“Where does my offering go?”
For one certain group of Sunday School children from Winnipeg, Manitoba, that thought has never even crossed their minds.
“We had heard about the different areas of the ELCIC Reformation Challenge, and felt as though raising money for scholarships for children in Jordan and the Holy Land would be a nice way to get the kids of our church more involved with their giving,” said Messiah Lutheran’s Co-Sunday School Coordinator and Christian Education Coordinator, Teri Skakum.
“We switched over our offering goals for the two years leading up to the reformation, and created this big chart for the kids. We thought that $1,500 (the cost of approximately one scholarship) over two years with our 20 Sunday School kids would be a great number to work towards, so we broke it down into three more manageable $500 chunks.”
To say that the children of Messiah Lutheran fully embraced the idea of bringing their money every Sunday would be an understatement. According to Skakum, most of the kids just couldn’t get enough of the idea.
“We were quickly approaching our first $500, and we hadn’t even gotten to Christmas of the first year,” Skakum said. “So at that point we decided that we would try for another $500 before the end of the year, to make a total of $1000. By the time we hit spring break we were already approaching the $1000 mark. The kids ended up raising enough money in just one year to do the full scholarship.”
But it didn’t stop there. After raising the first $1,500, the Sunday School class decided that they would begin working towards their second scholarship in as many years.
“These are just 20 little kids, ranging in age from two to 11,” Skakum reminded. “We have a great visual for them to colour in, and in doing so, we are able to have some good conversations about being a part of the larger church body, while talking to them about the Reformation – as that typically isn’t a part of the Sunday School curriculum.”
Skakum has two children in the Sunday School class at Messiah Lutheran, and has really noticed a significant change in their behaviour when it comes to money, as well as their willingness to donate.
“Just the other day my son found a quarter on the ground, and instinctively put it with his offering for the coming week,” she said. “This program has really brought new life into their giving.”
On Monday, October 31, Lutherans around the world commemorated the 499th anniversary of the Reformation. One way the ELCIC is commemorating the anniversary, in particular leading up to the 500th anniversary in 2017, is through its two-year Reformation Challenge. Sponsoring refugees, planting trees, raising funds for scholarships and The Lutheran World Federation Endowment Fund are all ways to get involved in the challenge.
You can find out more about the ELCIC Reformation Challenge at www.elcic.ca/ReformationChallenge.