Changing the world with $20 at NAU

change world with $20

“If you were given twenty dollars to spend building God’s kingdom, what would you do with it?” That’s the challenge I gave our InterVarsity students at Northern Arizona University. Together they brainstormed ideas on what they might do with the money, but that was only the beginning of an unexpectedly astounding evening… .

Over one hundred students packed into a hot study room for our monthly leadership training. “Movement” is our new monthly meeting for challenging and equipping students to actually do our vision statement: Transform Lives, Renew the Campus and Change the World.

As we gathered, all of the students noticed the envelopes hanging from wires over their heads. I spoke briefly about the importance of acting out our faith in tangible ways, using the parable of the servants entrusted with their master’s money in Matthew 25:14-30. Then each student grabbed an envelope and opened it. Inside every envelope was $20 — in Monopoly® money.

For ten minutes students talked in small groups about what they would do with the $20 if it were real. We gave them these guidelines: they had to use it to change a life, renew the campus, or change the world for Jesus. Some shared their ideas with the larger group.

Then we dropped the bomb: Brian, my co-worker, pulled out a huge wad of real $20 bills and told them we were serious about finding tangible ways to express biblical faith. The students could trade in their Monopoly bill for a real one if they committed to using it to change the world.

NAU namesEveryone in the room was blown away. They couldn’t believe that we trusted them with all that money, that we were even talking about money at all, and that they were leaving the room motivated and equipped for a mission. And they took it seriously, many staying long after we were done to talk and pray about what to do and how they can serve Jesus with what they had just received.

To make sure the students were serious about investing their funds for the Kingdom, we asked them for three things:

  • Sign your name on a clipboard for accountability.
  • Tell us what you did with your $20 on our blog.
  • Be open to telling your story at a large-group meeting or at our upcoming fall conference.

We collected five clipboards full of names. Students have until our fall conference to use the money, which was raised locally for the chapter. I am so grateful to those who prayed and gave financially towards this risky new idea. So far it’s really paid off!

Because of many people’s generosity, we’re developing missional Christians at NAU. I can’t wait to hear their stories!

—Steven Grahmann