Did you ever think of the kids in your ministry as an unreached people group?
That’s exactly whom many of them are.
Children come into the world knowing nothing about God or His Word. Children of believing parents who attend church regularly, begin to hear the words of the Bible from the time they are little. But children whose parents don’t attend church, often hear the word “God” only as a swear word. God is no different from any other word in their minds.
They walk into our ministries.
And we have the overwhelming responsibility of teaching them.
Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t think about the lack of knowledge in our audience.
Even when our explanation is correct, the words and concepts we use might as well be written in the original Greek considering how much the kids understand them.
Think about this presentation of the gospel to a child who has never, ever heard God’s Word.
We’ve all sinned. (What’s that?)
So we need a Savior. (Who’s that?)
God (Who is God?)
Sent His Son (???)
To earth (From where?)
To die for our sins so we don’t have to die. (Seriously? I don’t have to die? That’s cool.)
He took the punishment (Yuck, I don’t like punishment) for our sins so we don’t have to be punished! (Again, cool! I won’t ever be punished again?)
You will be forgiven. (What’s that and for what?)
You will then have eternal life (And that means?)
In heaven. You want to go to heaven, don’t you? (Tonight?)
Or – You will go to heaven when you die. (I thought you just said I wouldn’t die.)
These might seem absurd, but a five-year-old has no context to support what we’re saying.
We need to choose our words carefully and think about what we’re saying.
Can it be misinterpreted? Are we clear in our explanations? What are they hearing?
In a sense, we are Bible translators for the kids in our lives.
We need to:
- Start with basic words and concepts, teaching them in a kid-friendly way. (This doesn’t mean we can’t teach them the big words, but our definitions need to be understandable.)
- Ask kids to explain the words/concepts to you. We can teach definitions, but we need to know that they’re getting it!
- Explain customs and culture. The Israelites could not stop their trek through the wilderness to eat at the local McDonalds or stay in a comfy hotel. (Yes, YOU know that, but do the kids?) Joseph and Mary had to walk to Bethlehem (or maybe they had a donkey, we don’t know). Peter fished in the Sea of Galilee … Peter died a long time ago, but the Sea of Galilee is still there! (Letting kids know those places are still there is important too!) The people in Bible times were people just like us. Sometimes they were angry, sometimes sad, sometimes they celebrated, and, like us, they regularly met together to learn about God.
For the next few weeks, the blog will focus on how to teach some of the basic concepts of the gospel.
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