view my personal finances. Every month, I ask myself this question: if someone looked at my family budget, could they tell what I believe in? This simple practice has helped transform my bill-paying, budgeting experience (UGH!) into a spiritual practice that is rich, deep and challenging.
With the kids at church, I've also been talking about money and values this month. Then I did something that feels a little crazy: I gave $5 to each kid in the congregation with the assignment to spend the money in a way that makes someone else happy. This idea is crazy because it's completely unmanageable. Unlike spending money on a curriculum, where I can talk to the kids about money and the importance of spending it well, I'm sending them out to experiment with it on their own. More than that, I'm trusting that God will work through this process somehow.
I intentionally didn't offer suggestions when I passed out the money because I didn't want to hamper any creative ideas. If your kiddos are really stuck, though, here are some ideas:
- Donate to an organization (most of our kids love animals and helping the Humane Society!)
- Buy supplies to bake cookies for a friend
- Buy food to give to a person in need
Keep in mind there's no right answer for this, nor is there a right process. Some kids will struggle with this task. It may be hard to give up the money. It may be hard to think of something someone else will like. When that happens, it's a great opportunity for adults to help the kiddos deepen their empathy. You can do that by helping them connect their experiences with the experiences of others. For a child who wants to buy a new toy with the money, help them think of other kids who may also enjoy that toy and consider how happy they'll feel to recieve it.
After the money is spent, celebrate the kids for the choices they made. It's important for people to know their gifts made a difference. That's why thank you dinners, plaques and memorial plates for donors are so important in the non-profit world.
I can't wait to hear about how it goes! Please remember to email me or tag me on social media with a post/pic about how your kids spend the money.
Grace and peace this week!