Several years ago I had the greatest job: I was a Children’s Pastor at a church in Malibu, California. As I got to know the families in the community, I learned that they had one thing in common: they all wanted to raise kids who served those in need and were grateful for all that they had.
Many were worried that because their kids had all their basic needs met (and more) that they would grow up and be entitled and ungrateful. I realized quickly that simply telling kids about the poor wasn’t going to be enough – we’d need to have experiences that would allow us to learn together and grow in compassion.
Learning that leaves a lasting impression happens through life-changing experiences. I wondered out loud and to myself about how I could give my kids at church an experience that would allow them to step into the story of another person – specifically those who live in poverty. We began by asking the question, “what is enough?” in a culture that teaches us to strive and thirst for “more.”
The thing is, whether you live in Malibu or Indiana, Mexico or India, we all need to know that we are loved and that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. We have so much in common. We all experience wealth and poverty in some form: material, spiritual, emotional or intellectual.
In order to help children grow in compassion, we can activate their vivid imaginations and give them the tools they need to be empathetic world-changers. I knew that many of the kids I worked with would someday shape their culture as their generation emerged into adulthood, and I felt commissioned to do all I could to prepare them to follow Jesus and live a life of service and generosity. Values are formed early in life, and I believe our role as adults is to create experiences that will inspire children to see the world through God’s eyes.
If you’re like me, you’re on the lookout for hands-on experiences to help children explore God’s bigger world. Here are three great resources available to help develop the next generation develop hearts of compassion.
Step Into My Shoes
If you haven’t introduced yourself to Step Into My Shoes, I highly recommend that you do. When you register to receive instant access to this discipleship tool for your children’s ministry, you will get lesson plans to guide you through four transformational steps. Your children’s ministry will have the opportunity to learn biblical lessons from five children who live in the Philippines. Learn more about Step Into My Shoes.
Your children’s ministry can get plenty of cross-cultural ideas to infuse compassion and purpose into VBS, summer camp or Sunday School. Access the digital version of Explorer Magazine! It’s a free, quarterly magazine packed with devotions, crafts, and recipes to inspire kids and help them put their faith into action. Here is the current edition.
Discover five tracks of hands-on lessons that create continuity between your year-round Compassion partnership and your children’s ministry programming. Substitute your curriculum’s missional component with one of the five mission-critical priorities at Compassion, and give your kids a tangible way to practice the biblical principles they learn. Learn more about Missional Boosters.