"Point your kids in the right direction — when they’re old they won’t be lost."
— Proverbs 22:6, The Message
Many parents give their children an allowance for doing chores because it helps to build discipline. Allowance money can go numerous places, some spiritually rewarding and others detrimental. It is important for the church to help teach stewardship to children. One fun way to do this is to use "Bible Bucks."
The concept is simple. Children get play money for bringing their Bibles and friends to church, memorizing Scriptures, doing chores, showing kindness and praying. Once a week, they can use it to purchase gifts for others at the “Christian Corner Store.” Alternatively, the store could open only on the fourth Sunday of the month or quarterly to teach saving. This option gives leaders extra time to collect gently-used or new items donated by the congregation to sell in the store. Ask members to sponsor this program or set aside a special fund to make it work.
Children will learn that there are rewards for practicing Christian disciplines and often those rewards help us help others. Brilliant, right? Well, it wasn’t my idea. The church in which I grew up was awesome and very successful with this ministry.
Some of the items in the store were toys, school supplies and DVDs. Some of the not-so-obvious items were family-friendly adult gifts. The idea was to encourage children to buy presents for older family members and friends and to think of others before themselves. It was a big hit during Christmas, but many children would buy presents for others unexpectedly, just because they wanted to do so.
Teaching stewardship is the most important part of this ministry. Every time you give the children the opportunity to purchase a gift for someone they know, allow them also to donate their money to local or global mission projects. Letting them make their own decisions is an important part in teaching stewardship. Show them where the donations are going, if possible, so they see how their gifts help others. During Christmas, they can even buy presents for less-fortunate children in their community.
On the children’s ministry section of your website, include information about this ministry. Parents will see a faith community taking seriously its youngest members’ spiritual formation and teaching them to care for others.
As you teach children disciplines of the faith, you will be making a lasting impression–way beyond the "Christian Corner Store" and well into the lives of others.