Tag Archives: Poverty

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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How to Teach Students to be World-Changers

Last week, I posted an article about doing something to help the world in need.  Well, how about creating an event dedicated to this very topic, of being “World-Changers” and helping those across the world, from poverty to persecution, from sex slavery to sweatshops, and from forced child labor to forced child military.

Here’s an idea that might work for your student ministry…create a World In Need Event or WIN event.  Get out your box cutter and open up this box, and inside you’ll find a kit to create this event.

Purpose

Allow your students to open their worldview from pin hole to wide view lens.  Not just in their sense and compassion of the world’s needs, but also compassion for the lost in far off countries, and faces and names to go with these issues.

Supplies

Over the course of the year, I collect articles & stories of poverty, persecution, and problems across the world.  My primary resource for these articles is Relevant Magazine, with the Reject Apathy project being a huge contributor.  Other resources could include national news publications such as Time Magazine.  Also, it may be a good idea to contact missionaries to see needs in their regions.

Dispatches from the Front DVD Series:  This may need to be edited in some parts, because there are some issues that are more adult.  However, this series is powerful to gain an inside look at other cultural issues, and provide a real view of these far places of persecution and unrest.

Finally, purchase Operation World.  No, seriously.  Put in your order right now, here.  This will provide a valuable research during the prayer time of the WIN event.  Did you buy it yet…do it!

Planning

Opener Video – Choose an opener video to introduce your event.  I’ve used these:  World Edition of How Great is Our God, First World Problems (this one is especially powerful), & Audio Adrenaline – Kings & Queens.

Main Bible Passage – Use a passage that depicts the compassion God urges us to have for those in need.  Click here for some examples.

Presentations – Choose several world regions you would like to focus on helping.  Dispatches from the Front provide numerous options of where there is persecution and needs.  You can use these DVD’s to introduce the region and needs.  Or you can use your research to provide areas of needs.

Presentations can be adult or student led.  I would suggest doing the adult or youth leader led projects with a leadership student assisting.  After doing this a year or two, move to student presentations.

Give the youth leader or student a packet with the research you have compiled over the year.  Provide the location and problem/issue.  Inside the packet, provide a cover sheet of what the presentation should include.  For example:  Project Assignment, Title for Presentation, Bible Verse or Main Passage – Short devotional & How verse relates to topic/presentation, Presentation of World Issue – Present the Problems, Give statistics, Provide visuals – pictures, videos, Provide Solution – What can the audience do?  How can we help?, Close in Prayer

Preparation – Allow for several weeks and half your youth group time for students to collect their data and work on their presentations.  With youth leaders, you will want to provide the material 1-2 months in advance to give them enough time to prepare their presentations.  Choose a month where you can present the idea of helping others or loving others, and take time each week to pray for needs and problems in the world using your Operation World book that you just purchased earlier =)

WIN Event

Travel the World.  Make it special.  Have your leaders dress up as flight attendants and have students “fly” to their location for the presentations.  Use your worship center or gym to provide space between presentations, or use separate rooms.

Provide tools.  Allow each group to have access to internet and computer.  This will allow them to show Power Point and/or videos to enhance their presentations.

Be Creative.  Have each group bring in a cuisine or appetizer from their region.  Bring in a missionary speaker from that region as your main speaker.  Find someone who was originally from that culture who can speak from experience.

world-changers

Summation:  This WIN (World in Need) Event can provide an eye-opening experience for your students.  Did they know about the epidemic of sexual slavery?  Do your students realize the devastation of AIDS in Africa?  Do they understand how good they have it with clean, hot water whenever they want it?  Or most of all, how much do they take for granted their Bible in their hands and their freedom to worship, where many die for those two things?  It’s time we take some time and wake up our young people to the needs of this world…and allow them do to something about it!

 

 

 

 

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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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