Creation, Stewardship and Kids

December 19th, 2011

Our Bible tells us that God gave us (human beings) dominion over the earth. When God gave us domain, we received responsibility, not control. Our Christian understanding of stewardship—management and responsibility for that which is owned by another—recognizes that all gifts come from God and that all gifts are to be used in ways that are acceptable to God.

As you teach the Creation story to children who have been entrusted to your care, remember that you are a steward. You are to use your gifts of time, talent, resources, and relationships to help children celebrate God’s gift of creation and to help children learn to be caretakers of creation.

Following are a few additional ideas for helping children practice stewardship where they have dominion.

Stewardship of Time

Students in your class have different abilities. Structure your classroom so that students who work quickly can begin another activity related to the day’s theme. Resist the temptation to hurry the child who works slowly. Express appreciation that everyone is using time wisely in order to learn about God’s creation. Stress stewardship of time by encouraging the children to tell what chores they have at home. Remind them that they are using their time wisely when they take care of pets, clean their rooms, help prepare family meals, and complete homework.

Stewardship of Talent

Children in your classroom have different interests. Unless you provide different ways for them to explore each week’s Bible lesson, some of your students may not be making the best use of their talents. Verbal-linguistic learners can sense the beauty of creation through the spoken or written word. Visual-spatial learners are more likely to connect with the Creation story by using art materials. Some will learn best by singing or dancing to songs of creation.

Children love to tell their teachers about their lives. Look for times you can respond with stewardship thoughts: “Isn’t it great that workers at the zoo help care for God’s creatures?” “Gymnastics is helping you build a strong body, just the way God planned.” “An ‘A’ in math? Good use of that mind!”

Stewardship of Resources

Place an offering basket in your worship center, encouraging stewardship of money.

Many congregations present Bibles to children. A Bible on the shelf is a terrible waste. Encourage kids to bring those Bibles and use them in Sunday school by posting a Bible-bringing chart. Have each person who remembers to bring a Bible add a point to the chart each week. When the class has 100 points, celebrate your Bible-using stewardship with a party.

Encourage students to reduce, reuse, and recycle. My students objected to “used paper” for art projects until I told them that by using the blank side, we were practicing good stewardship of resources (paper/trees). As they continued the art project, I took the opportunity to tell them that stewardship was so important to me that I had attended our city council meeting to encourage curbside recycling.

Stewardship of Relationships

Encourage cooperation rather than competition in your classroom. Many games can be played against the clock rather than against another team.

Let students work in twos or threes to complete activities. Praise their efforts to cooperate.

Let students make cards and send them to class members who are ill.

At prayer time, let children name joys and concerns.

Each week discuss with the children ways they can foster a relationship with God like re-reading the Bible story with their parents or younger siblings.

Stewardship of Ideas

I’ve learned to encourage children to dream-and-do, to follow through on their ideas. Eight-year-old Kelsey asked if our class could have a bake sale “like the youth do.” Her idea was to raise money and give it to someone in need. I suggested she write down her ideas (including two suggestions for where the money could go), and present it to the class the next week.

I adapted a “Bible Verse Brownie” recipe and came to the next week’s class prepared to add some suggestions to Kelsey’s idea. After two weeks’ discussion, the class decided to complete the brownie recipe (by looking up Bible verses), come to my house for a Saturday brownie-baking party, then serve the brownies after a Sunday morning worship service.

Three Saturdays later, 14 kids arrived with the ingredients each had promised to provide—good stewards everyone! We baked 200 brownies and wrapped them individually. The next day we stood with our brownies, inviting members of the congregation to take a brownie and leave a donation for Women’s Haven, a shelter for battered women and children. Eleven wide-eyed children counted the money—$250.63! It was a great time to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the way God had blessed Kelsey’s idea and everyone’s investment of time, talent, and resources.

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