- I want our kids to understand missions, on a level that is relevant to them.
- I want our kids to be generous in seeing and meeting the needs of people around the world, and of people here in our community.
1. We keep it on their level.
Our kids don't give money toward a generic fund, but rather they raise money towards specific causes. In the fall, they raise money for shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child (I've written about this before) - and every year, their generosity and excitement to give blows me away. They've also raised money for gifts from the Samaritan's Purse gift catalog, including baby gifts and sports gear.
Giving to a church or an organization is too big for them to understand. (I think sometimes its too big for adults to understand, too.) But they can understand that there are children who don't have toys or toothpaste or crayons.
2. We strive to make it personal.
Rather than teaching kids about missions on a high level, we try to connect it to someone in particular. Instead, we talk about our friend Gavin, who lives in Russia with his parents so they can tell people about Jesus. They've made cards and sent videos to Gavin. They've also raised money to send with people from our church who built houses in Peru, and bought soccer balls for me to take with me to Africa.
3. We model it.
I think probably the best way to teach kids to give, is when they watch us give. The parents of our kids are already doing this, and I'm currently looking for ways to involve entire families in some of the projects we're doing. For example, this year, rather than the kids packing shoeboxes on their own, we'll have a church-wide packing party. My hope is that others can experience the joy I do when I watch kids excited to give.