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You are here: Home » Lifestyle » Money, money, money

Money, money, money

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MoneyIntroduction

This session will help you talk about money with young people and help them to understand how Jesus wants us to treat it. You will of course need to be sensitive to the young people in your group. Some may be very flash with their (parents’) cash; others will struggle because they have very little. However, using money wisely is not about how much you have, but about whether you submit its use to God.

Grab the cash! (15 mins)

For each person in your group, you’ll need four playing cards of the same value - four kings, four tens etc. Discard the rest of the pack. Shuffle the cards well and deal out four each (use more than one pack for a large group.) Place some Monopoly money in the centre of the group, one note for each person minus one. The object of the game is to collect four cards of the same value. Get everyone to look at their cards, and then get a rhythm going whereby people put down a card to their left, pick up a card from their right, discard a new card to their left, pick up the new one to their right and so on. As soon as somebody has a set of four, they grab a Monopoly note from the middle. As soon as one person grabs a note, everyone else grabs one too; one person is left without a note. Play for a few rounds.

The cost of living (20 mins)

Get the group into pairs and give each a magazine, a piece of paper and a pen. Calculators would also be useful - some may have them on their mobile phones. Use a variety of magazines. Ask each pair to go through their magazine and add up the approximate cost of everything that is advertised in it. Some adverts will have prices on; for some they will have to guess. Be prepared to give some guidance. Tell them to ignore the small ads at the back of the magazines and just look at the full-page ads. Then get them to work out how long it would take the average person to earn enough money to buy all those things (you will need to know the average wage for your country). 

Discuss with the group:

  • What effect do adverts have on you? Do they make us greedy and money-grabbing like the game at the start? How much notice do we take of them?
  • Were you surprised at how much the products in a magazine would cost to buy?
  • When you think about a future career, how important is earning lots of money?
  • If the money you had available to you were cut in half, what things could you do without?
  • And if your money were doubled, what extra things would you spend it on?

A measure of wealth (10 mins)

Ask the entire group to stand in a line against the wall on one side of the room. Explain that you are going to find out how wealthy they are; you’ll read out an item and if they have it they have to take one step forward. Young people may be alarmed at the idea of this game, but it makes an important point and won’t embarrass anyone so explain it quickly and don’t give them too much time to worry about it. Here’s the list (check that everyone in your group does have all of these things - if not, modify the list):

  • A bed to sleep in
  • Clean water to drink
  • Enough food to eat
  • Choice of clothes to wear
  • A school to go to
  • Shoes to wear

The group should all be standing in a line more or less at the same place. Point out that if you had been doing this with the whole of the world then they would have left the vast majority of young people behind them. Although people in the group have different amounts of cash and possessions compared to each other, in comparison with the rest of the world they are all incredibly wealthy because of these factors which we often just take for granted. Get their response to this exercise. How does it affect their answers to the discussion you have just had about money?

Bible study (20 mins)

Read together Matthew 6:19-24. Discuss with the group:

  • What kind of treasures do people store up on earth? Is Jesus just talking about jewels?
  • How can you store up treasure in heaven? What do you need to do?
  • What does it mean to serve someone? How might it affect your behaviour and your thinking if you had to serve another person?
  • In what ways might we serve money? In what ways might we serve God?
  • Why can’t we do both?
  • What implications do these verses have for the way Christians might think about and use their money, and for the decisions they make about how they live their lives?

Dark side/Light side (15 mins)

Richard Foster talks about the dark side of money - the fact that it has power and can be used in ways that harm people - and the light side of money - the fact that giving it away is a liberating thing and it can be used to do good. Write ‘dark side’ on one side of a large piece of paper and ‘light side’ on the other. Starting with the ‘dark side’ get young people to brainstorm ways in which having money can be negative or used to do harm. Then go on to the ‘light side’ and think about ways in which having money can be positive or used to help people. Feed these verses into the discussion - get volunteers to read them out - and swap between the two sides as people think about more and more examples.

  • Proverbs 30:8,9
  • Matthew 19:23
  • 1 Timothy 6:10
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • Psalm 37:16,17

Point out that money is neutral in itself, but it can be used in good ways or in bad ways. The challenge for us is to keep money in its rightful place and not let it rival God in our lives. 

Prayer

Invite people to take out any money that they have with them and hold it in their hands. If people don’t have any cash on them, lend them some coins to hold or let them use the Monopoly money from the opening game as symbolic of their own. Invite them to close their eyes and reflect on the place that money has in their lives. Do they hold on to it tightly? Or are they willing to put it down so that their hands can be open to receive what God wants to give them? Invite people to do this physically as a response - to put their money on the floor or under their feet to show that they want to keep it in its place and to open their hands to receive from God. Pray that all of you will be able to keep money in its proper place and to serve God instead of money.

 

Jenny Baker is a Consulting Editor for Youthwork International, based in the UK