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Why We Need to Talk About Poverty at Youth Group
The 2019 London Christian Prayer Breakfast
“An unseen Hope made the Red Sea Road where there is no other way”
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Experience Another World Without Leaving Yours

By Written by Compassion Canada

Hey youth pastors!

We get it. You’re looking at the year ahead and there’s just so much to talk about with your youth. Teenagers have so much coming at them these days—selfies, part time jobs, university applications, exams, parties, Instagram likes, Snapchat filters—and you’re just wondering if somewhere in the midst of all that you might get the gospel presented and some discipleship happening.

So when you’re trying to talk about Jesus in a party culture, and Godly confidence in a world that measures success in the number of likes you get, trying to talk about poverty in the midst of all that can feel like too much. You barely talk about things that are close to home, let alone an issue that doesn’t affect any of your students.

We get it.

But, we have a crazy proposition to make: Maybe talking about poverty is exactly what your youth group is missing.

Hear us out for a second.

Remember Hemorrhaging Faith? Of course you do. More likely than not, it’s probably one of the underlying reasons you do what you do every day as a youth pastor.

Well, one of the reasons youth were becoming disillusioned by church was the lack of poverty and social justice related conversations and social action they saw in churches.

Here’s the deal with this generation of youth—they are going to grow up in a world that is more messed up than it has ever been before. Extreme poverty. Slavery. Climate Change. War. Refugees. And it’s all coming to their phones in real time—thousands and thousands of stories per second.

Thankfully, this generation of youth is more determined than ever to do something about it. But that’s why they become disillusioned with church—because they don’t see us doing much to bring the hope of the gospel of Christ to a hurting world.

This is where we need to step up in the Church, have the tough conversations about poverty and injustice, and then do something about it. We need to talk about, and act upon, our calling to serve “the least of these” (Matthew 25) and “loose the chains of injustice” (Isaiah 58).

Because the truth is, try as they might to solve poverty through movements outside the Church, youth simply won’t find a solution, because the only eternal solution to poverty is Jesus. We believe that, so we need to start living like it’s true.

Here’s the deal: Compassion has created a FREE youth curriculum and video series called True Story: What God wants us to do about poverty, to help you dive into this conversation about poverty with your youth group, and take practical steps in your lives to partner with Christ in redeeming our broken world.

Why should youth pastors use True Story? from Compassion Canada on Vimeo.

True Story comes with six weeks of content in a leader’s guide, an accompanying film series, and additional resources. It is designed to be adaptable to your group, and it’s all available for free download at

We hope and pray that running True Story at your youth group is just the first step in this conversation, and that it propels your group towards living lifestyles of compassion and justice.

We are praying for you as you start this new ministry year. Know that what you do to invest in youth is infinitely valuable to the Kingdom.