Each week in our Kindergarten and First Grade room, we take an offering that goes to help the support the children our church has sponsored through the World Help Organization. In total, the various Children’s Ministries at our church sponsor six children. In our room, we focus on Daniel so that the kids can feel a personal connection with him. Each week, we review why we give and where the offering money goes. And, each week, the same three or four kids stand up with their offering money.
As is the case with church-wide giving, the giving in our classroom is also down. Several months ago, we did a month long series on generosity, giving and cooperation. In that series, we featured our partnership with World Help focusing each week on how the offering the kids bring each Sunday can transform someone’s life for the better. We talked about why we give (because of what God has given us) as well as our attitude towards giving (God loves a cheerful giver). We also talked about how, by working together, we can accomplish more than working alone.
To demonstrate this concept of working in concert with other to have a positive impact, I brought a good sized metal mixing bowl and several roles of nickels to church one Sunday morning. I explained to the kids that it was great when each of them stood up to offer their gift. “When little Susie gives, (I dropped one coin in the bowl with a loud clank) that helps.” “When Johnnie gives (another nickel in the bowl and another clank) that helps.” I repeated that exercise three or four times so that the kids could sink their teeth into the idea and also have an auditory perception of what the sound of giving is.
Then, I had all thirty kids in the class come forward and gave each one them 10 nickels. As they waited anxiously for their chance to make some noise, I explained that I wanted them to not only see the effect of working together, but I wanted them to hear it. I wanted them to compare the sound of one person giving (clank, clank, clank, clank) to the sound of a bunch of people working together to give. I had them all come forward to the large metal bowl and drop their nickels in all at the same time. It created quite a racket which went on for quite some time as each child made his way through the crowd to drop his or her handful of nickels into the bucket.
I followed the demonstration with an explanation that, when each child gave individually, the sound was like a dripping faucet. However, when everyone worked together and dropped their coins in at the same time, the sound was like a torrent. We talked about what a pleasing sound that must be to God to hear all those clanks as the kids gave an offering. We talked about how when three or four people find it in their hearts to give to others, that that pleases God and makes a difference. However, we explained what a difference they could make if they all worked together to give. If each kid in the classroom did a couple of extra chores to earn 50 cents a week for offering, that group of five and six and seven year olds could supply the needs of not only one needy child, but two children on the other side of the world all through their cooperative efforts. This simple illustration demonstrated the power of giving and the power of working together.
I would like to say that this little object lesson solved all of our giving issues, but it did not. We had more kids giving for a while, but still a minority of the class. In a later post, I will discuss another step we took recently to inject some more fun into the giving process.