We recently began taking up an offering during Children’s Ministry. The goal of the offering isn’t primarily about raising more funds – as you know our little ones don’t have very much in their piggy banks! The goal of the offering is to begin teaching our children, at a young age, the importance of generosity and giving to God. The wisdom of Proverbs 22:6 reminds us: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This offering is one of the ways we want to help train our children to give as an act of worship and devotion.
Here are a couple tips I gave to our parents to make the most of this opportunity. Don’t simply give your child some money each week, on their way to Gospel Junction, to put in the offering box. A child will only feel the true joy of giving when they give away their own money, not yours. Instead of giving your child a hand-out, or even an allowance, consider paying them for work they do. This creates a teaching moment – connecting income to labor – and also allows them to give away THEIR hard-earned money.
For example, my wife Sara and I have begun paying our oldest daughter, Joanna, for specific chores and even certain schoolwork. Not much – right now it’s usually a quarter. Even so, her five-year-old eyes BEAM the moment she is paid for her work! Two weeks ago she earned 10 quarters – giving me the opportunity to teach her about tithing (yes, it was a set-up). “One of the quarters must always go back to God at church,” I explained. “God always asks for one out of ten of all we make.” The light bulb went on. She ran excitedly to her room to set aside HER quarter in a safe place until Sunday. She was so excited that SHE could give HER money to God – “just like the ‘big people’” (what she calls us adult)!
If you are feeling strapped financially, keep in mind you are ALREADY paying for a LOT of things for your children. If cash is tight, find something you are already paying for, that you can have your child pay for instead. For example, every Wednesday is “Ice Cream Day” at school – which costs $1 a week. Sara and I decided at the beginning of school, instead of pre-paying $35 to cover ice cream for the year, we wanted Joanna to pay for it each week instead. This gives her 5-year-old heart something very concrete to save towards that she REALLY wants. It also makes her more eager to complete her work without grumbling (yeah for us)!
This is what we do – please don’t feel obligated to mimic our pattern as law. Every family needs to find what works best for you. To learn more how to teach your child now to give, save, and spend, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s stewardship class, Financial Peace University. Thank you for your diligence to raise your child in the ways of Christ. Please, if there are any ways I can assist you, don’t hesitate to give me a call. See you on Sunday, and I hope to see your little one with his or her offering!
Training Your Child to Give by Stefan Bomberger