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Respond with compassion

Model the compassion of Jesus in response
to the needs of the world around us.

We are acutely aware of the brokenness in the world which surrounds them. We all have hopes and fears about the future. Too often we provide our children with the adult solutions to some of the world’s problems rather than presenting them with the issue at hand and inviting their suggestions for what could be done. The Internet is filled with stories of children today who are changing their community and the world in their own way. What might be possible with your children if they were given the opportunity?

A common scenario is that one of the parents will deliver a meal to a needy family in the community while the other parent stays at home to babysit the children. Or both parents are involved in meeting a local need and they hire a babysitter for the children for this time. How much better would it be, in terms of deepening faith, if the children were involved not only in the delivering or the outworking of this compassionate response but also in the planning and preparation of what is to take place.

It is time for some fresh thinking, some creative thinking, some risky thinking about how we can empower our children and give them a voice to be agents of change in our broken world.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Principles and practical ideas to inspire you as you implement this formational experience into your long term plan …

Principles

How to we help children to respond to the needs they see when they feel so powerless? This underlines the importance of a family table routine where these issues cable explored together and prayed through. Plus the benefit of a mentor to talk and pray with. We all need to be prepares to take some risks – exposé ourselves to the brokenness and allow the Spirit of God to work through us all. This will be a model to our kids and the world around us that needs us to respond with the compassion of Jesus.

Why is RESPONDING WITH COMPASSION so important in the faith formation process? Here are 3 reasons….
1 We sit with the heart of Jesus
2 We see with the eyes of Jesus
3 We serve with the hands of Jesus

Watch this short video for a brief explanation…

Top 10 reasons why…

1.So we can see that the smallest efforts of love/serving/kindness can transform the lowliest of souls.

2.We encounter Jesus when we are amongst the poor and those in need. We understand more about what breaks God’s heart.

3.It makes “real” the situations around us in what seems to be in a virtual world.

4.It makes us realise we are not powerless to effect “change” in Jesus.

5.It is not just the poor who need our compassion; we all need to see the opportunities for compassion in the everyday with the people within our sphere of influence.

6.It softens hearts that can easily become hardened by the everyday occurrence of the reality that we live in a broken world.

7.By using gifts and talents that God has given for others; it deepens our appreciation of why we are made the way we are.

8.It awakens our spirits to listen more carefully to those around us. To hear the “help me” in the everyday situations.

9.It gets people out of their own little world and helps us to be more “outward” focused.

10.We can grow to love people who are different from us and become more tolerant.

 

Practical ideas

Share stories of encouragement

1.Post stories of kids responding in your local, national or international context so as to inspire others.

2.Links: kids2kids.com.au | sleeponitaustralia.com | Kids4Kids resources on link.

Projects

1.Encourage families to engage with opportunities in their communities, working with initiatives that are taking place eg. Community Christmas lunch for those in need, Clean Up Australia, the Great Australian Shave, Australia’s Biggest morning tea, etc.

2.Take up a cause to recycle food.

3.‘Go, Grow, get together’ fortnight ‘– e.g. Go to local shopping centre, help elderly, wash windscreens, etc.

Build connections

1.Connect with families or churches in the developing world, or within your nation to explore and develop ways to respond practically with compassion e.g. send letters.

Challenges

1.Living on $2 a day challenge. www.livebelowtheline.com.au

2.Sleeping rough.

Public affirmation

1.Honour families and individuals of all ages in their initiatives. Eg. Creating ‘Compassion Awards’ so the stories of what children and young people are doing can be told publicly.

Modelling

1.Children & young people are very compassionate and respond well to modelling of compassionate attitudes and behaviours. See the range of “YouTube” videos called: “Children see, Children do”.

Resources

1.“People of compassion” by Dave Andrews – it is a great resource of 40 stories about fantastic things that Christians have done in the past. See link

Links to Excellent Resources this Pillar:

An introduction + 2 foundational principles

8 formational pillars