What happens when children are given only half the gospel? What happens when they learn about God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy but are never told about the seriousness of sin, God’s holiness, judgment, and hell? What happens when they’re told that God has a wonderful plan for their life, that Jesus loves them, and that’s it…end of story?
One more question. What happens when their daddy dies right before Christmas? Was that God’s wonderful plan for them? Why would Jesus allow that if He loves us? Hmmm.
We don’t come to Jesus to improve our life. We follow Him because we are depraved sinners who have broken God’s laws and deserve to be punished for our sins against Him. There is nothing on our own we can do to be saved. We come to Jesus because He is our only means of rescue from our sin, God’s judgment, wrath, and an eternity in hell. When the effects of sin come (death, disease, tragedy, etc.) children who understand the truth will praise God for His love, grace, provision, and mercy even more. Those who were taught that God was supposed to make their lives better will feel betrayed, lied to, and will likely walk away from a faith that was never genuine to begin with. Doctrine and proper theology matter when it comes to children’s ministry.
Children can handle the truth. Untold damage has been done through the years by those who have attempted to make the gospel of Jesus Christ “kid friendly” and “age-appropriate”. How arrogant to think that we know better than Jesus.
Matthew 18:1-14 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture to illustrate this. Here Jesus calls a child to come and stand “in the midst of them”. With this child by His side, Jesus talks about how it would be better to be killed by drowning than to cause a child to sin. He talks about hell, eternal fire, and how it would be better to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand or foot than to end up there. He never sent this child away to hear an age-appropriate version of His teaching. The child was allowed to simply hear the words of Jesus. We have the opportunity to do the same thing. By teaching kids directly from Scripture we can allow our children to hear the truth directly from the Source.
So what prompted this little rant? It was an email I received this morning and it reminded me why reaching children with the truth is so important. The children who wrote this email shouldn’t have to deal with the issues they are currently dealing with, but they are. It’s because we all live in a fallen world and without Jesus it would be unbearable. Please keep these children and their mother in your prayers and may they remind us why children’s ministry is so imporant. Whether you’re a parent, children’s pastor, or volunteer in your church, we need to make the most out of every opportunity and make sure our children understand the gospel in its entirety.
Why do we need to prepare our children? This is why.
Dear Go Fish Guys,
Our dad unexpectedly passed away recently (November 25th, 2013) because of a brain bleed. He brought us to bed and the next morning my oma was here, because he was in the hospital.
We played your song ‘walk with God’ at his celebration of life while we played pictures of him and us.
I (Joshua) chose this song, because this is how we will go through the years to come.
I (Ian) like your song ‘My God’ and I am praying every day for a new man that can help me and my mom.
Thank you for your music.
Joshua (8), Ian (7), Noah (3) and Elize (1)
Note from my mom:
Thank you all SO much for your music, together with your music and God I try to instill a love for God in them. I pray and hope that they don’t lose their faith because of the journey they have to walk.
As you can see in the above email, we are on our way. My husband and their dad is with Jesus and they don’t feel resentment towards that. They’re sad of course and don’t think it’s fair, but they don’t blame God.
Thank you again, your work is insanely important.
God bless you
The Netherlands (we emigrated here from Canada a year ago, in Canada we got introduced to your music)