Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about God

When I share the gospel, I always start with God.

Kids need to know that God is. God is real, God is amazing, God is eternal and holy and righteous. God created them and loves them.

I struggle with focus when I share with kids about God. There is so much to tell them! There are so many things to share about how awesome God is that I am tempted to spend all my time talking about the greatness of God. But it is important to focus. When sharing the gospel, there are attributes of God that it is key children understand – God is eternal; God is Holy; God is righteous; and God is our Creator King.

God is Eternal

Eternal means that God has no beginning and no ending. God was never born and God will never die; God has always been and will always be. God is forever.

God has always lived – before you were born, before your parents were born, before the universe was created.

God will always be – think about the future; think about heaven that will be even millions of years from now.

No matter how far back you go or how far forward, God is there because God is eternal.

“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

Illustration: Show a circle (a hula hoop is a good example, if it’s new!) Ask the kids to show you the beginning. Ask them to show you the end of the hula hoop. “There is no beginning or end because it is a circle. It goes on and on and on and on and on. That is a little like what it means that God is eternal – He is forever. God has no beginning and no ending.”

God is holy

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” Revelation 4:8a

Holy means 2 things:

1. God is totally unique

There is no one else in the entire world like God. No one else even comes close to being like God. He is special. God is different from everything else. He is separate; He is one-of-a-kind.

“How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 2 Samuel 7:22

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.”           Isaiah 46:9b

2. God is absolutely pure

He is 100% good. He has never done anything wrong, ever and He never will. There is no evil in Him at all. He is completely separate from all that is wrong or impure or sinful. He can’t even stand sin to be anywhere near Him, He is so good. God cannot stand sin; He hates it. God is perfect in every way.

“He is the Rock. His works are perfect. All of his ways are right. He is faithful. He doesn’t do anything wrong. He is honest and fair.” Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIrV)

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”                   Habakkuk 1:13a

Illustration: “Think of a treasure like a diamond. Diamonds that are very valuable have no defects; there are no bad spots; nothing is wrong with them; they are pure.” (Show a diamond – I have found large pretend diamonds at dollar stores.) “That is a little like what it means that God is pure. There is absolutely no sin – God is 100% good.”

God is righteous

Everything He thinks, says, and does is right.

Everything God thinks is right (point to your head); everything God says is right (point to your mouth); and everything God does is right (point out) (when you say’ right’, give a thumbs up.)

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”         Psalm 33:4

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.”       Psalm 145:17

Illustration: Hold up a card that says, “2 + 2 =” Say, “Let’s pretend that this is a question on a test. There is a right answer and there is a wrong answer. If I answered ‘5’ would I be right or wrong? The right answer is 4. There is right and there is wrong. God is always right. God is righteous. Everything He thinks, says, and does is right!”

God is our Creator King

God is the creator of everything. He made everything by Himself.

God made you and God made me. The Bible says that we are created in the image of God. That means we were made to be like Him in certain ways. God has given us minds so that we can learn about Him and hearts so that we can love Him. God created us so we can have a special relationship with Him.

Because God made everything, everything belongs to Him. He is the boss. He is in charge. God is the King of His creation.

As King, God gets to make the rules. God is righteous, so His rules are right. God is good, so His rules are good.

God made us; He is our King. We need to obey Him.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“I am the Lord. I have made everything. I alone spread out the heavens. I formed the earth by myself. Isaiah 44:24 (NIrV)

Illustration: Use Lego and create something. Tell the kids, “Look what I made. I created it. I used Lego to make this ____. The Bible tells us that God made everything. What are some of the things that God has made?” Let the children answer. “I made this ____ so it’s mine. It belongs to me. God made the world and everything in it, so it belongs to God. God created you and me, we belong to God, God is our King.”

 

In the next post, this series continues with talking about sin.

Check out the other blogposts in this series!

Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Introduction

Over the next few posts I want to talk about sharing the gospel with kids. This is a hugely important part of children’s ministry.

For the past 5 years I have told the story at our VBS. I love it! I love engaging and interacting with kids. I love sharing the gospel with kids.

Each year as I prepare to share the gospel I am struck by the weight of my responsibility. It is my responsibility to share the gospel truthfully, accurately, and in a way that kids will understand. I am humbled every year that I get the privilege of sharing this great truth with the kids of my community.

I am also reminded of what isn’t my responsibility. I am not the one who saves children – God does that! God softens hearts and draws kids to Himself. My job is to share the truth of the gospel and then let God transform lives!

So, in this series I will break down the gospel message and share with you how I have explained difficult concepts to kids. I will also be sharing some fabulous resources to use in helping kids to understand the gospel.

Come back soon!

Check out the other blogposts in this series!

Growing up to be like Jesus

I was outside today doing some gardening. While I was weeding and checking on the growth of my favorite plants I started to think about how we as Christ-followers are to grow to be more and more like Jesus.

We can’t make the children we work with be more like Jesus – that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We can, however, pray for our kids.

