For many of us, summertime is synonymous with relax time. Whether enjoying the local pool or going on vacation, life takes on a different rhythm in the summer months.
When it comes to financial stewardship, that different rhythm presents both challenges and opportunities. Here are some suggestions for meeting one of the biggest challenges and making the most of a couple of those opportunities.
Maintain your church commitments over the summer. During the summer months, many churches experience a decline in attendance and with it a decline in giving. But going on a vacation is no reason for our support of our local church to take a holiday. After all, we wouldn’t miss a mortgage payment or electric bill just because we’re out of town. Even more important are our tithes and offerings. That’s because they’re not bills; they’re some of our most powerful expressions of worship and gratitude.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways to keep up with our giving when we go out of town. We could cover our upcoming vacation period with extra giving in the week or two before our trip begins. We could give online while we’re out of town. Or we could set up all of our giving to be done online, thereby guaranteeing consistency in our giving.
Offer Biblical money management summer school. With school out of session, taking a class may be the last thing your kids want to do. However, now that they’re free from the demands of the regular school day, summer can be a great time to teach one of the most important topics that’s typically not taught in school: Money management—or, even better, Biblical money management.
There are plenty of age-appropriate resources available, such as The ABCs of Handling Money God’s Way (for ages 5-7), and The Secret of Handling Money God’s Way (for ages 8-12.) For teens, consider having them read and then discuss The Grad’s Guide to Money.
Another way to encourage your kids in their stewardship journey is to have your family sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion International. Summer would be a great time to have your kids start building a relationship with your sponsored child by having them exchange letters.
Model good stewardship in summer spending. Summertime doesn’t have to be a time of heavy spending. Instead, consider:
- Library passes: Especially in the summer, many libraries offer free passes to local arts and education venues. For example, in Louisville, where we live, the library’s Cultural Pass offers kids and one accompanying adult one free entry throughout the summer to a long list of museums, theaters, musical performances, classes, and more. While we’re members of the local science museum and zoo, we plan to use the Cultural Pass to explore some of the many venues we haven’t visited before.
- Fun for free: In many towns and cities, you don’t even need a pass to take part in free activities. Make it a family goal this summer to enjoy some of your area’s free concerts, theatrical performances, fairs, bike or hiking trails, and more. You’ll likely discover there are more free activities available nearby than you ever imagined.
Blessings to you and your family as you embark on your summer plans. Hopefully, the ideas above will help make it a summer to remember.
Matt Bell is the author of Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. He speaks at churches and conferences throughout the country and writes the MattAboutMoney blog.
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.