Open their eyes to a bigger world
Photo by Andres Urena.
As a parent and as a leader, I'm often wondering how to help young people see a bigger world. Not only to see more, but also to care more, serve more, and imagine more about how God might use the church to respond to the great needs all around us—close to home and across oceans.
Many of us have experienced the privilege of global travel. Our eyes have been opened to realities we couldn't previously imagine because we simply didn't have access to the places, stories, foods, and people who help bring a community and culture to life. Some of us have been able to take students or our own kids on trips like this, whether oriented toward missions/service work, exposure, education, or personal travel.
Many of us don't have the resources for trips like this, or our churches are revisiting the ways funds are used for international work. Or we are able to take small groups on international trips, but return home to many other students who don't share these meaningful experiences. We want to open their eyes to the daily lives of kids across cultures who in some ways are just like them, and in other ways quite different. We also hope to start younger—exposing kids in children’s ministry to a bigger world and to a deeper empathy that’s hard to achieve in most curricular approaches.
Let's open young people's eyes to the daily lives of kids across cultures who in some ways are just like them, and in other ways quite different. And let's start younger. (tweet that)
Keeping all of these realities in mind, at FYI we've loved partnering with Compassion International to develop a resource that can help bridge some of those gaps.
Step Into My Shoes is a resource for groups and entire churches to encounter kids, families, and churches who are part of God’s community across the globe—no passports required. Specifically, we want to help young people and families take a next step to help release children globally from extreme poverty, in Jesus’ name. We also want to raise young people’s awareness of the needs around the corner, in our own towns.
Step Into My Shoes offers a four-week church-based experience with videos, activities, and Bible engagement for classes or small groups. While primarily geared toward elementary-aged groups, the group material can be adapted easily for use with middle schoolers. The Step Into My Shoes website includes ideas for older groups. There’s also a 90-minute churchwide experience option that can be led with the help of middle and high school students.
Materials for leaders can be downloaded from stepintomyshoes.org, and you can also order family kits—complete with virtual reality goggles to watch 360-degree videos—with discussion guides to follow up the content at home. These virtual reality components enhance the experience by dropping viewers into real homes and neighborhoods we visited in the Philippines while gathering stories for this curriculum.
We love collaboration that helps expand the capacity of leaders like you, and we’re excited to share this resource free of charge to help open kids’ eyes to the world.