Monday, August 26, 2013

Giving is…recognizing God’s priorities

Teaching Children About Money

Learning how to handle money responsibly was a value my wife and I wanted to pass on to our three children.  Yet, where does one go for appropriate “curriculum” for such teaching?  We decided to develop our own system.  Among the values related to money management that we wanted to teach were:

  1. Learning to give to God and others.
  2. Learning to save.
  3. Learning to spend responsibly.
As a fundamental learning experience, we provided each of our children with three banks, as soon as they were old enough to receive money of their own.  One was the “spending” bank.  One was the “saving” bank.  One bank was for “giving.”  The kids were urged to divide whatever money they receive among the banks.  And this they did without complaint.

The plan worked beautifully for a number of years, until one day my oldest son came home from Sunday school.  

Facing me, Chris declared, “Dad, you’ve been lying to me!”  I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about!

“You’ve always told me I should give away one third of my money.  Today in Sunday school, they told us to give only 10 percent!”

By: Wayne Barrett

The Abingdon Guide to Funding Ministry, Vol. 2
by Donald W. Joiner and Norma Wimberly

Copyright 1996 by Abingdon Press

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, August 19, 2013

Faithful Steps with Others

"Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people, and your God my God." --Ruth 1:l6b

I honestly never preached from Ruth until this past fall, It was then that the story grabbed me. Here is Ruth, a Moabite, a foreign woman, who makes the decision to stick with her mother- in-law, Naomi and journey to
Naomi's homeland. Ruth's husband is dead Naomi is without husband or son, so she decides to go to her ancestral home in Bethlehem. Naomi seeks to convince her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to stay behind with her own people, but Ruth insists on going with Naomi. Ruth steps out in faith. One faithful step at a time without knowing what is fully before her.

The story continues with Naomi guiding Ruth into a marriage with Boaz. It turns out that Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David. She is also listed in the ancestry of Jesus in the gospels. Ruth did not know this
at the time she stepped forward with Naomi. She just lived in faith that the two women could do more together than they could apart.

We are never sure about the future, but each faithful step with others can make a difference. Your dollars joined with other dollars can be the source of a scholarship for a young woman who may be the next bishop
of Mississippi. Your dollars may provide the bed net that prevents Malaria in Africa and saves the life of a child who could become the next Albert Einstein. Your dollars joined with other dollars may provide a camping experience for a child who will encounter the love of Jesus Christ for the first time and this child may be your future pastor.

We may never see the result of our next faithful steps in all of its fullness, but taking that next step with others--The Power of WE--may make all the difference.

-- Rev. Mike Hicks, Hattiesburg DS, MS Annual Conference

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lessons from the Kresge Kids

And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain. --Isaiah 25:6

They started praying weeks before the van left to pick up children who had been invited to Anna Kresge UMC in Cedartown. They weren't sure who would be waiting to get on it, but get on it they did. Kresge had an all too common problem: few children were attending their church. But a committed group, including several senior adults, decided to extend the table and reach out to children not reached by any church. The van returned loaded with children, and then went back out for even more children waiting to come. 

On a June summer evening, Kresge went from an average of 10 children to 40! The church now welcomes 65 children, and pastor Rebecca Holmes tells me adult attendance is growing too. Three vans go out each week, including the van from nearby Aragon UMC.  Has it been perfect? Hardly. Have these children increased worship attendance or giving? The jury is still out. But lives have been forever changed, including the adults who now consider Wednesdays the highlight of their week.

I offer some lessons learned from the Kresge Kids; they offer unique insights on those who are not yet at the table.    

It starts with prayer:  Prayer makes the impossible, suddenly possible. Wesley was right, God is for us. Are we praying like we believe that?

Children are important to God:  They are Jesus’ future church. Do whatever it takes to make them a priority ministry. The church they inherit will be very different from the one we know today. We are going to have to do things differently.  

Senior adults are a powerful resource and there are children in your community not being reached by anyone. 
It is all about the kids. Is Sunday the best day, or would Wednesday be a better day? For Kresge, it was Wednesday evening. For the unchurched, and for many in the fold, Sunday mornings are just hard. We have some work to do on why church matters.  

-- excerpt from Sharon Yancey, founder of The Matthew Initiative, a non-profit foundation that provides the seed funding and staff expertise to help new churches and churches who need to grow again, start a dynamic children's ministries program. Contact her at

North Georgia Annual Conference

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, August 5, 2013

Be faithful

“…fix your attention on God.    You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

  (Romans 12:2 The Message)

To give is to Respond Gratefully

My dad would sit down at the kitchen table on Saturday evenings, write a check, and put it in the envelope.  Then he would set it on the corner of the kitchen counter next to his car keys.   That’s it.  He never said anything to my brother and me about stewardship, about giving to God, about the importance of sharing.  He just did it.  He never missed.  He still does it every Saturday night.  It’s a powerful memory, and it continues. 

I did not inherit my dad’s organizational skills, nor more honestly, his faithfulness.  I have been known to search my purse for a pen while the ushers were coming down the aisle, or to fill out my check for the offering while the pastor was recapping the Gospel lesson.  If by some chance the plate went by before I finished – more times than I care to admit – that week’s offering never made it anywhere. 

But I still remember that envelope sitting by the car keys.  And some weeks I lay my own witness on the kitchen counter for my kids to see.  I might even write a bigger check to “catch up.”  It’s not a have-to it’s a want-to something from my past that allows me to be faithful. 

- Barbara DeGrote, from The Abingdon Guide to Funding Ministry, Vol. 3 by Donald Joiner and Norma Wimberly

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer