In Orange, we talk a lot about strategically turning up the 3 dials at different ages as a kid grows up.
With First Look, we focus on the Wonder dial—looking at how much God loves us, how God made us and how Jesus wants to be our friend forever.
Then in 252Basics, we build on that and zone in on the Discovery dial—to figure out that we can trust God no matter what, we need to make the wise choice and we should treat others the way we want to be treated.
Later in XP3, we zero in on the Passion dial so that kids get in the game, but there are two times we intentionally stress passion-related service projects in the elementary Groups curriculum to really get kids off the sidelines and actively engaged too!  We encourage you to serve both locally and globally.
This summer, right after our instructions for Creating the Environment, we gave a Service Idea in June’s Week 1.  Even though kids aren’t likely to be there every week, you could still collect non-perishable food items for breakfast and lunch, the whole summer long.  I just read a great article describing this need as many kids and families in your area that qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year can really struggle during these warm months with hunger.
To take it really over the top and make it EPIC—you could stack the food in such a way that it becomes part of the on-stage scenery or have kids bring it up during a slower worship song—taking pictures each week and easily creating a free slide show with a program like Animoto. You can raise the excitement by having it play as kids come in and leave large group each week.  You could contact a local food pantry to see what they specifically need or even organizations that are packing and delivering lunches to local kids and families.
And we’re already hard at work on our winter partnership that will serve kids and families globally, around the world.  Some of you may remember that we partnered lat year with Operation Christmas Child.  This year, we’re working alongside Compassion—supporting their efforts to provide clean drinking water with special filtered containers that last 50 years!  Instead of a church event, we’re providing a special Parent Cue with several ideas for families to do at home that are water-related and the widget will be a quarter catcher.
As always, you have a choice on whether or not your ministry will participate or substitute something else that’s already planned at your church.  But the really great thing is that these collected quarters can be used for anything!  We just wanted to give you a sneak peek so you’d know what was coming and could plan ahead.
Whether you’re collecting canned foods or coins, one last thing to consider is how you can really motivate kids to get into it.  We really want to stress them helping to get and bring these things in—shopping and saving up, rather than parents doing everything and handing them to their kids Sunday morning.
One thing that will really help is creating an incentive.  Namely what fun thing you’ll promise them if they beat a set goal?  At our church, for every roll of quarters a kid brought in, they got one toss of a water soaked ball or squirting a water gun at me, their fearless leader.  I dressed up in camo, bright goggles and a silly inner tube—dancing around as they tried to soak me.  Or maybe you’ll set up a competition between small groups and bring them a very special snack like popsicles or pizza.
What are some of the best ideas you’ve had to motivate kids to give?  We’d love to hear them.  Go big this summer and have some fun with it!