GIVE Like Santa SAVE Like Scrooge

It’s Time to give and save!

Anyone a certain age in Canada, will remember the Canadian Tire commercials that aired during the Christmas season for two decades. The slogan “Give like Santa, save like Scrooge” became part of pop culture. In these commercials we were told that by shopping at Canadian Tire we could give generously like Santa, while saving money like the miserly Scrooge.  In this line of thought: How can we in youth ministry “give like Santa and save like Scrooge?”

Here are a few thoughts:


1) Give to your volunteers.  Volunteers deserve a special treat! They give of their time to assist the youth ministry and pour into the students.  Find ways to bless them, make sure you budget money in order to give them something special. Write a Christmas card to each of your volunteers with personal thanks. Also, have your students thank your volunteers. Have them send cards, post videos, or send text messages to your volunteers in appreciation of all they do.

2) Give to your students.  Look for creative ways to treat your students.  Teens love free stuff and it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Be creative and look for unique items to have for a give-a-ways. When you meet before Christmas, buy whatever your budget will allow and give it away in unique and creative ways.

3) Give time to your family.  It is important to spend quality time with your family.  Life in ministry can be hectic, especially during the Christmas season.  Do not let the busyness of the season take away from family time.

4) Give to those in need.  There are many ways to have your youth ministry give during the Christmas season.  Participating in Operation Christmas Child, adopting a family in need, and food or toy drives are all practical ways to give.  Visiting Seniors is also an way to spread joy.  Going into a senior’s care facility and singing Christmas carols or visiting shut-ins in your church will not only bless others but will encourage multigenerational engagement and servanthood.


So how and what should we save when it comes to youth ministry?

1) Look for ways to save money.  There is a lot we can do in youth ministry if we have the money.  The reality is that most don’t have the budget we wish we did.  Can you use people in the church to help provide resources?  Look for sponsorships from local business.  When you are planning your year, what are the events activities that take the most of your budget?  Look for creative ways to reduce costs and resource out partners.   You would be surprised to discover what people in your church or community might be able to contribute to your ministry or service project.  You will never know if you don’t ask.

2) Time

a) Invest in a youth ministry student management system – I would highly recommend investing in a software that can manage the students’ info in your youth ministry. It is so helpful when you can instantly pull up your students’ addresses, parent names, birthdays, grade levels, and school names.

b) Delegate ministry tasks to your leadership team – Leaders can handle ministry responsibility if it is in their gift set. Try to appoint as many ministry tasks as possible to the youth ministry leaders.  Possible tasks:  administration, event planning, audio/visual, hospitality team, preaching/teaching, program leaders for junior high ministry, serve in and out of the church, graphic and video development and production.

c) Build youth ministry alliances with other churches to share resources and plan events together. It helps tremendously when you can share tasks and costs with other local youth ministries. It’s important to partner with other youth groups because 1) it allows your students to connect with other Christian students, and 2) you can pull off bigger and better events.  Events like outreaches, New Years Party, camps and retreats are just some ways to partner with other youth ministries.

So lets have the same mindset this year, lets “give like Santa and save like Scrooge.”


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Matt is the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has over 20 years of student ministry experience all over the country. He has 3 kids. His 2 girls are in their teen years so he has lots of opportunity to put his student ministry years to good use at home everyday. He's completing a Masters in Adolescent and Family Counseling.


  1. David Powellsays:

    Good timely message for youth workers and leaders at this time of year!

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