1. Write a money autobiography.
2. On one page, outline columns for each decade of your life. Create a money timeline across the decades, indicating experiences with money you remember as significant. Make note of your feelings about each experience, and, on a separate line, how those experiences and feelings impact your money attitudes and values. Is there a common thread? Do you feel or sense movement in a certain direction? Once you have spent a good 10-15 minutes on this, discuss with others what you have learned.
3. Over a period of several weeks, ask each person in a group to do these experiments:
- Splurge. Take $20 and buy something you desire but wouldn’t normally buy for yourself. Be aware of and note your feelings.
- Throw $20 away. Be sure to give up all control over the money. Be sure you don’t set it up for someone to find or put it in a place where you are sure someone in need will find it. Actually throw it away. Be aware of your feelings and note them.
- Spend $20 on somebody else, anonymously. Set it up so that you will not find out how it was received or used. Be aware of your feelings and note them.
- Meet and discuss.
4. Pass a $20 bill around a group, asking participants to introduce themselves, and tell others their best and/or worst experience with money…and why they need the $20. At the close, the group chooses the person who most needs the money and gives the $20 to that person.
5. Collect shoeboxes over the year from your purchases and friends too. Bring the boxes and a pile of magazines and glue and markers to a group. Ask the participants to decorate a shoebox with symbols that illustrate their feelings and values about money. On the outside, place what you want people to think about you; on the inside, place your secret desires, attitudes, behaviours. Once completed, ask participants to introduce themselves, using as much of their shoebox, inside and out, that they are comfortable sharing.
6. On pieces of paper, ask individuals to draw a pie and then divide it into pieces that illustrate the way they would ideally like to use their income…housing, food, health, entertainment, travel, education, gifts to others, donations to church, other donations, etc. Share the results, reflecting as they wish on their values as represented in the pie, and as lived in reality.
7. Suppose you received a windfall of $50,000 and were told it had to be spent in two weeks. What would you do?
8. Letting Go
- List your ten most valuable/prized possessions. In solitude, take each possession, laying it aside mentally and in an act of faith say, “My life is more than _______”. Do this for each item on the list of ten.
- Next, complete this sentence ten times: “I am ______.” Focus on the roles you assume. e.g. I am a mother, a lawyer, a municipal worker. Again in solitude, lay them aside quietly saying to yourself “I am more than ______”.
- Imagine yourself in a meadow, alone, surrounded by the ten possessions and the ten roles. See each one leave until you are completely stripped of all these. Experience how it feels by taking a fair bit of time.
- Now, in place of those most prized possessions and roles, focus on the gifts of life that are essential for your life. Create a list of the ten most important gifts you want to claim for your life. This list may include some of the possessions or roles you previously set aside. As you claim these gifts, be aware of why you are claiming them now as gifts essential to your life.
9. Some myths and truths about financial giving
Myth: I give my time to the church, so I can reduce my financial giving accordingly
Truth: God asks for a full commitment of all of our lives, not just parts
Myth: fund raising will solve our problems
Truth: fund raising is not a substitute for our personal sacrificial financial giving to God’s mission, but is part of a personal tithe of time, in addition to a personal financial tithe to God
Myth: I can’t live on less than I am living on now, I need it all, I made it all, I enjoy it all
Truth: with God’s grace, and for His sake, you can live cheerfully on 90%. God is your cheerful giver
Myth: tithing 10% of my money is legalistic
Truth: tithing 10% is a testimony that God really is your God, and all things come from God
Myth: making a pledge is impossible, I don’t know what the future will be like
Truth: we make “pledges” all the time, only we call them financial commitments, loans, and credit, which we do in the expectation that we can pay them, sometimes for years to come, even in hard times
Myth: financial giving should be spontaneous, from the heart, according to how I feel at the time
Truth: financial giving is an intentional, prayerful, lifelong commitment that God makes us able to do
Myth: I can’t personally ask other people for their hard earned money
Truth: We are all part of the mission of God’s church. We don’t ask for ourselves, we ask on God’s behalf
10. Discussion Topics
The Giving Staircase (Kim Salo, Diocese of Qu’Appelle)
Where are you on the giving staircase?
I give my money because…
All things come from thee O Lord…
I am part of God’s mission in the world
I’m grateful for all God gives to me
God calls me to give something back
I love my church
I am a member, and members should pay their dues
We need to meet the budget
I guess we need to pay the bills
I would like to see the church’s budget reduced to meet my level of giving