The Worship Web, UUA online resource, http://www.uua.org/worship/
For inspiration, check out the award-winning Stewardship Sermons: http://bit.ly/1qJZeon
For more ideas for multigenerational programs and learning activities, go to the Tapestry of Faith collection: http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/
WORSHIP IDEAS THAT NURTURE GENEROSITY IN ALL AGES
With deep gratitude to all of our colleagues in lifespan faith development and religious education leadership who shared these ideas.
- Worship experiences with opportunities for children and youth to contribute in the offertory, to assume leadership roles in the service, tell their stories, play music, and share their joys and concerns.
- Danielle Di Bona on recommended weekly offering practices: ushers start offering plates with the ministers (!), then the children who are sitting in the first two rows. Every child put something in the plate. Ushers bring forth the offering collection and leave on the altar throughout the service as a reminder that the church does not live by bread alone!
- Opportunities to volunteer in meaningful ways in congregational service activities and multi-generational events.
- Create leadership roles and training experiences for children and youth to contribute their skills and talents.
- Take the time to educate children and youth in the rights and responsibilities of membership, including ways that they can appropriately contribute financially as well as in service to the congregation and wider faith community.
- Give children and youth a voice in the budgetary and financial decisions that concern them. This may include decisions around contributing part of the offering to a social justice cause, mission fund-raising opportunities, or youth group project.
- Tell the stories of the ways Unitarian Universalism and your congregation has made a difference in your life and in the wider world. Model generosity of spirit and giving.
- Worship or program leaders has a stack of crisp new dollar bills, one per child. Engage the children in conversation about different ways we get money (earn it, save it, receive it as a gift), and the things we do with it. Then play a game: give the children a chance to earn a dollar by playing. With two volunteers, hold one dollar up vertically and let it drop toward one’s outstretched finger & thumb. You need fast reflexes to catch it! If you catch it, you keep it! After a couple of practice demonstrations, pass out the dollars bills for the children to try in pairs. After everyone has a chance to play, there is a new round. Give each child a dollar and invite them to think about what they would do with their dollar. Would they spend it, save it, or give it away? Follow up with the children in a couple of weeks to ask them what they chose to do with the dollar they were given.
- The Unitarian Fellowship of Houston (http://www.ufoh.org/ufoh/index.php) has kicked off their campaign with a green luncheon, and the children make a dish to contribute. Green fruit salads (grapes, honeydew, kiwi, granny smith apples with a lime-thyme dressing) and guacamole deviled eggs have been especially appreciated. The elementary-aged children take the offering as ushers (yes, in “big church”) every Sunday.
- Morristown, NJ (http://www.muuf.org/) has put together little envelopes with a colored label with the word’s “Children’s Offering.” The children are given the envelopes when they enter the sanctuary and they put money into the collection basket every Sunday. The Treasurer keeps track and sends the DRE weekly reports about how much money the children have given. There is a growing sense of ownership among the children in contributing to their Fellowship. At one time our children left before the offertory, but now they participate by giving. It’s such a good thing.
- We give children and youth offering envelopes and take an offering at all weekend and weekday gatherings. We speak frankly and directly about the congregation’s and the community’s needs. We empower learners as agent of change and name finances as one of the tools for change. At the end of the year we give one-half of the total amount collected to the church and one-half to a neighborhood not-for-profit that is chosen by the kids themselves. (From Rev. Greg Stewart–First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln, NE)
- Read Three Cups and sent parents a link to the “Parents Guide” at the end. (from Maria Costello O’Connor, MA MSP, DRE serving UU Church West, Brookfield, WI)
- Parents have also told us they love using the Moonjar Moneybox: http://www.amazon.com/Moonjar-Classic-Moneybox-Spend-Share/dp/0972428216/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y
For more ideas about multigenerational stewardship and nurturing generosity in congregations:
Creating Effective Intergenerational Worship Services (without going insane), by the Rev. Greg Ward
For some great stories about gratitude, generosity, giving and stewardship, check out the collection on Giving Speaks, at the following links:
If you are seeking ways to energize stewardship in your congregation, consider the ideas shared in this post–Ideas for Raising Stewardship Awareness in Your Congregation.