A while back I was approached by one of our kids ministry pastors at Journey, Tara, about the idea of creating a family worship experience with a generosity focus during the month of November. Within minutes we had agreed to do it and then decided to offer an interactive and participatory learning experience. As parents, we both yearned for this for our own kids and hoped others would want the same.
We ended up working with a team of people to plan it over several months and it finally pulled it off on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We were stoked, because in the end, it was a HUGE hit. We had over 100 families show up, worship together and then engage in meeting the needs of someone less fortunate either in our community or around the world.
Families were given a passport during our large group worship service and then they went to 3 stations on campus before going off campus to buy a gift for someone in need and coming back on campus to wrap it / pray over it / and then enjoy some hot cocoa. It was an Epic night.
In the process, I was reminded of a few things.
GENEROSITY IS NEVER ACCIDENTAL BUT ALWAYS FUN. If I want my kids to be generous, then I have to give them intentional opportunities to be generous. Going to Mexico. Saving money to spend on others. It's nights like this one that provided a win in this regard for everyone. Another family in need was blessed and my kids were too. Generosity is not something I drag my kids into, it's something my family gets the joy of participating in and it can't be taught. It can only be caught. Blessing others is a joy- especially when you do it together.
CREATIVITY INSPIRES GENEROSITY. Each family was unique in how they chose to create this experience and what they chose to buy for another family. It was amazing to watch really. This past Thanksgiving, during a tradition of writing down what we're most thankful for during a thing we call the "blessing pot", my mom gave everyone $5 with the one pre-requisite that you would use it to bless someone else. It really made for some great conversations with my kids and 8 of us at the table pooled our money together and chose to buy a flock of chickens and a flock of geese from heifer.org Jake gave his to 1 friend to use in Uganda this summer. Tyler has been giving his money a dollar at a time to kids at school who forgot their lunch money. Generosity was in the air and creativity was rolling. So cool.
GENEROSITY IS QUALITATIVE, NOT QUANTITATIVE. Creating a generous Spirit cannot be quantified. Generosity in my kids and in my family is not so much about the size of the gift we give away, but rather than we are always eager to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable. That could be small or big in terms of actual gifts or money. But that doesn't minimize the power of a small thing to change the world. These generous families and their kids said that loud and clear with their lives.