A Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes
Anything written in italics is for your information and need not be read aloud.
While some young people know what they believe, they don’t always know why they believe it.


Needed: First Impressions handouts, 26 index cards, pre-written index cards, pens

Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:46-47, John 4:7-9, Acts 10:34-35

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit
Needed: Bible
SAY: Today we’re going to start out with a little crowd participation on our way to getting closer to God. We’re all friends here. Take off your shoes, and pass them to the person on your right. Everyone should attempt to put on the shoes that were handed to them, stand and walk around for a few steps. For some this may be simple, but for others it will be very difficult. So, if you’ll stretch out or otherwise damage the shoes, you should not put them on stand and walk around the room!

After a couple of minutes, gather everyone back together and have the shoes returned but gather the smallest pair in the room for a few more minutes.

• Why was it easy or difficult for you to walk in someone else’s shoes?
• Have you ever had to wear a pair of shoes that were too big or too tight? What happened?

Hold up the smallest shoes you gathered earlier.

• If I had to walk a mile in these shoes, what do you think would happen to my feet?

Have a youth get a Bible and Read aloud Matthew 7:1-2; Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

SAY: When we’re tempted to judge someone, we must remind ourselves that we lack facts and usually don’t know the whole story or the perspectives of the people involved. We must also “wear the other person’s shoes” to consider how they’d feel to be judged. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we do judge others, we’ll be judged in the same way. So if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it!

First Impressions
Needed: First Impressions handout with the following questions:
1. What’s your partner’s middle name?
2. What’s your partner’s grandmother’s first name?
3. How many people live in your partner’s house?
4. What’s your partner’s favorite Saturday-morning activity?
5. What’s your partner’s shoe size?
6. What’s your partner’s favorite dessert?
7. What’s your partner’s least favorite household chore?
8. How many fillings does your partner have in his or her teeth?

Form pairs and then give each couple a copy of the “First Impressions” handout face down.

SAY: When I tell you to begin, you and your partner will need to fill out the form in front of you. You’ll need to save room for both of your answers on the one sheet and work out how that will be done. Ready, begin!

Give pairs thirty seconds for both partners to find answers to all the questions. When time is up, call “TIME!” and collect all the papers.

SAY: (Use mock-surprise) Hey, did you all forget to fill these out or what? So many spaces are blank!

• Why didn’t you finish your assignment?

SAY: Sociologists say that our first impression of someone takes less than thirty seconds to formulate and lasts a long, long time. But look—it’s difficult to find out even the simplest facts about one other person in thirty seconds.

• Have you ever had a first impression of someone that changed a lot after you got to know that person? Explain.
• How would you feel if people decided to hate you or love you based on their first thirty-second impression of you?

SAY: The Souper Bowl of caring is all about helping others without us even knowing what view point the ones we will help hold. We won’t even get a chance to have a first impression of any of them. God simply asks us to love Him and love others.

Team Tolerance
Needed: 26 index cards, pre-written index cards, pens
Before the activity, Kris has prepared five to ten index cards with a wide range of opinions on the word “tolerance” (including negative ones). For example, “I don’t tolerate people because I’m afraid they won’t tolerate me,” “It is important to tolerate all viewpoints on all issues—in essence, to believe that everybody’s right,” and “I find it very easy to tolerate others no matter what they do.”

Give each youth two blank index cards and a pen.

SAY: Write down two different opinions about the word “tolerance” on your cards. Your opinions can be negative or positive and specific or general. For example, write “I don’t tolerate people because I’m afraid they won’t tolerate me,” or “It is important to tolerate all viewpoints on all issues”

After about five minutes, collect the cards and mix them with your pre-written cards. Randomly distribute two cards to each person. Spread the leftover cards on a table/central area with the opinion sides facing up.

SAY: Study the opinions on the cards, and then arrange them in order of personal agreement -one will be better than the other. You may exchange any of the cards in your hands that you don’t agree with for cards in the center.

Allow an additional five minutes for this exchange.

SAY: Form teams of three. The goal for each team is to discard all of the team’s cards except for the three that you feel best describes your team’s collective opinion about tolerance.

Give teams five to ten minutes to discuss and discard.

• What did you first think about your concept of tolerance? Ya know, when you were by yourself.
• Did your teammates feel the same as you or differently? Explain.
• Why are there so many different opinions on what tolerance is and how one can be tolerant?
• How was working with your teams an act of tolerance or intolerance?

SAY: How do you draw the line between standing up for what you believe and being tolerant of others opposing views? Does being tolerant mean you’re less committed to your own beliefs? Does believing firmly in an absolute truth make you a non-inclusive person? What will bring you closer to God?

Right now, as youth, we’re exploring the edges of our beliefs, stumbling over doubts, and finding that issues are much more complex than we ever expected. While some young people know what they believe, they don’t always know why they believe it. This unstable viewpoint can not only be confusing, it can cause us to follow one of two paths:

1. We embrace extreme tolerance, conceding that since we can’t possibly know all truth, we conclude that all viewpoints have some validity. As a result, we allow our beliefs to weaken.

Or, 2. We embrace extreme intolerance, grasping the portion of our beliefs we think we understand, and dismiss all other viewpoints that don’t adhere to our personal belief system.

Both are dangerous stances to take for Christians, especially teenage Christians. The Bible preaches tolerance as an attitude of patience toward differing views. But, scriptures also command intolerance of false teaching. We must be willing to dig deeply into God’s Word to develop a humble attitude of Inclusiveness that surly will allow us to grow closer to God.

Decide if you want to read the prayer of have a youth do it.

PRAYER: Dear Lord and Wonderful Creator of All, we who are divided, unloving, prejudiced at times, prone to misunderstanding, and intolerant stand before you this day. We ask that you give us the wisdom to make us instead united, loving, open to learning, understanding ,forgiving, and tolerant. Help us to love others as we love You – sight unseen. May your Spirit be present in us, as You are in all people.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

If you still have time here’s a little bit “more”

“Rags and Brags”. Each youth should take turns sharing a good thing that happened in the last few days and a bad thing in the same time frame.