There are no shortage of haters out there when it comes to reward systems and rewards models for kids churches. But for the past 7 years we have used a rewards system at our church called BibleBucks 2.0. It has been an amazing tool for us.
When do reward systems go bad?
- When they become the goal of what you do rather than a part of what you do.
- When we reward the wrong things.
- When we use rewards to supplement our lack of preparation.
- When we allow the teachers in the rooms to change what we reward weekly.
Rewards are biblical and helpful. The problem with reward models is you have people who love them too much and make them the star rather the timeless truth of God’s word. Then on the other side you have people who hate on reward models and preach that rewards are anti-biblical.
I am on neither side. The focal point is and always must be Jesus and what He has done not what we can get out of him. Some rewards models reinforce the consumerist idea of church, that I will only go if I get something out of it. Then you have people who think rewards are of the devil. To me it’s not what you do but how you do it.
How to do reward systems right.
- Have a fixed reward system that teachers can’t manipulate to compensate for poor preparation.
- Use rewards to get families to come back a second time.
- Be consistent. Do your store or whatever weekly. 1 time a month or 2 times a month often excludes kids in custody situations.
- If kids memorize biblical truths or parts of the bible to get a push pop. I am totally cool with that.
- Reinforce to your kids and parents what matters most by rewarding those things. What you pick to reward matters. (Things you shouldn’t reward in opinion winning a game, or giving in the offering. Things you should reward attendance and memorization.)
What reward systems are there out there? Many people do bible bucks where they make fake money and hand that out. I’ve done it. Here is the problem kids steal from other kids and kids lose their money. I have seen the balloons on the boy’s side vs. balloons on the girl’s side thing. Since I have a semi-clinical fear of balloons popping we don’t do this. We have been using BibleBucks 2.o it’s an online web-based rewards system that allows you to define what you give kids rewards for. It’s online and kids receive a card to get access to their points. Their card number is connected to their name and their points so points can never to be stolen and never be lost.
*full disclosure I run the own and run the BibleBucks 2.0 site. But I would use it even if I was not involved in it. It’s web-based so it works on Mac or PC it’s simple and quick to use. If you are interested in checking it out you can see how it works for free and will only be sent an invoice if you add 10 kids to your database.