How to Help Kids & Families Move Away from the Church Consumer Mentality

A recent study shows that between 1960 and 2008, the number of uses of "I" or "me" increased 42%, and instances of "we" or "us" declined 10%, in hundreds of thousands of American books.

The rise of the singular pronoun and the decline of the plural are consistent with the consumer mentality that has grown steadily over this time period.

"It's all about me" has been carried into the church world as well.  Many families "church shop & hop" based solely on their needs.  Church is seen as a place to consume instead of contribute.

So here's the big question.  How do we help the next generation shed this shallow form of following Christ?  I'm sure you've pondered this question as well.

Here are some things we are doing to help kids and families move away from the church consumer mentality.  We've seen these steps help people make good progress in moving from consumers to contributors.

Teach what the Bible says about contributing.  
Don't shy away from it.  Be bold in proclaiming that the Bible says contributing is a vital component of following Christ.

You are never more like Jesus than when you are giving your time, treasure, and talent to help others.  Every believer is called to contribute.  

Take them on mission trips. 
Mission trips can be life changing.  One mission trip can help a child and family move from consumer to contributor.

For the past 4 years, we have taken our pre-teens on a one day mission trip.  The impact has been huge.  And at Thanksgiving, we bring families together to serve meals to those in need. 

Give them opportunities to serve. 
We tell kids to "sit still and be quiet" in church and then we wonder why as adults they are "sitting still and being quiet" in church.

Kids are eager to serve.  Make opportunities for them to serve.  We have created teams of kids who serve as greeters, ushers, sound tech, lighting, and more.  Many kids also serve alongside their parents.

Replace some of your summer "fun-only" trips with service projects.
We have shifted from doing "fun only day trips" with service projects.  Instead of taking kids to play mini-golf, we take them on service projects such as passing out water to people on a hot day, cleaning a local school, serving free snow cones at community events, etc. 

Shift from away from giving prizes for spiritual disciplines to something more meaningful.  
This has been one of the biggest wins we have seen in helping kids move from consumer to contributor.  If you haven't read about the strategy, you can read about it at this post.  It's worth the read and could make a huge difference in your church as well.

Okay.  The floor is yours.  What are some other things you are doing or want to do to help kids and families move away from the church consumer mentality?