A new iPhone. How many likes did my Facebook post get since five minutes ago? How am I going to memorize the Declaration of Independence before tomorrow? I have to read how many pages for English class? These are some of the thoughts that your students have. What about global poverty? It may not even be a blip on their radar screen. It may be up to you to teach them a little global compassion. Sound like a big subject…you bet it is. But there are ways to make an impression.
Teach a Little Perspective. Take them to http://www.globalrichlist.com/. That will open up their eyes. When they see a high schooler that is working only 20 hours a week at minimum wage makes more than 85% OF THE WORLD!! Yes, if you work at Kohl’s, Kroger, or even babysitting put you in the richest in the world. Talk about perspective.
Define Poverty. Poverty is more than just lack of food, shelter, or clothing. That’s a good basic definition, but it is also powerlessness to remove oneself from these conditions. A good video to show can be found here.
Explain the Bible is Not Silent about Poverty. God has expectation of us concerning the poor. He never wanted it to be the have and have-nots. Give out passages & have students explain what God says about poverty. Here is a cheat sheet for the Bible verses you might find: Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give to the poor without regrets. Proverbs 22:2 – Money does not make one better than another – we are all God’s creation. Proverbs 29:7 – Do you care? We need to care about the poor. James 2:15-17 – Do Something!
Tackle the Excuses. Takes time…Don’t know what to do…Don’t care enough. The excuses are all over the place, but you must get them out on the table. Talk about the excuses you have and tackle each one. Give your student hope they can make a difference in global poverty.
End With 4 Ways to Make a Difference in Poverty.
- #1 – GIVE – Give towards organizations like Compassion International. Encourage them to support a missionary that fights poverty, and help you set this up. Even if it is just a few dollars a month – what if everyone in this room did this? Give to organizations like KIVA.ORG, who lend or give money to people around the world to start a business that could literally change their life. As little as $25 could make a difference. Do your homework on companies and find ways you can make a difference.
- #2 – Start a Movement – Here are some ways you can have your students start a movement for fighting poverty: In speech class, use you informative speeches to share about the needs of the poor, how they live from one meal to the next, and the needs of the community. Facebook posts – about the needs of the poor, missionary prayer letters – shared. Write songs, poems, and articles about poverty for the school newspaper, performances, or dramas. Talk to your employer about doing something for the poor. Start a club – does fundraisers & events for those in poverty all over the world. Participate in church activities that help the poor like the homeless shelter outreach. Write your local government officials about needs in your community
- #3 – Care & Love the Poor – Nearly every community has those living in poverty – go out and do something about it. Start a program here at church that ministers to the poor. Encourage them to look for opportunities. Talk to them – if you serve at the shelter or you see someone in need – talk to them, look them in the eye, listen to their stories. As followers of Jesus – we MUST have compassion for those in need…who knows what may happen?!?
- #4 – Do Something – Give your students ideas, and then make it happ’n Cap’n. Make a video to help promote a charity or organization. Start a charity that makes something to donate towards missionaries working with those in poverty. Find ways to advocate for the homeless. Research local agencies that fight poverty in the area and present them to the group.
Have them Present Their Solutions. Put together some brainstorming groups and allow the students to come up with solutions. Encourage them to follow through with their solutions. In the words of Bob Goff, don’t just have a Bible study, have a Bible doing. Push them to make a difference.
Don’t Underestimate. A goal of mine is to see students become world-changers. Don’t underestimate what students can do with just a little encouragement. Allow them to change the world, and fight global poverty one step at a time.