Tag Archives: Poor

How to Teach On Poverty…And What to Do About It

Picture1A 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.

Picture2Explain 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.

 

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review:  Generation Change by Dave Ramsey, featuring Rachel Cruzegenchange_home_product

The Good:

The practicality is through the roof with this series. What teenager can’t use a lesson on finances, especially with a Biblical foundation? Seriously, some of these students had no clue how to manage money. If they practice the principles in this series, we are talking about saving them some major heartache.

The Biblical foundation was the best “good” of this curriculum. Without it, you could find these principles on a book in Barnes & Noble. But with the Biblical lessons and Scriptural backing for each point, it gave the material authority and reason for life changes, specifically in the area of money.

Dave Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze was the main speaker on the DVD’s. Her youth served her well in the sense of relevance. She was able to speak the language of the teens well, and tune into what they were thinking throughout the series. Rachel easily held the attention of the room, and did a great job presenting the material.

A word that comes to mind for this series is “sharp”. I would call this sharp material. What I mean is the leader guide was well-designed; the DVD’s were dynamic and engaging, including an artistic presentation in each DVD that was incredible. The overall package was impressive

The Bad:

The price may seem like it should go in the bad category, but when you see the price of the adult material, you will be thankful. However, one bad in purchasing all 3 sets in the series, was there was some material that was repeated. Since these DVD sets could stand alone in a study, I’m guessing that is why the material found itself repeating on occasion.

Another bad, more a slightly bad, would be the Biblical study required a little more prep on the leader’s part. There was definitely material as a foundation, but there were time when it lacked depth. Maybe my standards are high, but I was thirsty for more.

Lastly, there was some advice that was a little “shoot for the moon”. No debt from college? Pay for your 1st house with cash? Now I’m all for not getting into debt and living within your means, but there were statements like these that raised my eyebrows. With the income levels of my students, some debt management statements in my opinion were a little unrealistic.

The Grade: A-

If the students review was any indication of its worth, then it immediately should be considered in the “A” category. When I asked the students what they thought of the series, several of them said it was their favorite one they have studied. That’s a big statement. So, do these students just like talking about money or did this series truly have a spiritual impact? I’m going to go with yes.

Extras:  YouTube Videos: http://youtu.be/1DUYlHZsZfc & http://youtu.be/eGVpKaxnuBU

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The Worst Thing You Can Do for Others in Need

All too often, I see young people live life with blinders to the world.  Their worldview is seen through a pin hole, overlooking the issues of someone their age on the other side of the world.  It is in this blindness where difficulties and problems in their world would be labeled as luxuries in many parts of the world.  For every teenager that scoffs at doing the dishes, there is another young person that misses another meal.  For the child that is angry at their parent for not allowing them more time playing video games, there is a child that never had the chance to call someone mommy or daddy.  And for every young person that divulges in sexual promiscuity, there are young people who have little choice and are forced into the act on a daily basis.

love-God-love-others-titleLet’s be honest.  Adults fall into this category as well.  We take for granted every day our freedom, our luxuries of appliances, devices, abundance of food, and overall safety.  Little is done on a consistent basis for the poor, the neglected, and the needy.  We too fall into the trap of complaining about our weak cell phone signals, the difficulty of choosing an outfit not as a result of too little clothes, but because the abundance in our closest, or finding just the right meal on a ten page menu.

So when I read passages like 1 John 3:16-18, it feels like a punch in the gut.  The realization of my apathy towards the needy makes me ill.  As I type this on my laptop, sitting in my leather chair, and with a comfortable setting on the thermostat (oh don’t worry, if it gets a little chilly, I have a space heater for extra comfort).  Not saying these things of themselves are evil, because God’s Word says the LOVE of money is the problem, not money.  But, as it says in 1 John 3, the issue is not what we have that is typically the problem; the real issue is the neglect of what others do not have.   Take a look at what John says in this passage…

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

If I asked you, do you love others?  You probably would say yes.  If I asked you if you have Christ’s love for others, would you be able to answer so easily?  Not when it is defined like this:  one that would be willing to give his life for His brothers & sisters.  Goodness, we can barely give $5 in a missionary love offering or a Saturday night to work at the homeless shelter…maybe we should start small and work our way up!

Let’s keep reading…

17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Remember our earlier discussion about a small worldview.  Imagine that, this is not a new problem.  John highlights how our problems & struggles are right in front of our face, and we rarely look around those troubles to see what others are going through.

Let me explain it this way.  You know what magicians try to do with their audience?  They usually try to get the audience to focus on one hand, while the other is hiding something…And that’s Satan’s goal to when it comes to the needy, the poor, and the sick in the world.  We often focus on other things…it might not even be sinful or evil…but we get distracted and neglect those that may need help.

Listen, 80% of people live on less than $10 a day.  22,000 children die of poverty every day.  1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water….I could keep giving you statistics, but your reaction would probably be the same.  Either you care or you don’t.  I’m not naïve; some of you will leave this article with no change in your heart for the poor, the sick, and the needy.  But I hope there will be some that will be changed.  My hope is you will find real, tangible ways to change these stats.  That you will start an event that helps children with AIDS, or start a charity that provides clean water to poor countries.  You can do these things; there are little kids in the news that are able to accomplish these things. Maybe you start small and support a child through Compassion International or Holt International.  Maybe you do have a limited income, so start small and contribute to a missionary monthly of $2 a month.  Here’s the point…DO SOMETHING!

18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Do you believe you can change the world?  Do you believe you CAN make a difference?  I hope so.  Here’s the worst thing you can do – NOTHING!  You wait for someone else to do it…you hope George Clooney or Bill Gates will take care of poverty in Africa.  You think you have to wait until you are older.  Listen, all these are excuses or lies from the enemy to prevent you from making a difference.

God wants more from us than just love in our words…He wants action.  My challenge during to you is to find something that YOU can do.  Whether it is planning a community event for clean water or raising money to rescue girls from sex slavery…I hope you will listen to whatever God is placing on your heart.  Don’t underestimate what you can do to help others.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  Do something.  Less words and more action.

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