3 Tools to Develop Your Family’s Heart for Social Justice

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.”

3 Tools to Develop Your Family's Heart for Social Justice

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 a heart for social justice in the next generation:

Compassion Pinterest Boards

3 Tools to Develop Your Family's Heart for Social Justice

If you’re looking for a way to take your sponsorship relationship to the next level or learn more about the developing world, our Pinterest boards are a great resource. Families often ask me what they can send the children they sponsor in the mail. Look no further! You’ll find dozens of creative letter ideas here. You’ll also find boards that collect resources to help you learn about the developing countries in which we work and the issues they face, including amazing stories from the children and churches we work with.

Step Into My Shoes Family Kit

3 Tools to Develop Your Family's Heart for Social Justice

If you haven’t introduced yourself to Step Into My Shoes, I highly recommend that you do. When you order this discipleship tool for your family or church, it will guide you through four transformational steps. Your family will have the opportunity to learn from Pastor Tom’s family in Uganda about what it is like to live life alongside them. Through hands-on experiential activities you’ll find all you need to have meaningful conversations about God’s bigger world and heart. When we see the world through God’s eyes, it changes our perspective of what we think “enough” is – and this is the central focus of the Step Into My Shoes journey.

Explorer Magazine

3 Tools to Develop Your Family's Heart for Social Justice

Kids love to get mail, and they’ll love getting an Explorer Magazine because it’s created specifically for them. Explorer Magazine is our award-winning free quarterly magazine packed with devotions, crafts, recipes and ideas to help kids grow in compassion and heart for our brothers and sisters who live in poverty. Bonus: kids will love to read this full-color magazine and it won’t feel like homework!

How are you inspiring your children to have a heart for social justice and compassion for their neighbor? Have you used any of these tools? Share your ideas and comments below!

2 Comments |Add a comment

  1. J.Joshua Kono March 16, 2016

    As long as we live here on earth, our lives are a cluster of needs and in addition to our “genuine” needs essential for our survival, we struggle with our own greed and self-interest disguised as needs.
    Surrounded with commercialism from all directions telling us what is necessary for a good life and urging us to spend our hard-earned money on the products they offer, we make fools of ourselves by convincing ourselves that it is necessary that we purchase this or that.
    If our needs are the ultimate goal in whatever we do and our faith is only based on the satisfaction of our needs, it is no longer God whom we serve, but idolatry we are committing.
    Greed is synonymous with idolatry.
    The only way we can learn the secret of contentment is by satisfying the needs of others and having the joy of doing so.
    Isn’t our God pleased with those who give not only generously, but also cheerfully?
    Compassion has taught me how to say “enough” in my case.

  2. Yvonne Reynolds February 18, 2016

    Taking your kids along to volunteer at Compassion events, especially the Compassion Experience, is another way to involve children in developing a heart to serve! 🙂

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