Nearly all believers—including our teens—know that Christians should care for others. After all, Jesus did, and we’re supposed to be like Him, right?
But one thing that often gets lost is how incredibly simple—yet powerful—caring for others can be. In youth group, we often equate it to service projects, such as feeding homeless people or helping widows. And while those things are certainly important and we should definitely do them (don’t @ me!), there are two super-simple steps teens (and you!) can follow to show Christ’s love to those around them every day.
1. See people.
Throughout the Gospels, it’s clear over and over that Jesus took time to really see people—even the “least of these”—and to notice them enough to discern what they need. And we too, as believers, have a chance each and every single day to see those around us, to intentionally love on them for who they are, for who God created them to be.
Encourage your students to do just that. Remind them that there are so many people who go day in and day out not feeling like they belong. They feel sad and lonely even in the midst of a sea of people. For our students, it’s their fellow teammates or coworkers or people in the hallway at school.
Urge your teens to look up and look around as they go throughout their day. Encourage them to ask God to help them notice people who could use extra attention and care. Have them download the Life in 6 Words app, where they can add their friends to their Cause Circle and get reminders to pray for, care for, and share with them.
2. Take action.
When Jesus “saw” people, He made them feel known and loved. Often, that came simply in the form of a conversation—taking time to listen to them and answer their questions, or even just inviting them to hang out with Him. Other times, he would meet one of their needs or give them some direction. And many times, those simple actions proved to be life-changing.
We’ve all experienced the power of someone caring for us. Have you ever had a day when you were tired, frustrated, or just felt off? Or when you were sad about something or felt like you didn’t belong—and then a friend or family member took some time out of their day to care for you? Maybe they brought you a coffee, or just took some time to listen or invited you to do something fun. Do you remember that feeling—the feeling of belonging, the feeling that someone cares about you, that you were seen and known?
We can encourage our students to care for their community at school or work by going first and modeling how easy it can be to care for those who feel so lost and broken. A simple hello and smile go such a long way.
Challenge your students to invite that one student who doesn’t get invited to hang out. Encourage them to smile as they walk down the hallway. Suggest that they take time to listen or share some food or send an encouraging text—or whatever God prompts them to do.
Remind them that when we take those opportunities, we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus, serving those who are longing for someone to see them and take an interest in who they are. Encourage them that through even the simplest of actions, God can work through them in a cool and powerful way, allowing them to be the hands and feet of Jesus and perhaps even paving the way for them to share the Gospel as well.