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What will capture the heart and mind of a child?  Upon what values will children make decisions?  Such questions are foundational for any “organization” that wants a child to be “hooked”, always “buying into” what they offer and even sell, “getting and having them for life”. 

Lisa Mullen in her article Giving – Who’s Minding the Children hits these questions head on and notes that it has long been the goal of many businesses to “own this kid younger and younger and younger.” That is a frightening thought, even a basic goal of “Kids ‘R’ Us”, such to (hopefully) ensure a dedicated relationship for a lifetime that will lead to profit, but at what cost?  

Rodger Nishioka notes the same in his article Stewardship with Generation Next, going beyond the store in the mall to the ways that young people connect with one another and the world…predominantly technology-driven.  This makes it even tougher to connect with young people who have ears and eyes (constantly) tuned in is their general distrust of the institution…any institution, especially those that ask for money.

Rhonda Pittman Gingrich in Teaching Mindful Giving takes the concern one step further as she clearly defines the importance of helping young people make “values-based decisions”, especially related to spending habits.  She challenges the “church” to take the lead, recognizing that the church has “wonderful faith development opportunities”. 

So, what does the Church do?  In reading these excellent articles, each published in the most recent issue of Giving…Growing Joyful Stewards in Our Congregation, I am reminded that the challenge is real, yet also a challenge the Church can face with confidence.  In each I note the importance of relationship, the “personal connection”.  The Church can help children pull away from the many aspects of life that want to “own” them.  This happens best when trusted people of mature faith spend time with children…“baking cookies” together, “painting a fence” together, and “talking” together.  Such will do and help lead to all that is needed. 

     The truth is,  we need to (again) realize that what children want is not “stuff”, at least not primarily.  What they want is excellent relationship.  It takes time, but even more so it takes doing what we know will serve best as we help all children see themselves, each, as a child of God.  In that realization is the “stuff” they really long for, and such is found best through Christ and the Church.             

-Gary Marsh
Gary Marsh is the Director of Stewardship for the Moravian Church, Northern Province


Recognizing the home as a community of faith, Roots & Wings provides avenues for families to discover and develop their spiritual roots and wings in today’s world. Roots & Wings celebrates and enriches family connectedness within the Moravian Church community.


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