As you plan your Annual Giving Campaign, be sure not to overlook the children in your midst! Teaching kids about the fundamentals of generous giving by including them in age-appropriate discussions and activities will go a long way in helping them learn not only that money has value, but that God calls us to share our treasure with others.
With children, teaching about stewardship means helping them understand first, that God has given to all humankind a position of dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:25) and second, that being given this position of caretaker over God’s gift of the earth requires us to be stewards of God’s creation.
Children need support and direction from family, friends, and teachers as they begin to develop their own “theology of stewardship.” By including children in stewardship education, we foster their sense of belonging to a community which in turn becomes a crucial foundation in their faith formation. Many children already have a sense of wonder about God and a readiness to respond with thanksgiving to the One who created them and the world. This innate “attitude of abundance” can be a great asset as you guide children in exploring various aspects of stewardship from creation care to the sharing of time, talent, and resources.
Pledge Cards for Children
Just as adults are asked to make a financial commitment to the church each year, it is appropriate to ask the same of our children. And since we live in an age when so many financial transactions are online and out of sight–and therefore unwitnessed and unexperienced by many children–we suggest you create special “children’s pledge cards” for use in your campaign. Children can be invited to return their pledge cards at the same time as adults also offer their pledge cards and be asked to come forward to place them on the altar, followed by a prayer of dedication and blessing.
Don’t forget the thank you! “Follow up” activities are key components for both adults and children in stewardship education. Thank you letters sent to children are an important way to recognize and affirm each child’s individual commitment.
Children’s Stewardship Card Sample Language
Stewardship means helping to take care of the church and the world on behalf of God. Please check the ways you are able to help take care of the mission and ministry of our church on behalf of Jesus Christ for the coming year.
I promise to be a steward by:
______ Bringing an offering of money to church
______ Bringing items for the food pantry program
______ Helping to make food for the meals program
______ Helping with special mission projects (Heifer Project, Unicef, Save the Children, etc.)
______ Helping in the worship service
______ Other gifts I have to offer: _____________________________________
Stewardship Activities for Children and Families
There are many other ways to help young children learn about stewardship, including:
Designate a Giving Jar. Invite families to designate a see-through container as the “Giving Jar” and encourage them to put coins or bills into it on a regular basis. Once a month, families can decide where they want the money to go then deliver the money to that organization so kids can see their money is making a difference for somebody else.
Make Posters. Provide Bible verses, poster board or art paper, crayons, paints, or markers. Have the children copy down a verse then illustrate it. For younger children, write the verses yourself and allow them to paste the verse on their illustration. Some verses to use: Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23:10, 17; Deuteronomy 18:4, 22:2; Psalm 24:1; Luke 11:42; 18:23, 19:8, 21:1-4; John 15:12-17; 2 Corinthians 8:9-12.
Create a Play/Drama. Have children create a short vignette about a stewardship discussion they might have at their house at the kitchen table. They could focus the dialogue around how to spend their allowance, how much of their allowance they want to give to the church, etc.
Create Prayers. Write prayers with a stewardship theme. Allow the children to name people, places, and things for which they are thankful. You could add to the list each week and display them in the hallway so adults can read them.
Write a Poem or Create a Puzzle. After learning about their meanings, suggest that children use the following words on the theme of stewardship to create a poem, or use graph paper to create a crossword puzzle: creation, stewardship, steward, gifts, giving, tithe, offering, thanksgiving.
Design Pledge Cards. Invite children to design pledge cards for their families and others in the church. Consider and discuss pledging not only money but prayers and actual ways they can service their church and community.
Memorize a stewardship scripture or quote to share in worship. Use any of the verses listed above or an easy quote is “Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.”
Circle Response. Sit in a circle, and ask each question, allowing the children to respond when it is their turn how they: earn money (allowance, payment for chores, gifts); save money (piggy bank, shoebox, savings account); spend money (toys, clothes, school supplies, music); waste money (excessive soft drinks, candy, gum); use money wisely (gifts, donations, offering, food).
Stewardship Activities list compiled from:
- Ministry Matters™ | Dana and Joyce Bunn
- Children and Stewardship: Practical Ideas by Sharon Ely Pearson (buildfaith.org)
- Tending Treasure in the Five-and-Under-Set by Dawn Rundman
Additional ideas can be found at 51 Stewardship ideas | stewardship, teaching kids, kids money