Stewardship Ideas for Multigenerational Worship

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Sources of Readings, Prayers, and Meditations for Worship

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:

Stewardship Skits & Plays

Words for the Offering & Stewardship Prayers

Gathering the Abundance Stories and Transformation

Creating a Giving Culture–One Story at a Time

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.

 

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Recent Posts

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Organization’s Philanthropic Culture

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 In a philanthropic culture all gifts given for the common good are valued, and all givers respected and affirmed. The emphasis should be on engaging the whole person in the common good that comes from their involvement in your organization.*

#1   Embrace Philanthropy—What it is, and What it does

Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. The practice of giving money and time to help others is the heart of philanthropy. The word philanthropy comes from the Late Latin word philanthropia, from the Greek philein (to love) and Anthropos (humanity), and was first known to be used as a term in the early 1600’s.

Voluntary Action for the Public Good is one pithy way to understand that philanthropy is not simply fundraising for worthy causes, and it’s not the same as effective stewardship. It’s these essential practices and more. The central motivation for philanthropic giving is for the common good: to help make people’s lives and circumstances better. And, it is voluntary behavior, not to be taken for granted by any charitable organization.

#2   Form a Philanthropy Team—everyone is essential.

From the receptionist to the Executive Director, everyone on staff is a part of the team that creates the culture of philanthropy reflected in your organization.

If the first person your donor or volunteer encounters in your organization does not understand the importance of philanthropy, you could lose the support you count on to flourish. All those who are in contact with people should be trained in the basics of donor relations and how your organization is funded. If you depend heavily on individual donations, your staff and key volunteers should be well versed and equipped with information about your giving programs.

#3   Philanthropy Begins with the Leadership—100% participation and no less.

origami money heartWhen you assume a leadership role in an organization—particularly board leadership—you must demonstrate your commitment to the financial health of the organization. Every member of the board and financial leadership must make an annual contribution within their means. Every year.

If the organization is not worthy of its leadership’s generosity and support, how can you expect others to give?

#4   Conveying your organization’s mission, vision and values to inspire generosity and loyalty in the hearts of your supporters.

The development of your organization’s philanthropic culture increases your level of sustainability for the long haul. Your strongest supporters will be those who are passionate and committed to what your organization does to make a positive difference in the world.

Ideally, the return on investment in your organization will be the real impact that occurs in people’s lives and communities. If your mission and efforts don’t make a difference or have a positive impact you cannot expect the level of support you want.

#5   Express appreciation with sincerity and enthusiasm

When the organization is accountable to its donors and honors the intentions of their gifts, authentic, caring community is nurtured. Generosity should be celebrated and appreciation should be expressed by leaders in ways appropriate to each donor. Philanthropic culture grows when love of humanity and voluntary action for the common good are exemplified and affirmed as a value and practice of those involved in your organization.

As your organization becomes known for its philanthropic participation and culture, this builds trust and confidence in your organization, as well as its mission and programs.

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Committed to helping great organizations flourish,

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Laurel Amabile, CFRE

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Related Resources

*Collins, Mary Ellen. Essential Assets. Advancing Philanthropy, Winter 2015.  Association of Fundraising Professionals

Howlett, Susan. Boards on Fire! Word & Raby Publishing. 2010.  Boards on Fire

Payton, Robert L. Philanthropy: Voluntary Action for the Public Good. 

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