Clarity in explaining the gospel.
That’s what I wanted as I prepared a lesson for Sparks. I had taught lessons before – hundreds of them – but most of those kids came to class/club with some kind of Bible background. These kids didn’t have that background. To them, God was a curse word, a word they heard their parents use when they were screaming at each other or the kids.
Even the concept of sin was not familiar. Yes, they did things that made their parents angry, but why? No one ever explained the difference between right and wrong.
These kids had the capability of understanding the gospel, but did I have the clarity to teach so that they could understand?
This is something I’ve been working on lately – explaining the gospel in ways that a young child can understand. This is a work in progress that I continue to process …
Think about it …
We say (in flowery Christian clichés): “Christ died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but Christ died in our place so we don’t have to die. We simply need to trust Him as our Savior to be saved from our sins.”
While we’re talking a child is thinking:
What’s a cross?
Why did He die?
He took my punishment? Yay! That’s cool, I don’t ever have to have time out again.
Grandpa died. He believed in God.
What does trust mean?
I am thinking about these questions and I do not to pretend to have the answers, but I am working on developing some answers. Here are some thoughts I’ve had.
- I need to think about my audience. How much do they understand? Where should I begin? How can I adjust to meet the needs of my audience when some know a little and some know a lot?
- I need to explain sin. The definition in our handbooks is a good one – anything that we think, say or do that goes against what God says in His Word. Verses such as Philippians 2:14; Ephesians 4:21; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:9 are good ones to share with kids.
- I need to show visuals of a cross so they know what a cross looks like.
- I need to explain that Christ did die for the things we’ve done in disobedience to Him, but Dad and Mom still have the responsibility of punishing us for things we do every day.
- I need to explain that trusting Christ means that I won’t die spiritually (separation from God), but someday I will die physically. But death on earth means life in heaven.
- I need to explain the meaning of trust. (A classic illustration is that we trust the chair we sit on to hold us up. This is a good, elementary way to explain trust, but we also need to explain that trust in Christ is a lot more than sitting in a chair.)
We have a big responsibility in teaching children. We face that responsibility with prayer and passion.
Part of that responsibility is thinking through what we are saying and to explain the gospel clearly with words that our audience can understand.