What are youth learning about healthy money habits from the adults around them? How can local churches help shape young people’s financial values? The issue is urgent, and some churches are stepping up to the task.
Take Christ Church in Richmond, Virginia, for example. To grow generosity among their members, they knew they needed to break open conversations about money and values. Their goal was not just to raise money for the congregation’s ministries, but also to involve all generations in conversations that connect faith, values, and money.
So in 2010 they launched churchwide forums using Nathan Dungan’s Money Sanity curriculum. They chose a time of year to do the study different from when they asked for funding. Now they are moving to a second round of small-group discussions based on Dungan’s book Money Sanity Solutions: Linking Money and Meaning.
Small group exploration strengthens churches as well as families. A Canadian study of stewardship practices found that when congregations offered personal financial training for their members, overall giving went 25 percent higher than in churches that offered nothing.
With dramatic increases in debt, families need help now more than ever. “The church needs to step up and reclaim its voice as a countercultural leader,” says Dungan. “Millions of youth and adults are eager to live differently and to think more deeply about aligning their faith, money and values” with God’s call to be God’s people.
Questions for Discussion
* How does your church teach healthy money habits to children, youth, and families?
* What steps could you take to encourage conversations about money, faith, and values?
For more about Nathan Dungan’s resources, go to http://www.sharesavespend.com.
Written 3/16/2011 for the General Board of Discipleship
of the United Methodist Church