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Insider – Outsider

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the theme of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in our community.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children to imagine a picture of a friendly school. What would they see there? How would it feel to be there?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Focus on the feelings of being an insider – the feeling of belonging.

  2. Now ask the children to imagine a picture of an unfriendly school. What would they see there? How would it feel to be there?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Focus on the feelings of being an outsider – the feeling of isolation.

  3. Show the image of the snowy scene.

    Point out that it can feel very lonely when everyone else is playing with their friends, but you have nobody to play with. Some people say that if you dont have friends, its like being out in the cold. What do you think they might mean by this?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. In the Bible, there is a story about someone called Zacchaeus who felt like an outsider. Because of his actions, nobody liked him and he had no friends. Then, one day, his life changed completely.

    Tell the story of Zacchaeus in your own words, read the story from Luke 19.1-10 or use the script below.

    The story of Zacchaeus

    Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. His job as a tax collector made him very rich, but it also made him very unpopular, because he would often cheat people and take their money.

    Zacchaeus was a very small man. People were always looking down on him, partly because they disliked him so much, but also because he was so small! He had no friends. Nobody wanted to go near him or have anything to do with him. He was an outsider.

    One day, Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to his town. He wanted to see him, but Jesus was so popular that Zacchaeus knew that there would be crowds of people filling the streets. Zacchaeus looked at the crowds of people. He knew there was no way that he would be able to see over their heads. He had no chance at all of seeing Jesus.

    Show the image of the large tree.

    Suddenly, Zacchaeus had an idea. He ran ahead of the crowds and climbed a tree so that he would be able to get a better view of Jesus. Jesus walked underneath the tree and, to Zacchaeus amazement, stopped right beneath him! To Zacchaeus’ surprise, Jesus looked up and spoke to him. Zacchaeus could not believe it - for the first time in his life, someone was looking up to him!

    Jesus had an even bigger surprise for Zacchaeus. He asked Zacchaeus if he could come to stay at his house. Zacchaeus was delighted and quickly climbed down the tree and welcomed Jesus into his home.

    The people around Jesus were shocked and began to grumble, Why is Jesus going to his house and not my house? However, meeting Jesus made a big difference to Zacchaeus. He realized that he had done many wrong things, so he gave away his money to people who were poor and he gave back money to all the people from whom he had taken it.

    Zacchaeus realized why he had no friends and now he was free to become part of his community again. Even though Zacchaeus was still a small man, people could now look up to him.

Time for reflection

Ask the following questions, giving time to listen to a range of responses.

- Which part of this story do you like best?
- Which part of this story do you think is most important?
- How do you think Zacchaeus felt when people looked down on him?
- How do you think Zacchaeus felt when Jesus looked up to him?
- Why do you think Jesus decided to stay at Zacchaeus house 
rather than with someone more popular?
- What does the story teach us today?

Show the image of the Welcome banner.

Ask the children if they are people who make everyone feel welcome and wanted.

Dear God,
Thank you that you are always there to welcome us.
Please help us to make our school a place of welcome.
When we see people feeling isolated and lonely, help us to make them feel part of our groups.


‘The prayer of St Francis (Make me a channel of your peace) (Come and Praise, 147)

Publication date: October 2016   (Vol.18 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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