If you have taught Bible classes for even the youngest of children, you may have already noticed symptoms of a “me first” attitude evolving. Let’s face it, many of the problems in the Church and in our world are rooted in selfishness.
Is there anything you can do in your Bible class to help students begin putting others before themselves? Of course, there are plenty of scriptures and Bible stories to share, but what else can you do? Here are some of our favorite ideas.
- Develop a self-less classroom environment. Take the time to make your classroom a special little world. Discuss with students some of the ways you all can work together to make your classroom a place where everyone thinks of the needs of others. Where people will sacrifice their “selfish desires” for the good of others. Very young Bible students may not be capable of having deep conversations in these areas, but older elementary and teen students can. Then hold each other accountable for creating that loving, giving environment every class time.
- Notice students making unselfish decisions – like not insisting people change seats so they can sit next to their best friend. Make sure to encourage growth as well as full success.
- Challenge students. Notice a particular selfish/inconsiderate behavior that most of your students seem to have? Challenge them to adopt a less selfish alternative – practice it in their lives for a week – and then make it a regular classroom behavior. Occasionally provide a reward to celebrate success (Ultimately, intrinsic motivation is best, but a random unexpected reward from time to time is okay).
- Have heart of culture discussions. With older students you can take some time to have in depth discussions about the ways our culture encourages selfishness, why God condemns it and the problems selfishness can cause when we disobey God and are selfish.
- Serve others regularly as a class. Have activities before serving to develop empathy and encourage self-less behaviors and attitudes. Have reflection time afterwards to discuss how selfishness or self-less-ness impacted the service.
Working with students to help them get rid of selfishness takes intentionality and extra time and effort. It’s worth it though, for the changes it can make in their lives, their futures, the Church and the world.