Reaching Out: Our Call To Minister: Session 1: Called to Care
By the end of this session the students should be able to:
- define ministry as caring, helping, or showing loving concern to a person as Christ would
- explain that when we are ministering to people in need we are ministering to Christ.
- list the groups in Matthew 25: 41-46 to whom Jesus instructs us to minister [hungry/thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and imprisoned].
- identify people in their own lives who need the assistance or ministry of others
- discuss the importance of prayer when servicing others.
Useful scriptural texts
- Matthew 25: 31-46
- Fr Sergei Glagolev's article 'To Serve' [Resource Handbook Volume 1, Theology of Lay Ministries]
- poster board
- butcher block paper or other large paper that can be used for posters
- phone books
- copies of 'I Was Hungry' poem [See Resource 1]
Notes to the leader:
Along with the scriptural texts listed above, take the time to read through Fr Sergei Glagolev's article 'To Serve.' It provides a solid foundation for this session in easy-to-understand language.
10 minutes. Ask students to give the first word that comes to mind when you say the word 'needy.' List their responses on a clearly visible surface [poster board, white board, chalk board, butcher paper, etc]. Discuss why the think they had this kind of reaction. Now ask students to give the first words that come to mind when you say 'to love' and 'to minister.' [Draw their attention to the fact that when love is used as a verb it requires a certain amount of action.] Discuss the difference between needing and wanting something.
15 minutes. Start off by saying 'Jesus Christ gives us a very important set of commands in the Gospel of Saint Matthew having to do with serving others' [Matthew 25:31-40]. Read or have someone read these verses. Ask the students what they think the commands are. Direct students to the following: the commands aren't negative [do's instead of don'ts]. Christ promises the Kingdom of God to those who follow them. THey are definitely commands, not suggestions.
Hand out the 'I Was Hungry' poem. Read the poem aloud and discuss the following questions:
- In the poem, what did the person need? What actions were taken to 'help' the person?
- How did the person respond? Why do you think they responded that way?
- What, if anything, was wrong with the actions that were taken?
- What other things could have been done that might have been more appropriate?
- What do you think is the relationship between praying for someone and doing something for someone?
Have someone read Matthew 25:41-46. What does Christ say will happen to those who do not follow these commands? [The will go to the place of eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.] Why do you think He says that? [Since He Loves us and does everything for us, we are supposed to love and help each other.] What's wrong with not following these commands? [If you are not helping people you are not loving them and are not loving God.'] Look again at Matthew 25:35-36. 'Who are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, the needy in our area?' Get as many responses as possible and record them on a poster board or butcher paper. [Review Resource 2 for ideas.]
10-15 minutes. Tell everyone to sit by themselves and write down one time in their life they felt someone had ministered to them when they were in need, or one time they ministered to someone who was in need. What did it feel like? Were you/they grateful? Angry? What did you/they do in return? As for volunteers to share their experiences.
20 minutes. Split into groups and hand-out are phone books to each group [white pages to some groups and yellow pages to others]. Have students refer to the 'Customer Guide' under the section 'Community Services' in the white pages and the section 'Social and Human Services' in the yellow pages. Instruct them to list all the people in need and the services that are available in their area. Regroup and find out who had the longest list. [Who has more than ten, twenty, twenty-five? etc]. Have them read their list while others mark the ones that corresponded to their own list. After the list is read, ask for any other ideas that the first group missed. Record all responses on a large poster board and display on a wall for references during future sessions.
Who are some people you personally know that need to be ministered to? In what way do they need to be ministered to?
In order to show God we love Him, we have to love the other people He created. That means we have to minister to people who need help, including ourselves. TO minister to someone means to take care of, help, or show loving concern to a person as Christ would. It also means to see Christ in the pole we help. THought not all of us are ordained, we are all called to minister to one another.
Create a directory of local community services that help the need in students' home, school, and church communities. Include the name of the service agency, its address's, phone umber, and people to whom it ministers. Check newspapers, neighborhood bulletin boards, phone books, etc, to find out what types of things people are doing in their communities to help the needy. At the beginning of each subsequent session report new findings and update the group's list. At the end of the unit, format the list into a booklet. Give one copy to the parish priest and put one copy in the parish library.