Bible: Psalm 145:8; John 13:34-35

Bottom Line: Genuine compassion always leads to action.


  • Index cards (enough for each group of students to have 5 pieces)
  • Pens/pencils (one for each group of students)
  • A bucket
  • Index cards with the answers (provided below)


Divide students into five groups of equal size and have them form huddles.

Give each group five index cards and a pen/pencil.

Place the bucket up front.

Write the following, one word on each index card:

  1. H.H.M.H. (Helping Hands Monkey Helpers)
  2. T.C.I.F. (Tall Clubs International Foundation)
  3. B.B.I. (Best Buddies International)
  4. S.O.I. (Sports Outreach Institute)
  5. W.B.P. (Women’s Bean Project)

Have a leader on hand that can keep score for all the teams.


Say: How many of you enjoy helping other people?

I’m glad to see that you think it’s important, because it is!

All over the world, there are groups and organizations that help others.

In our game today, we’re going to learn the names of a few of them.

I will read the initials of an organization out loud.

With your huddle, you will come up with a word for each letter of the initials, write them down on your team’s index card, and place them in the bucket.

You will want to come up with something that is super convincing because it will help you win.

For example: If I read the letters “H.F.C.,” you might guess something like, Help Feed Children.

The real answer is: Heroes for Children.

But, if you came up with a convincing answer, then you would get points for every team that chooses your answer—I will tell you more about that in a minute.

I will also place a card with the actual answer in the bucket with everyone else’s answers.

Next, I will read each card out loud.

When I read you team’s answer, don’t make it obvious.

The goal is to write down an answer that is so convincing that the other teams will think it is correct.

Then, we will go around the room and hear which answer your team thinks is the correct one.

After everyone has chosen an answer, I will reveal the real answer.

If your team guessed correctly, you will get two points.

You will also get a point for every team that thought your answer was correct.

The team with the most points after all five rounds, wins!


Say: Winning team, how did you feel about that game?

Did you feel bad for the teams that lost the game?

Allow a few responses from students.

Ask: Have you ever felt genuinely sorry for someone?

What situation occurred that made you feel sorry for them?

Allow a few responses from students.

Share a personal story of a time you felt sorry for someone and how you responded with your actions.

Other situations that make us feel sorry, or sad, for someone might be:

If you see someone trip and fall—hopefully, you don’t laugh, but instead, you feel bad for them.

Or when someone tries to do something and they don’t do as well as they had hoped—like being the last runner to finish in a race.

How about when someone is rejected by a friend who turns their back on them or betrays them?

Not only do those types of situations make us feel sorry for the people involved, but they can also produce compassion for others and their situation.

Today, that’s what we’re talking about: compassion.

The meaning of compassion is, “to suffer together.”

It goes beyond just feeling and emotion, and leads to action.

For example: the person that trips and falls while carrying all of their school books—you see them fall, run to them, help them stand, and pick up their books.

Genuine compassion always leads to action.

A person could not say they had compassion if they only watched the person struggle to stand back up, dust themselves off, and keep going without any help.

Compassion is demonstrated in how we act towards others.

In the United States, there are over 1.5 MILLION charities.


Typically, a charity is founded out of a desire to help a group of people or a cause.

Most of us are familiar with charities that help kids with cancer, homeless people, or animals who need to be adopted.

But, there are also charities that I’ve never heard of, and maybe you haven’t either, that are one-of-a-kind.

For example, “Shaving Away the Eyebrows” was a charity fundraiser by a man named Si Burgher in Indiana.

Si had to brush his 3-inch eyebrows every day to keep them out of his eyes—wow!

He decided to raise money for a polio foundation by allowing people to trim his eyebrows.

He raised over $1600 for trimming his eyebrows!

Or, there’s this one: “The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.”

Worried about your dog or cat becoming too chubby?

You can give to this foundation that is researching healthy ways to keep our pets from becoming obese. 

Here’s one more—a man named Matt Jones allowed himself to be hit by 21,000 paintballs to demonstrate how many children die from poverty every single day.

He allowed himself to feel pain in order to help others see the number of children who are dying from not having enough food and water.

Each of those stories, although they might seem strange or extreme, represent people who were moved to compassion because they believed in a cause and wanted to make a difference.

As followers of Jesus, we should feel compassion towards others.

Why? Because God has shown compassion for us.

Read Psalm 145:8.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

When we look at the people and situations all around us, sometimes it can be difficult to show compassion.

Maybe you get frustrated seeing the situations that people allow themselves to live in.

Why don’t they just change how they live?

Or, it might be difficult to have mercy towards people who don’t show mercy to others.

God could feel the same way about us, but instead, He shows compassion.

He isn’t impatient when we make bad decisions—He loves us.

And God demonstrated the ultimate form of compassion when He sent Jesus to earth.

Ask: How does God show love and compassion to us every day?

Allow a few responses from students.

Ask: Has anyone ever shown compassion to you when you didn’t feel like you deserved it?

How did that affect you?

Allow a few more responses from students.

When we show compassion and mercy to others, whether we feel like they deserve it or not, we are demonstrating the heart of God.

Compassion isn’t based on what we’ve done, deserve, or even what we need.

If compassion was based on whether or not someone deserved it, God would have never shown compassion to us.

Each of us have disobeyed God’s commands and sinned against Him, but God’s compassion is founded in mercy and love.

So, we should be so full of the same mercy and love that God pours into our lives that it flows into the lives of others.

When we do this, we are following what God tells us in His Word:

John 13:34-35 says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

We show that we are disciples of Jesus when we show love to others.

Ask: When you think about the world around you, how can you demonstrate compassion in how you live?

Is there something that you could do to show compassion?

Allow a few responses from students.

You might want to write down the things the students suggest and consider starting a compassion initiative together as a youth group.

I’m really proud of the ideas you have and the love you have for other people.

Sometimes, when we step out and do something new or out of our comfort zone, it isn’t easy, and sometimes it isn’t even well received.

Just like the compassion God has shown for us, what you do isn’t based on whether or not people appreciate or accept it.

Don’t let the way others respond stop or discourage you from demonstrating compassion.

God sees your heart and He knows the motives behind your actions.

When you show compassion, you are a walking example of God’s love for others, just like Jesus.

And in the end, that’s all that really matters.

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