Habits of Heart #12 Build Community
“Be part of a group that makes a difference in one another’s lives! Contribute to that community by doing things that build the group up and help it to achieve its goals.”
There are so many great Bible stories to share with students of any age if you want to introduce concepts such as acceptance, belonging and connection.
Look at Kids of Integrity – Tools for Growing Godly Character for ideas.
This website gives you a selection of stories and ideas for discussions.
Try this one with your class. Loving and Accepting Everyone – Luke 5:27-32; Luke 6:27-31. Here are their questions.
Questions for discussion
- Why did the people judge Jesus?
- What did they think He was doing wrong?
- What do some of your friends do wrong?
- Does God love them?
- How can you be like Jesus and be a “doctor” for your friends when they sin?
“We can love and accept others even if we don’t like what they do. It is easy to want to avoid children who often do wrong. The Bible says that we shouldn’t be concerned about what another person is doing, but rather we should be concerned about our own actions because each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).”
Another story that the website suggests is Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1
Look at the Kids of Integrity website for ideas for lessons. Here are their questions to accompany their lesson on Zacchaeus.
Questions for discussion
- Why did the people disapprove of Zacchaeus?
- How did Jesus show love to Zacchaeus?
- What do other kids do that you don’t like?
- What do you think Jesus would say to these kids if He went to their house?
- God cannot allow any sin into heaven. What kind of plan did God make to allow for sinners to be forgiven and accepted into His family? (See “God’s children,” the first Bible story in this section.)
- How can you help others learn about Jesus when you are with them?
The website has more stories and activities. It is worth having a look! Look for the stories of Bartimaeus, The Samaritan Woman, Peter and Cornelius and The Good Samaritan.
Another great resource is Sue Roffey’s book, Circle Solutions for Student Wellbeing. This book has an excellent chapter on Shared Humanity. In this book, Sue Roffey explains how important it is to value and include others, especially the vulnerable who are often marginalised and bullied. Sue Roffey provides us with strategies to encourage students to know one another well, focus on what they have in common, break down stereotypes and weaken cliques. One activity she suggests is called ‘This Class Cares’.
It is a Circle Time discussion activity. These questions are sure to engage your students!
- What can we do to welcome someone new to this class?
- What can we do to help someone new to fit into this class?
- What would we want a new person to think about this class?
- What can we do to welcome someone back when they have been away for a long time?
- What can we do to learn about one another and one another’s families?
- What might help someone who is always left out?
- What might help someone who struggles to understand what to do?
So if you are focussing on Habits of Heart, developing Godly Character or looking at big concepts such as acceptance, inclusiveness or belonging – there is plenty here to keep you going for quite some time! Enjoy!