Poverty Lesson Plan: Faith
Time: 40-55 minutes, depending on age and activity
Lesson overview and preparation
Prepare for the lesson and gather supplies.
The problem: Many children living in poverty have difficult lives and have a hard time believing things will get easier. They can’t always see God’s plan for their lives.
My sponsored child: Our sponsored child might not have had hope about God’s plan for [his/her] life if we hadn’t sponsored [him/her].
What God says: The Bible says that God has a special plan for everyone’s life.
|The Problem||My Sponsored Child||Activity||What God Says|
|Poverty focus: When poor children learn about Jesus, it gives them much-needed hope.||Sponsored child connection: Our sponsored child is learning that God has a special plan for [his/her] life.|| My Plan For Tomorrow
Time: 10 minutes (ages 4-7); 25 minutes (ages 8-11)
| Bible focus: God wants all children to have hope in Him for their futures.
Memory verse: Jeremiah 29:11
|Supplies: none||Supplies: blank paper, crayons, pencil||Supplies: paper and pencil||Supplies: Bible|
|Prep: Open the Powerful Prayers — Nicaragua page in your internet browser.||Prep: none||Prep: none||Prep: none|
Discussion and prayer, 10 minutes
You say: Many families in other countries can’t afford the food, shelter, clothing and medicine they need. They live in places where sewage runs through their streets, smelly trash piles up near their homes, and people around them get sick easily. In such tough places it can be hard to stay in school and plan for a better future.
What do you want to be when you grow up? [Wait for answers.] Did you know that many kids in poor neighborhoods don’t believe that their dreams will come true? These kids lose hope. Many poor kids drop out of school after elementary. Many have to help their parents work, or they have to take care of their brothers and sisters while their parents work. But Compassion-sponsored children start to hope again. Their lives are still not easy, but they can have clean water, they can go to the doctor if they are sick, and these kids get to stay in school! They also learn about Jesus’ love for them, and they read their Bibles and pray.
Application: What do you think children like [sponsored child’s name] pray for? [Wait for answers.] Let’s read some prayers from sponsored children in Nicaragua. Then we’ll ask God to help them. [Read Powerful Prayers — Nicaragua together.]
Afterward, you say: Let’s pray for those five boys. Dear LORD, we lift up Marco and his family to You. Please help his mom earn enough money to support her family. We ask You to show Jossan’s parents a way to pay back the money they owe. Please remind José that even though his parents left him with his grandma, You love him very much and have a plan for his life. Finally, we ask You to help Bryan’s family afford more food so they never have to go to bed hungry. We pray that his dad would stop drinking alcohol. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thankfully, there is something that gives kids everywhere hope: faith in Jesus. Let’s learn how God helps sponsored children in [sponsored child’s name’s] part of the world.
My Sponsored Child
Discussion and application, 15 minutes
You need: Blank paper no larger than 8.5” x 11″, crayons, pencil
Application for ages 4-7: Let’s draw a picture to send to [sponsored child’s name]. Since we’re talking about God’s plans for our lives, draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up. You can include a picture of a cross and Bible as a reminder that God is always with us.
Application for ages 8-11: Let’s write a quick note to [sponsored child’s name]. Since we’re talking about God’s plans for our lives, ask [sponsored child’s name] what [he/she] wants to be when [he/she] grows up. You can also write about what you want to be when you grow up, and talk about how you’ll need to work hard in school to reach your goals.
Note: Please include your sponsor number and your sponsored child’s name and number on each item you send. Mail to: Compassion International, 12290 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs CO 80921.
You say: Do you know that God loves you? [Wait for answers.] How does it make you feel to know that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to Earth so you can have Him as a friend for your whole life and then go to heaven? [Wait for answers.] Learning that makes sponsored children like [sponsored child’s name] feel hopeful! Let’s learn more about why knowing about God is so important for children living in [sponsored child’s name’s] part of the world.
If your sponsored child lives in Africa, you say: Christianity is the most common religion in the African countries where Compassion works. Our sponsored child goes to Compassion center activities at a Christian church, where caring adults teach about Jesus’ love. Sponsored kids learn that God has a special plan for their lives, which gives them hope to study hard in school so they can get good jobs as adults.
If your sponsored child lives in Asia, you say: Christianity is the most common religion in most areas of the world, but that’s not the case in Asia. Most people in the Asia-Pacific region are either Hindus or Muslims. Our sponsored child goes to a church-run Compassion center and learns about God’s love. [He/she] learns about Scripture and prayer, which helps give [him/her] hope that God has great things planned for [his/her] future.
