As a parent and youth leader, I love those moments when young people think beyond themselves. When they are mindful of their neighbors’ needs and make sacrifices to meet those needs.
It warms my mom’s heart to know that our oldest son tutors two lower-income elementary-aged boys every Tuesday afternoon. And that tomorrow our 11-year-old will be serving senior adults for two hours at a local community center.
Not only does it warm my heart, the researcher in me is thrilled when young people serve their neighbors.
If you add up what we at the Fuller Youth Institute have learned about service in the last decade, we’ve found that:
- Young people want to neighbor well. According to our Growing Young research, churches that are making a difference locally and globally are magnetic to teenagers and young adults.
- Service is a gateway experience to all sorts of other positive outcomes for young people — like increasing their empathy and helping them identify and develop their gifts and talents.
- Service makes more of a difference when it’s a process, not an event. More important than planning a great two-hour or two-day service project is that young people are in reflective conversations with parents and mentors about their service before, during and after they serve.
- Even families and young people who want to serve don’t always know what to do, and how to carve out time in their busy schedules to make service a priority.
That’s why I’m so thrilled that we at the Fuller Youth Institute are collaborating with Compassion International to release an interactive service experience called Step Into My Shoes.
In order to really prepare for this project, Brad Griffin and I took a pilgrimage to visit Compassion’s local church partners in the Philippines and Brazil. We were able to learn all about how the local church is developing children in the poorest of communities to break the cycle of poverty in their lives.
Step Into My Shoes will take your church on an immersive, interactive journey alongside those experiencing extreme poverty. This flexible, intergenerational resource has biblical teaching, videos and hands-on cultural activities to help transform your church’s worldview.
With Step Into My Shoes – Philippines virtual reality component, you can meet Jonas and his friends. You’ll discover what it means to be “called” — to follow Jesus, to be the Church, and to care for those God cares about. This adaptable curriculum is available in a 4-step KidMin experience or a 90-minute experience.
What makes this service experience unique for your young people and their families?
- It’s free. Yes, no cost to the families you love and serve.
- It can be done any time. Families and mentors can choose the frequency and schedule that works best for them.
- It takes very little preparation. That’s a win for busy parents and mentors.
- It’s proven. We tested it with a host of young people and families to work out the kinks.
- It’s for kids of all ages. Families with kindergarteners and college students will enjoy and benefit.
- It gives super practical next steps. Your young people and families won’t wonder what to do next. They will get a menu of practical steps they can choose from.