Evangelizing to kids can be difficult.
Let’s be honest.
Finding the right illustrations and maintaining the requisite level of attention to be able to convey the truths of the Gospel are things that even the most gifted children’s instructors struggle to accomplish. But over time and with practice, these become second nature. We learn to see the Gospel in the little things we encounter with our kids. A night out bowling is transformed into a lesson on aiming straight at the Lord. A bike ride through a favorite park initiates reflection on the beauty of creation and the reality of our new life in Christ.
But that’s just not enough is it...?
If we are truly to change the entire world for Christ, we must gain access to the hearts of children who we do NOT directly encounter.
And who can do that better than their peers? The kids we encounter must become change agents in their own circles.
This week at Jacob’s Well, we wrapped up our WHO DAT?!! series talking about a not-so-obscure character who happens to be most important of all - Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus?
What did he do for us? Why?
Where did he live?
Most of these questions were answered by the kids with ease. We threw some lesser known facts in for fun...
What language did Jesus speak?
Did he have brothers and sisters?
How old was Jesus when he died?
What are Jesus’ other names? What do they mean?
That last question was one we spent considerable time on. In Bible times, the name given to a person said a lot about who they were. This is why God often changed people’s names when he blessed them or commissioned them to do His work.
In the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, it says this:
"But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins'" (Matthew 1:20-21)
Jesus had come to Earth to save us from our sins. His name represented that. From a number of other verses in scripture, we find that Jesus was also known as Immanuel. This word, Immanuel, means “God with us”. Jesus was truly God incarnate, walking among ordinary people like you and me.
What does this mean to us today?
It means that we have been sent the answer to our problem. The evil in the world that so plagues us daily has been forever overcome, forever defeated, by a God who loves us so much as to send His own son into the battlefield.
Sharing these truths with our youngsters took about 30 minutes. While their knowledge is in no way exhaustive (not that mine is) or permanently ingrained (repetition is key, folks!), it does give them a base for sharing with others.
To help them do so, we introduced something called the Gospel Glove. I am blessed by a newfound friendship wit h another youth worker in Memphis, Lucy Berry, from Downtown Presbyterian who shared this with me.
Working from pinky to thumb, the Gospel Glove helps to explain that “It only takes a little faith (pinky) to have a relationship (ring finger) with a big God (middle finger) who died for our sins (pointer finger) so we can hitch a ride to heaven (thumb).”
|Sophie and Malaysia show off their Gospel Gloves.|
Each child decorated a glove to represent this simple presentation of the Gospel. It has been so fun over the past couple of weeks to see them sharing this with friends and those they encounter in their activities.
Until next week... I'd love for you to ask some of our kids to share this with you. As the old adage says "Practice makes perfect." Then let me know how it goes.