I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is the Leader’s Kit for The Gospel Project for Kids: A Kingdom Established, plus an additional resource for your kids ministry. The Gospel Project for Kids is a Christ-centered Bible study resource that looks at the big picture of God’s story—the story of redemption through Jesus Christ. Each week, kids of all ages follow a chronological timeline of Bible events, all the while learning how each story points to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Our Gospel Project team helped with this blog post.)
Kids ministry can be filled with awkward moments: There are the jokes that only make sense to six year olds. Or when a hand is raised after you ask a question, but it’s a request to use the “potty.” And then there’s the awkward moment when you realize you’re teaching a challenging text like 2 Samuel 11:1–12:14. David spending time with another man’s wife, then murdering him to cover up what he’d done? That’s heavy stuff to talk about with adults, never mind children. And let’s be honest: it’s tempting to skip passages and stories in the Bible when teaching kids. But we shouldn’t. After all, kids ministry is first and foremost discipleship ministry. And because it is discipleship ministry, we need to lean into the tension and teach the harder parts of the Bible. Here are three reasons why it’s beneficial:
1. We teach harder texts because God has given them to us for our good—regardless of our age.
Without question, we need use tact and wisdom when teaching kids a story like the one about David’s sin. Depending on the age group we serve, we may need to speak very generally about its content. Even so, we must always remember that God has given us the whole Bible for our good. All Scripture is “profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)—even passages that are challenging to teach.
2. We teach harder texts because they help kids see how God pursues His people.
David’s sin was tragic. Apart from Jesus, David was the best king Israel would ever have—the one called a man after God’s own heart. But even he was just a human being. He was still a sinner, just like us. He was tempted to violate God’s commands, and he did. But God pursued David in his sin, not for judgment, but for repentance and forgiveness. He sent the prophet Nathan to David to help him see how he had sinned against Uriah, and ultimately against God. And God does the same for all of us today. He gives us stories like these to help us all see how we have sinned against God and how He pursues us in the midst of our sin.
3. We teach harder texts because children need the hope of the gospel.
The story of David’s sin is good news for us, because it reminds us of the hope we all have in the gospel. David’s sin deserved death, but David’s life was spared, though he still experienced the consequences of his sin throughout the remainder of his life. In the same way, our sin deserves punishment, no matter how young or old we are. But we receive God’s forgiveness, just as David did, because God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sin. He died the death that we deserve so that we can be made right with God. This is the message every one of us needs.
Discipling children is a tremendous responsibility. But it is also an opportunity, especially as we lean into the harder texts of the Bible. Through studying the whole story of the Bible, we get to show children how God has worked throughout history. We can show them how He pursues His people with discipline and forgiveness. And we can show them that although sin always has a price, Jesus has paid that price for us.
Register to win the Leader’s kit for The Gospel Project for Kids: A Kingdom Established (with worship) and one case of The Big Picture Interactive Bible for your Kids Ministry here or in the form below before 11:59pm on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
You can also purchase a copy of The Gospel Project for Kids: A Kingdom Established, and The Big Picture Interactive Bible at LifeWay.com.