Taking a session with our 15-18’s group this morning on giving, and so I have been thinking about how to encourage youn people to the point where they feel they want to give. However we often make the mistake that giving can only involve money, but time and talents are equally valuable if not more so.
One of the things I discovered while I was planning the session is that the UK population will more readily gove to charities that deal with animals than those who work with humans. I also believe that (in financial terms at least) only about 30% of our congregation gives regularly to church, and when I did a quick poll of the youth group this morning although most of them give time to help various ministries around our church happen, none of them really give to church financially.
So is it appropriate for young people to be encouraged to give financially to the church and if so how? Well i think the answer is yes. When the Bible talks about the ‘fellowship of the believers’ it only talks in terms of followers of Christ, it doesn’t differentiate by age. Therefore i believe we can appropriately discuss this with young people. How do we encourage them to give? Well I believe that the most important thing is that in order for young people to feel able to give, they must first be able to take ownership of both what the are giving to, and also be able to understand and get behind the vision of it. In other words very much the ‘belong, believe, behave’ model where to behave means to be in a position to feel able to give.
Finally i believe a lot of this ownership can be achieved if young people are involved in church decision making processes for real, not just paid lip service to. That is another issue that I will save for another post, but i would love to hear your thoughts.