Neighbours in the news


Give out the newspaper, scissors, glue sticks and paper. Encourage the group to find examples of people not loving those around them. This could be reports of wars and conflicts, arguments or disputes between neighbours, fights or riots. Once they have they have found some stories, the young people should cut them out and stick them all on a piece of paper.

After a few minutes, gather the group back together and compare the stories found. What caused people to act in the way they did? What could have happened differently, if people had tried to love those they were in conflict with?

Key point 1

A lot of conflicts start out with a small misunderstanding or miscommunication. Others go back decades, even centuries.

Re-enacted story

10 mins

Explain to your group that you’re going to tell them a story from the Bible and that it takes place on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Explain that this road was very hot, windy and dangerous. Encourage the group to create a road from one side of your space to the other. You could do this using whatever furniture there is (tables, chairs etc). If you don’t have much furniture, then create the road using two rows of young people.

Start to tell the story, including the conversation between the teacher of the law and Jesus. As you tell the parable itself, ask for volunteers to play the various roles: the man; the robbers; the priest; the Levite and the man from Samaria (don’t forget to mention that people from Jerusalem and Samaria hated each other). Encourage your volunteers to act out the story as you go (though you might need to rein in your robbers…!).

Once you have finished, ask the group to use their imagination to answer these questions (you can do this still standing in your story area):

  • What do you think was going through the man’s head as he was travelling on the road?
  • Why did the priest walk past the man without helping?
  • What did the Levite think when he saw the man lying injured on the ground?
  • What caused the Samaritan to help the man?
  • Do you think the man was happy to be helped by someone from Samaria?
  • What did the teacher of the law think about Jesus’ story?
  • If you were in the crowd listening to Jesus, what would you have thought?

Accept all the answers the young people offer, and encourage them to discuss some of the suggestions. What conclusions do your group come to? Ask: how radical is Jesus’ story?

Key point 2

The conflict between Jews and Samaritans goes back centuries, to the break-up of the kingdom of Israel after the death of King Solomon. That it was a Samaritan who helped the man, not a Jew, would have been shocking for Jesus’ audience.

Love your neighbour

5 mins

Give out Bibles and ask the young people to find Matthew 5:43-48. Read the passage and together, try to draw out some similarities between Jesus’ parable and what he is teaching here. Ask the group to reflect on verse 44. How easy is it to love and pray for those who ill-treat you? Think a bit about how society would view someone who helped their enemies? Would they be seen as heroes? Or doormats?

Who are our neighbours?

10 mins

Spread out your map of the local area/town/city. Ask the young people to find their homes on the map and then think about their own neighbourhood. Who lives there? Do their friends live near them? Are there people who have caused trouble living nearby? Who would be the ‘Samaritans’ in their neighbourhood?

Ask the group to think about these questions and what Jesus is calling them to do and be in their own neighbourhood. Give out the pens / pencils and paper. Ask the group to write or draw how they might act differently or what they might do in response to Jesus’ words. Share your ideas and resolve to do something practical to love those who we don’t like or who don’t like us. Make sure it’s safe and achievable, but that it will make a difference.

Ask: If everyone in society followed Jesus’ teaching, how would that affect the way we all live together?


10 mins

Spend some time praying for those people who might be our ‘enemies’, and asking God to help us with our practical responses to the story. Give out the post-it notes, and ask the young people to jot down their prayers, one prayer per post-it. Stick these on a large sheet paper and come back to them next time you meet. How has God helped you to love your neighbour?