Last week I took a 15 minute assembly for Year 7 in Secondary School on the theme of Poverty. This session was only meant as a basic introduction to the theme, so is deliberately lightweight but is designed to get the children thinking about their own personal response to poverty this Christmas. This assembly plan will also be posted on the schoolswork.co.uk website as a resource, so feel free to use and adapt it for your own schools work.
As the young people arrived into the hall, I had on the stage in front of them 2 Christmas presents each wrapped up and placed inside a separate glossy paper bag. This provided a good focal point and many of them wanted to know what was inside.
Although the assembly was on poverty, I told them that I wanted to talk about Christmas. I then asked them what they were hoping to get for Christmas. Answers ranged from Playstations to High School Musical DVD’s, but it got them thinking about getting gifts.
I then pointed to the presents and invited someone to come and open the first one. They did so and were pleased to discover some chocolate inside. I then invited someone to open the second present. Inside the box it was totally empty (you could place stones, paper, etc here instead). They were obviously disappointed sitting down with nothing when someone else had received a gift.
This helpfully led me to explain about global poverty ranging from starving children in Africa, to the homeless people in their town. There are many resources you can draw on for information about poverty (Make Poverty History, Christian Aid, World Vision and Oxfam are good places to start). With poverty in mind, my challenge to all the Year 7’s in the room was this: “What are you going to GIVE this Christmas?”
I then explained that as a Christian, I believe that God has told me to help those in poverty. Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself”(Matthew 22:39) which means ‘care for others’ NOT ‘snog the person who lives next door’!
To finish, I allowed them a minute of quiet to think about what they might give that could help those in poverty this Christmas (donate money, give more thoughtful gifts, invite less fortunate people round, volunteer to help out in some way).
The assembly was well received by the staff and I had a number of comments from young people as the left about what they might do to help those in poverty. Hopefully some will go away and put it into action!