A question often asked by kids’ pastors is, “How do I inspire my kids to give?” In most cases, kids will respond very readily when presented with a need and with some options on how to fill that need. Their hearts are tender, and they are quickly filled with a desire to share what they have with those less fortunate.
Here are ten ways that you can inspire the kids of your church to give to missions.
1. Present the Need
When kids understand the poor and lost of the world, they are more apt to want to pray and give. In presenting a need to kids, the first thing I like to teach them is what it’s like to truly be poor. What I have seen in my travels is that poor kids around the world:
Have never owned one toy
Have never had a bed (They sleep on the ground.)
Don’t get to eat everyday
Have never heard the name of Jesus (They don’t know about the Bible, salvation, how to pray, healing, etc.)
2. $31 in 31 Days
Kids love a challenge. My favorite one is to challenge kids to raise $31 in 31 days. This is actually quite simple for kids to do. Some will raise that amount in one week. Some will raise over $100!
When kids reach that goal and bring their offerings in, make a big deal out of it. Give them prizes. Put their names on the prizes. Praise them. When other kids see what’s waiting for them, they become motivated. A goal of $31 is more easily reached than a loftier goal, and kids will see that this is something they can achieve.
3. Be an Example
It’s hard to inspire others if you aren’t inspired yourself. You’ll set a great example for the kids when they see you giving offerings and getting excited about missions. For example, if you raise $31 in 31 days outside of your normal job, it’s a great motivator for others. Wash a car or two, mow a lawn, babysit, sell something on Ebay, or do something to show that with a little effort, you can raise funds that will impact the world.
4. $100 in One Year
Once the kids realize they can earn $31 in 31 days, raising $100 in one year will seem very doable. Some will raise $500 or $1,000 or even more! Two girls from Illinois raised $10,000 each in just one year!
As with the $31 goal, make a big deal when the offering is brought in. Give honor where honor is due, and others will be motivated to be a part of it.
5. Sell Stuff
Give the kids ideas on what kinds of things they can sell. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Give each kid a roll of cookie dough. Tell the kids to cut each roll into 7 pieces and make monster cookies. Sell the cookies at $2 each. Use that money to buy more cookie dough and make even more cookies to sell. One kid raised $700 doing this.
Give the kids cans of soda and bottles of water, put them on ice, and sell for $1 each. Do this after church on a hot day, or get permission to sell at a local ball game.
During the summer months, set up a grill outside the church and have the kids help sell hot dogs, chips, and soda after the Sunday morning service.
6. Garage Sale
Encourage the kids to hold their own neighborhood garage sale. With their parents’ permission, they can go door-to-door to ask neighbors for items they might donate for missions. Alternatively, kids could create flyers explaining what’s going on and leave them at each door.
When people know the money is for a good cause, they often provide something. Let the neighbors know when and where to drop off the stuff. Neighbors can either bring the items to the kid’s house, or they can leave it outside their own house on a pre-arranged day for the kid’s parents to pick up. Kids have easily raised from $500 to $1,500 this way.
7. Buddy’s Buddies
Give each kid a Buddy’s Buddies poster (English, 715-018; Spanish, 715-019) and 10 Buddy Boxes (715-200). Each kid is to find 10 people who will take a box and fill it. These could be teachers, relatives, hair stylists, neighbors, parents of friends, etc. Make sure the kids write names on their posters so they’ll remember who has the boxes.
This is very successful and easy to do. One kid had almost 100 boxes spread all over his small town and raised $17,000 in one year! (For adventurous kids like this, make sure to provide plenty of Buddy’s Buddies posters.)
The PopOut challenges asks kids to give up soda for the 2-3 weeks prior to Thanksgiving. The parents will then take the money they would have spent on soda and put it in the kid’s Buddy Box or Barrel.
The item being given up doesn’t have to be soda. It can be candy or anything else the kid enjoys on a regular basis. You don’t have to do this in November. While Thanksgiving is a good date for ending this kind of challenge, you could do it any time of the year.
9. Walk-a-Thon or Bike-a-Thon
For this group event, kids are each given a goal to reach. Don’t make the goal too low. Set it at $50, $75, $100 or more per kid. This motivates the kids to work hard at getting pledges ahead of time for their missions walk (or missions ride).
One church had set a minimum of $400 per kid. The kids then wrote letters to relatives around the country, asking for funds. (Just like how teens raise money for missions trips.)
10. Special Days with Buddy Barrel
Play some games with the Buddy Barrel offering containers as an incentive to help kids remember to bring their barrels to church. Here are some ideas:
- Three in a Row: Give prizes to the kids who bring their Buddy Barrels three months in a row.
- Toss-a-Barrel: After the offerings have been collected, every child who has brought a Buddy Barrel gets to toss it through a special hoop to win a prize.
- Pick-a-Barrel: After offerings are collected, every kid who brought a barrel gets to put it into a box. Be sure the kids’ names are on the barrels. Pull one out at random and give a prize to the owner.
- Best Decorated Buddy Barrel: Offer a prize or prizes for the best decorated Buddy Barrel. The barrel must have an offering in it. You can choose a special dollar amount that must be in the barrel to qualify for the contest.
- Stack-the-Barrels: The kids who have brought offerings in their Buddy Barrels get to compete in the stacks contest. This game requires 15 empty Buddy Barrels. The child who can stack the barrels and then unstack them the fastest is declared the winner. First, a child must stack five barrels side-by-side, then stack four barrels on top of the five side-by-side, and so on to create a pyramid.
- Heaviest: Give a prize for the Buddy Barrel that weighs the most.
- Most Coins: Give a prize for the Buddy Barrel that has the most coins in it.
- Most Quarters: Give a prize for the Buddy Barrel that has the most quarters in it.