This is Part 3 of our Summer Family Giving Series. Read Part 1: Prayer and Part 2: Teaching Biblical Generosity
In contrast to the prevailing consumer mindset of our culture, there are many ways that parents and grandparents can show children how to re-focus on the needs of others. One of the best ways is by creating experiences where you give together as a family.
Most parents know that actions speak louder than words, and in 1 Corinthians 11:1, the Apostle Paul gives us an admonition that you can use with your children: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Planning some opportunities where children see you engaged in the act of giving can be very powerful, especially when they are serving alongside you. To spark your creativity, here are some ideas to consider for children of different ages:
For Younger Kids (Under Age 12)
- Throw a “Reverse Gift” Birthday Party: Help your child to identify a need, and ask guests to bring gifts for charity. For example, a children’s shelter could use gifts of toys, clothing, or baby items. Then bring your child along to deliver the gifts to the charity.
- Volunteer at a local charity: Hands-on family activities are fun and relevant at this age. For young children, a charity that ministers to other young children may be the perfect fit. Often, a child can relate to another child in a more powerful way than to an adult. Check out charities that invite you to bring your entire family along to serve for a day or a week.
- Introduce them to missionaries: Invite missionaries or other ministry leaders to stay in your home. The stories they share of experiences in different cultures can open your child’s eyes to the blessing they have, and foster a heart for God’s people around the world.
- Give a gift: During a holiday, give each child an amount to use for the benefit of others. Stand back and watch the wheels of their minds begin to turn. Guide them to pray for ideas on how to apply these funds.
Tips for Teens
- Establish a family Giving Fund: An NCF Giving Fund is a great way to involve children in the decision-making process of gifting. You can allow teens to research ministries and causes that interest them, and make grants from an amount you stipulate, or set up a Fund in their own name and pre-fund the initial balance. Then challenge them to contribute to it on their own as their earnings increase. One teen gets dad to match each amount she gives, creating her own “matching gift program.”
- Do a Bible study on finances: Giving is just one aspect of handling money God’s way. Teach your children what the Bible has to say about finances, debt, and generosity.
- Plan a different spring break: Choose five charities in your hometown and visit one per day with your family during spring break. Your teen may even want to bring a friend to serve alongside him. One week of serving will be transformative in how your child sees life.
- Take a new challenge: Choose a week or month where your family will live on $10 a day for food. This begins to build an understanding of what much of the world must do to survive. It gives you the chance to clear out the pantry and use creative skills to feed to a needy family or serve at a rescue mission.
Advice for Young Adults
- Offer matching grants: To encourage giving, offer to match your children’s gifts dollar-for-dollar. For example, you could match the contributions they make to their Giving Fund and allow them to challenge your giving.
- Inspire personal service: Inspire your children to give personally towards things that interest them. Ask them, “What’s the one area where you’d like to make an impact?” or “What opportunity do you see to get involved?” Allow their creativity to flourish, using their unique talents.
- Take a family mission trip: One doctor travels with his two adult children to work in Mexico for one week each year, providing medical assistance to children. It is a time of family bonding, full of life-changing experiences they will never forget. That far transcends a week at any leisure resort.
- Offer a conference sponsorship: Consider sponsoring your children and their spouses to attend a conference that promotes generosity. These powerful events will give them the opportunity to hear testimonies and interact with others who are growing in the grace of giving.
You can read the previous installments in our Summer Family Giving Series: Part 1: Prayer and Part 2: Teaching Biblical Generosity