Category Archives: Giving

Giving Back


By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Giving back is important all year long, but the holiday season seems to bring out that spirit more than other times of the year. It is wonderful to model to our children that giving to others is important. To help you out, we have come up with a few ideas and links. Have fun with it!

Operation Joy– grab an ornament off the tree in the Heroes Gate area and help a family in need celebrate Christmas by providing a gift and/or a meal. Gifts are due back to HG no later than December 11th.

Operation Christmas Child- shoe boxes for kids in need. You can find more information at

Create a Christmas bucket list- here are some fun ideas!

Christmas Service Advent idea- this one is good if you are feeling creative!

Sign up to ring the bell

Other ideas:

Caroling in your neighborhood or in a nursing home

Serving at a shelter

Play “secret Santa” for a neighbor in need

Serve at Feed My Starving Children

Drop a donation off at the Ronald McDonald house

Shovel snow for a neighbor

There are so many fun ways to give back. Some cost very little but require your time. Some cost a bit but will be a huge blessing. Giving back is living out the Kingdom and modeling God’s love to those around you. Be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas season!

You Can Make a Difference

By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

I started attending Woodland Hills almost 24 years ago. Yes, I was a baby then! Well, not quite. You see, when I started at WHC, I had a baby. My baby was one year old at the time. We had been trying out churches for around 6 months, Woodland Hills was the first church where my baby would stay in the Nursery so I could attend church. This meant the world to me to have a place where I felt safe and my baby had fun.

It came time for us to volunteer and give back. I volunteered in the nursery and then at the check-in desk. I made hearts, oh yes, back when we had felt hearts for family numbers. I loved my time of volunteering so much that I applied to be on staff 11 years ago!

It is people like you who made all the difference in the world for me and my family. Volunteering is easy and we have so many different areas that you can jump into. If meeting new people and computers are your gig, we have our Welcome Team. If loving on kids is your thing, we have many opportunities. I am asking you to prayerfully consider whether God is asking you to be a part of Heroes Gate.

A Little Time, a Big Investment – Just think back in your life to the people who helped you grow in your faith, in your identity, and your giftings.  You could be that person for a little one in Heroes Gate.  Consider serving in HG this school year.

  • Team Leaders – Connect with kids in infants, toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, elementary, or Club 56.
  • Storytellers, actors, or teachers – Connect kids to God’s story
  • Welcome Team – Connect families to HG
  • Special Needs – Help all kids participate fully
  • Worship – Connect kids to God through music

Click Here to sign up or contact Bethany Blick – or 651-287-2714

Last Call for Love Makes Cents Banks!

We took the February Love Makes Cents donations to the bank yesterday and, though we can’t reveal the total just yet (waiting to surprise the kids on Sunday), we CAN say Heroes Gate kids and families are incredibly generous!  We are so proud of the way our kids stepped up to the plate and chose to make a difference by sharing God’s love in this way with kids in an entirely different country!

However, this is the final week for Love Makes Cents donations to go toward Camp Penuel.  Any donations we receive after this weekend will go into the WHC General Fund (which includes our Missions budget which supports Camp Penuel and other former LMC partners).  If your child forgot to turn in his or her donation last Sunday, don’t forget to bring it in this coming Sunday so it can be added to our final grand total!

Love Makes Cents Boxes Due Sunday

Just a quick reminder that our Love Makes Cents campaign to raise funds to help kids in Costa Rica attend Camp Penuel will be ending this coming Sunday.  We’d love to have all the money the kids have raised to be brought in this weekend.  We’ve been hearing some great fundraising stories and ideas from the kids and are excited to see how much they’ve raised together!

Love Makes Cents 2016 – Camp Penuel Costa Rica


By Patrick Showers

In February, Heroes Gate and Club 56 children are challenged to raise money to help peers living in Costa Rica attend a Christian camp. While to us this may not seem like an important focal point for raising funds, the value is driven by two reasons. First, we work with Camp Penuel staff to determine how our efforts can directly affect at-risk children in this country. Many of the kids who attend Camp Penuel come from poverty and live in shantytowns where food and resources are scarce. Second, we seek to find a way to connect the need to the everyday things we take for granted in Minnesota. This way we hope to give children an opportunity to see the world beyond their day-to-day experiences and develop a compassion for others around the world.

Camp Penuel Costa Rica has a specific focus to give children ages 7-11 the opportunity to know their heavenly Father through Christ Jesus and the abundant life that he offers through the power and love of the Holy Spirit. The vision is to rally a multi-ethnic team of support to work towards providing facilities of excellence and diversity so that each child can have a wealth of new, safe, and fun experiences that they will remember for their lifetime, but more importantly, that are God-anointed and forever will change their lives for good.

This organization values mission teams to support and enhance their work. Our church has sent several teams there, including a recent group in January that included several volunteers from Heroes Gate.

Love Makes Cents has been a Heroes Gate learning element for almost a decade, and we continue to be amazed at the generosity and compassion of the children. They find a way to fill their banks and meet the financial goal every time. They’ve provided for kids in Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, and now Costa Rica. Their gifts, instead of being minor or unimportant, continue to enhance the spiritual and physical impact of each ministry organization.

We encourage you to discuss why giving is an important part of our role as followers of Christ with your children: our generosity stems from the selfless love and endless provision of Christ, and we are blessed when we give just as much as those who receive it. Over the years, I’ve seen kids give all they had and then work hard to find other sources of money to give. I’ve also heard kids tell their parents that they don’t want to give their money away and refuse to take a LMC bank box. Both responses are normal for children. Giving doesn’t come easy to everyone, and LMC seeks to provide a venue for families to pass on their values regarding generosity to their kids.

Ways to help kids learn more about Camp Penuel Costa Rica:

  • Visit their website and look at the pictures posted there.
  • Using a map of North America, locate Exparza, Costa Rica and the town you live in. Have kids measure the distance between using their arm or a household item, or older kids can figure out the miles with the key.
  • Look for opportunities to have kids brainstorm things they are thankful for in their lives.   Meals, clothes, toys, family, friends, a good school, teachers, and being able to attend church are a few ideas.  Ask your kids to think of things they might not have if your family didn’t have a lot of money, didn’t know Jesus, or had never been out of the city.       Have kids pray for children in Costa Rica to be blessed with things your kids are glad to have in their lives.
  • Share about the ways you give, why you give, and who receives it.
  • Come up with a plan to help your children consistently give and determine who will receive their gifts. Perhaps put together a jar or bank with a picture of the recipient ministry on the outside.

Remember to bring in LMC banks Sunday, February 28th to your child’s classroom. Preschool children can also grab a LMC bank from their station located near the middle of the Early Childhood hallway, or they can drop their money into the offering box in that same location (HG offerings in February go toward Love Makes Cents).


Love Makes Cents Final Update

We have our grand total for Love Makes Cents: The kids of Heroes Gate raised $1,622.48!  Wow!  We are so proud of our kids who have given generously and shown such amazing love to other kids in need!  Every penny will be going to Esperanza Viva Children’s Home, based in Puebla, Mexico, where they will use the money to buy pillows, blankets, and other nighttime necessities to help give the kids there “sweet dreams” each night.  Thanks again so much to those who were able to donate!

Love Makes Cents Update

Our kids here at Woodland Hills are awesome!  We were so excited to tell them last Sunday that they had raised $1,221.74 for our Love Makes Cents campaign to help the kids of Esperanza Viva Children’s Home in Mexico to have some new bedding and other necessities!  This coming Sunday, we will announce the new and final total, having added in what was brought in last week.  Let’s just say, we’re so proud of our kids, their generosity, and their willingness to help other kids in need!