Book Review: Show Them Jesus

“Everyday is Gospel Day” I recently came across the book Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower. The subtitle is Teaching the Gospel to Kids. I love learning new techniques for teaching kids, so I was pretty intrigued. Jack’s basic premise is that every message and every lesson has to connect kids to Jesus. It sounds pretty basic and it’s certainly a goal of every children’s pastor that I’ve met, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. As I started reading, I found myself thinking, “Yes, I want my kids to know about Jesus. I teach them about Jesus.” But as I continued on, I realized that I’ve been guilty of teaching moral and behavioral lessons more often than I thought. Jack shares many personal stories, both good and bad, from his years of teaching in children’s and pre-teen ministry. One of my favorites was from chapter 3 entitled: The “Gospel Day” Trap. He tells of a time of a snowy Sunday morning that kept many of the families from attending church. One of the co-teachers of the ministry was experiencing a crisis. Only one child had shown up and it was the day she had prepared to share the Gospel. Now she didn’t know what to do. How could she share the Gospel with only one child when she had planned on having an entire class full? He explains that “the gospel-day trap happens when we think of the good news as very important-critical to salvation!-but as something that only some kids need to hear some of the time.” Have you ever found yourself with the pressure of...

Empowering Families to Share the Gospel

I talk to lots and lots of parents every weekend.  And at my home church (Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL), we’ve found that the more parents we talk to, the more people we find who are lost in their parenting.  They question their decisions, they don’t know how to share the Gospel, and they wonder if they are making wise choices.  By far, the parents I interact with have a heart to reach their kids for Christ and they work very hard.  However, the longer I spend in ministry I have found that many, many parents work to reach their kids for Christ without having made a decision for Christ themselves. Two weeks ago we did a baptism weekend.  It was incredible!  We baptized over 100 people at our main campus and we had the largest group of 4th and 5th graders baptized ever.  When we held the baptism class, we found that parents would march their kids to the class and have them fill out a testimony, only to find that it was pretty clear that neither the parents or the child had ever made a real decision to follow Christ.  At Christ Community baptism has become an evangelistic tool for families.  The same thing happens when we do child dedication.  We are pretty intent on making sure that the parents who dedicate their children to serving God have a strong and growing faith in Christ.  Many times, parents come to faith through this process.  It’s important to be intentional when it comes to the Gospel. How are you doing with sharing the Gospel and empowering...

The Gospel in 50 Words

I’m always trying to find ways to make the story of Easter creative and fresh for the kids who have tuned it out. It’s sad how repeated truth loses its value to the hearer (is that how trite sayings are born?).  This year I was challenged to see if I could write a mini-saga.  A mini-saga is a 50-word story.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the Six Word Memoirs, a web and print sensation where people see if they can write their life story in only 6 words.  It was Ernest Hemingway who set the precedent, writing a classically sad story (not a memoir), “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Clearly, I am not Ernest Hemingway. (Six words for those of you keeping score on Twitter).  I thought it would be fun to collect 50-word mini-sagas of the Gospel.  We’re going to take these mini-sagas and share them with our 2nd-5th graders this Easter.  I’m praying that hearing the whole story in exactly 50 words from different people will bring the story alive in a way many kids have never heard before.  I’m praying that the stories submitted will impact the kids on the margins. I asked lots and lots of people to contribute, a few helped out.  I’ll post what I have so far and invite you to join the discussion. God loves you.  God hates sin.  Everyone sins.  God sent his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins.  It’s a free gift.  You need to say, “Jesus, I’m sorry for my sin. Thank you for dying on the cross for me.  My life belongs to you.” Would...