Today we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Sam Luce, one of our favorite children’s ministry bloggers.
I love what Phil and his team are doing to raise the Biblical literacy of our kids and even us as adults in the process. How little we as adults know about the Bible and how little our kids know is a problem in our country. This is a huge problem, not because we want our kids to be able to defend their faith against little atheist kids, but because if kids don’t understand the Bible they won’t ever see Jesus in the Bible. They won’t be able to see the Redemptive story woven throughout Bible.
As parents and fellow kidmins we need to talk about Jesus and what he did all the time but especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons – both afford us an amazing opportunity to explain the Gospel in ways kids can not only understand but they can embrace.
One of the big mistakes we often make when teaching kids is that we settle for a moral lesson rather than use the cross to explain our motivation for Biblical morality. When we teach our kids that Christians look and act like something based on a set of rules or on things we don’t do, we set them up to be disillusioned with their faith, then we wonder why they walk away in college.
When we take every lesson we teach all year long and place it through the grid of what Christ has done for us, we serve God out of gratitude for what He has done for us. Growing up I always thought I had to do certain things to be “pleasing” in God’s eyes. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned what the Gospel message really was. That because of what Christ has done for me I can live in freedom and thankfulness.
How does this look when teaching a lesson to kids? Take the classic story of David and Goliath: by all means, tell your kids how David obeyed his Dad, how he was brave and how he stood up against a giant no one stood up against. Don’t stop there and say “so kids because of David, you can be brave.” If you leave it there, what are you going to tell your kids when they stand up to that bully that plagues their playground and instead of being the hero they get a black eye and three days suspension from school? Religion says try harder next time. The gospel says trust deeper next time. Explain to them that there is a leader, a hero, greater than David who would come into the world. He would do something that none of us could or would ever do: He destroyed the giants of sin and death. Because of what Jesus did, we can live free from sin and not afraid of death. We can live each day thankful for what Jesus has done, not confused, frustrated and overwhelmed by all the things we have to do to be “pleasing” to God.
So parents, pastors, and kidmin workers: tell kids the greatest story ever told. Tell them they are all sinners in need of a savior. When you come to the application portion, don’t end your lesson with “try harder, be better,” end with Jesus our Savior. Don’t tell kids stories of all your victories and accomplishments, tell them that you are a sinner in need of God’s help just like them.
Never let your kids ever forget the power and the mystery of the Gospel.
Sam Luce has been the children’s pastor at the same church for 14 years where he currently serves as a Campus and Families Pastor, he also serves on the board of INCM and is currently a contributing editor to K! magazine, has been involved in several book projects and has been blogging since 2007. Sam’s real passion lies in building and strengthening the local church in any way possible because he believes in creating environments where life change can take place. He truly believes that the local church is the hope of the world. Sam has been married to his beautiful wife for 13 years. They live in Upstate New York with their three beautiful children ages seven, four, and two. You can catch up with @samluce on Twitter and his blog samluce.com