The Gospel and Kids

I’ve been thinking for awhile about my friend Sam Luce’s post from a couple of months ago.  Sam was arguing against the stats that we hear that 90% of students walk away from their faith after high school.  His point was that they are not walking away from faith because they never truly had a faith to begin with.  This may be the generation that has been most entertained, had the coolest music, had the most extensive programming, had the greatest technology, had small group relationships – but in the midst of all of that great ministry we have let all of that “stuff” overshadow clear understandings of the gospel.

I think in kids’ world, many of us (myself included) have defaulted to right vs. wrong, how you should act, what a “good” Christian looks like, etc…  No, this is not an indictment on any curriculum… this is a callout to all of us to evaluate how clearly we are spelling out what what a relationship with Jesus truly looks like no matter what curriculum or program or philosophy we adhere to.

See, kids default to what is natural to them.  The natural default for kids (and most grown-ups too) is that trying to do and be good is what makes them good.  If we aren’t clear and consistent and repetitive, lots of kids will leave our ministry believing that they just have to keep trying to be good enough.  They may have heard the plan of salvation (lots of times in fact) and they may have prayed a prayer, but if our teaching is not continually focused on the gospel, kids will go back to their default.

What do kids need to hear over and over?  I feel these are the basics that I want to be talked about all the time in my ministry and in my home:

–  We all sin.

–  Sin separates us from God.

–  We can’t fix that on our own.

–  Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin.

–  He rose again and made a way for us to go to Heaven.

–  We make a choice to follow Him.

This is the message of the Bible.  Do we stop teaching everything else?  Absolutely not.  But everything we teach should be point to the gospel or be a result of the gospel.  We aren’t good to earn our way to heaven.  We are good to bring glory to God and to show our love for Him.  We aren’t better people because we try harder, we are better people only through Jesus’s power and forgiveness.

This week you will see several posts here breaking down how we can all infiltrate our ministry with more of the gospel.

What do you think?  How do we make the gospel a non-negotiable part of our ministries?  Do we need to?  I want to hear your thoughts!


Comments (2)

  • Amen! Amen! and Amen! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t want to disparage any of the morals based curricula either, but my fear in using them (if not couched firmly in the gospel) is that we give kids the impression that you do earn your way back to God. That you can be good enough. That what God wants most is for you to act a certain way. That is, most assuredly, not the Gospel. I think even more dangerously, what we do when we teach morals is teach kids that the Bible is all about them. Our focus, no matter what we are teaching, need to be firmly and unapologetically on Jesus Christ and His Gospel. He has to be, not only at the center of all the we do, but the lense through which we view it. I often share that my view is that the entire Bible either points to Christ, is about Christ, or emanates from Christ. I can’t wait to read the rest of your series. Thanks!

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