If your sponsored child lives in Central America or the Caribbean: Almost everyone in Central America and the Caribbean is a Catholic or Protestant. But many people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic also practice Voodoo. People who practice Voodoo worship many spirits. Haiti’s government says voodoo is the country’s official religion. Thankfully our sponsored child learns at a church-run Compassion center to avoid Voodoo beliefs and to follow only Jesus.
If your sponsored child lives in South America: Most people in this region are Catholic or Protestant. Our sponsored child goes to a Compassion center run by a Christian church and learns all about the Bible. [He/she] joins in fun activities like verse-memory competitions with other sponsored kids. [Sponsored child’s name] received a Bible when our family decided to sponsor [him/her]. Some kids around the world cannot afford a Bible.
Afterward, you say: Aren’t you glad that because we sponsored [sponsored child’s name], [he/she] learns all about God’s love and plan for [his/her] life? Let’s remember to pray for [sponsored child’s name] each time we talk to God. Let’s set a goal to pray every day this week that God will help our sponsored child grow in faith. We’re all part of God’s big family, and we are blessed with the chance to help [sponsored child’s name] know His love.
My Plan For Tomorrow
10-25 minutes, depending on age
You say: At their Compassion centers, sponsored children learn to dream about their futures. They fill out a workbook called My Plan for Tomorrow to set goals and work to reach them. Setting goals is extra important for kids in poverty. Many people who grow up poor have no hope that they will finish school and get a good job as an adult. The caring adults who run Compassion’s program help sponsored children hope for a better future and take steps to make their dreams come true.
Here are some questions like the ones sponsored children answer in their My Plan For Tomorrow workbooks. They make plans about school and jobs when they grow up, getting along with others, following Jesus, and keeping their bodies healthy. Now it’s your turn to make a plan like theirs!
[Read questions aloud and have children answer verbally. You or the children can write down their answers if you’d like.]
1. What do you want to do for a job when you grow up?
2. Why do you want to be a [child’s chosen job]?
3. What are some things you’ll need to learn about so you can be a [child’s chosen job]?
[Give these questions to children and have them write down their answers on a sheet of paper.]
- What do you want to do for a job when you grow up?
- Why do you want to be a [child’s chosen job]?
- What skills or talents do you think you’ll need to become a [child’s chosen job]?
- How will you learn those skills?
- Set a goal for what grades you want to earn in school this year. Then set new school goals every year.
- Name some adults in your life who help you reach your goals.
- Jesus helped people in need, and He told us to do the same. How will working as a [child’s chosen job] help others?
You say: Some of the goals you just set won’t happen until you’re much older. So let’s set smaller goals you can reach sooner.
- What is one kind thing you can do or say to a friend or family member this month?
- God will help you follow your dreams. Set a goal for how many times you will say prayers this week.
- Eating fruits and vegetables keeps your body healthy so you can grow up strong and smart. Set a goal of how many days you will eat all your fruits and vegetables this week.
- List some of your favorite ways to exercise and have fun, like playing sports, jumping rope, dancing or playing tag. Let’s set a goal to exercise every day!
What God Says
Memory verse and prayer, 5-7 minutes
You say: Now that you know that many children living in poverty have a hard time believing that their lives can get better, we’ll find out what the Bible says about it. In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah passes along an important message from God to God’s people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Now you try to memorize part of what Jeremiah said!
Repeat this part of the Bible verse after me …
Shortened memory verse for ages 4-7: “The LORD plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11. [Wait for child to repeat, then say it again and have child repeat it again.] What does the LORD plan to give you? [Wait for answer of “hope and a future.”] Now repeat after me again: “The LORD plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11. [Wait for child to repeat, then say it again and have child repeat it again.]
Memory verse for ages 8-11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD ‘… plans to give you hope and a future,’” Jeremiah 29:11.
[Wait for child to repeat, then say it again and have child repeat it again.] What does the LORD plan to give you? [Wait for answer of “hope and a future.”] Now repeat after me again: [Repeat the verse and wait for child to repeat. Then say it again and have child repeat it again.]
Afterward, you say: Let’s pray for [sponsored child’s name] and other children living in poverty.
Dear God, I’m so glad You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die for me. Thank You for loving me so much! I pray that [sponsored child’s name] will know how much You love [him/her]. Please give me the words to say in my letters to [sponsored child’s name] to make [him/her] feel hope. Help [sponsored child’s name] stay hopeful and faithful that You have a fantastic plan for [his/her] future. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.