I am writing these posts as much for myself as I am my readers, because I have been thinking about how to explain the gospel to kids for a long time. I work with several children who come to us with no church background and my focus is explaining salvation so they understand. I often struggle to find the right words. That’s one of the reasons I am writing this out in such detail. The other is to maybe give some helpful ideas to those who are in the same situation.
Again, I know that many parents do a great job teaching kids about the Bible – as ministry leaders, we give backup and support. But even kids in solid Christian families need to be taught the basics by their parents. Reminds me of the three-year-old who asked her dad a question. Her dad answered, “You know, like it says in John 3:16.” The mom laughed. “She doesn’t know John 3:16 yet. She’s three.” Yes, even John 3:16 needs to be taught to little kids! We weren’t born knowing it!
The first thing to do is introduce the kids to God. Obviously there are a lot of characteristics of God we could talk about here. (And I will be including the four omni words in the near future.) But our goal here is to explain the gospel, so we will continue talking about specific definitions.
God is Creator. (Most curriculums start with that base.) He made the stars and the trees, the frogs and the bees, the cows and chimpanzee. And God made you and me and everyone else in the room, in our town, and in the world. Because He made us, He is our authority (He is in charge). And because He is the One who made us, He best knows how we should live.
The first verse in the Bible tells us: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) (I think it’s important to always show the kids the verse we’re talking about from the Bible, so they know we aren’t making up the words.)
Whether you’re working with personal kids or kids in your ministry, a creation scavenger hunt can be fun. (Yes, this might be easier with your own kids, but see if there’s some way you can do it with a class.) After all, it’s summer – a good time for taking a walk.
Digital Picture Scavenger Hunt (You can probably find something for most days, but if you live in an area that has no oceans or lakes, you may have trouble with the water pictures. Go ahead and check past vacation pictures or find a picture on the web.)
After you find a picture for each day, have your child make a collage or display them in some other way. As your child works, sing a creation song. If you don’t know one, Youtube.com also has several creation songs you can teach to the kids.
Day One – God created light – vs 1:3 (I’ve heard teachers say, God created darkness and light, but light is the absence of darkness. The darkness was already there. See vs. 2.) This will probably be your most difficult picture to find because finding a pic with just darkness and light and no sun, moon, plants, etc. might be a challenge!
Day Two – God separated the sky and water. (vs. 6) A good way to explain this is that He made the air for us to breathe.
Day Three – God gathered the water so that dry land appeared. (vs.10, 11) God also created plants and trees.
Day Four – God created lights in the sky to separate the day and night and to serve as signs to mark the seasons. (vs. 14)
Day five – God created birds and creatures of the sea. (vs. 20)
Day 6 – God created animals and people. (vs. 24-26)
Day seven – God rested.(2:2)
Emphasize to your kids that God is all-powerful Creator.
He can do no wrong. He is perfect.
He created us, therefore He best knows how we should live. (That’s why listening to and obeying His Word, the Bible, is so important.)
Have fun with the scavenger hunt and teach your kids at the same time!