We can pray that they will come to know and love Jesus. We can pray that they will choose to follow Jesus. We can pray that they will live for Jesus everyday and that they will grow to be more and more like Him! Pray that they will grow in their knowledge and depth of understanding. Pray that they will recognize truth and not be deceived. Pray that they will make choices that are pleasing to God. Pray for them to want to be like Jesus.

Jesus called us to make disciples. The Holy Spirit transforms lives and does that great work of growing us up to more like Jesus. So pray for the kids in your church.

Ephesians 4: 14-15 says “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hot Seat

As a bonus to the series I have written on classroom discipline, here is a fun class motivation technique that I have used to encourage appropriate behavior in the classroom. It’s called “The Hot Seat.”

The Hot Seat works in elementary classes and is great as a way of encouraging the kids to motivate each other to behave and participate in class.
Essentially, the teacher will choose one seat before class begins. That is now the hot seat. The teacher does not reveal the location of the hot seat until the end of class. The child sitting in the hot seat will get to choose a prize from the hot seat bag if they have participated, been respectful, and obeyed the class rules.

To prepare, the teacher needs to find a medium size gift bag and fill it with small prizes – pencils, erasers, candy, stickers, small notepads, etc. Print out and laminate the Hot Seat poster.

This technique works to encourage an entire class to participate and behave because they never know if they are sitting on the hot seat. In order to be fair, the hot seat needs to change every week and the teacher needs to resist the urge to give every student the opportunity to win.
This situation arose in one of my classrooms. The teacher was more focused on being fair and making sure every student had an opportunity to win a prize from the hot seat bag than on encouraging appropriate behavior from the kids in his class. He ended up keeping a list of who had won the hot seat prize in the past and choosing the hot seat based on where kids ended up sitting. The students in the class figured it out. The ones who had already won a hot seat prize realized that they no longer had any motivation to follow the rules since they wouldn’t be on the hot seat.
This technique works as a motivation because it is random – every week each student could be sitting on the hot seat. Kids like the thrill of waiting to see if they could be the hot seat winners.

Creating Classroom Rules

Continuing the series on discipleship & classroom discipline, this post is about creating classroom rules.

With expectations and consequences defined, it is time for each teacher to create some rules specific to their own classroom. Rather than having one set of rules for the entire Sunday School, set specific rules for each classroom. This allows for age-appropriateness and the chance to revisit the rules each year with each new class.

For example, the rules for a preschool class will look very different from the rules for an older elementary class. My husband and I have taught Sunday School for many years. I teach in a preschool class and he teaches in a Gr. 4-6 class. Here are our classroom rules from last year:

Preschool Class Rules (Ages 4&5)
In our class we:

  • Listen to our teachers and obey them
  • Treat each other kindly
  • Raise our hands if we have a question
  • Do all activities together

Grades 4-6 Class Rules

  • Put up your hand to ask questions
  • Participate and have fun
  • No asking “When are we playing games?”
  • Use the bathroom during activities; no bathroom breaks allowed during lesson

Here are some guidelines for creating classroom rules:

For Preschool Classes (ages 2-5)

  • Teachers should decide on the classroom rules before the first class of the year.
  • For 2 &3 year olds use no more than 3 rules and for 4&5 year olds use no more than 4 rules
  • Rules should be stated in a positive manner. In other words, tell the kids what you want them to do. (ex. Treat each other kindly instead of No hitting.)
  • Create a classroom rules poster and use pictures to demonstrate the rules. Children this age can’t read but they can understand a picture. The picture is a memory aid for them to remember the rule.
  • Put the poster up in the classroom and go over the rules every week in class. After a few weeks, the children will be able to say the rules when the teacher points at the appropriate picture.
  • Here are some examples of how to show classroom rules in pictures:
    • Obey your teachers – use a picture of an adult or an adult with a group of preschool age children
    • Treat each other kindly – use a picture of 2 children holding hands or children playing together
  • As well as going over the rules every week, the teacher should also remind the children of the consequences of breaking the rules. Children this age feel safe when they know their boundaries and when they know the routine and what to expect. I talked more about consequences in the last post “Uh oh! Consequences for Inappropriate Behavior.”

For Elementary Classes (Grades 1-6

  • Teachers should allow time in the first Sunday School class of the year to decide on class rules. Tell your students that rules will be decided as a class. Together talk about how everyone should behave in this classroom. The teacher has ultimate veto. Sometimes suggested rules will be silly or unachievable.
  • Once the rules have been decided make a poster of your class rules. This poster should be put up in a highly visible spot in the classroom and referred to regularly.
  • As a class, consequences for disobeying the rules can be discusses as well. Consequences need to be in line with consequences already decided by the Sunday School teachers as a whole or the Sunday School Coordinator. I have found that kids can be much harsher in deciding consequences than teachers are. So guide this conversation carefully and remind the kids that the ultimate goal is growing as disciples of Jesus.

For all ages, children need to know and understand the rules. This is why it is important to post the rules in the classrooms and discuss them each week. Allow children to ask questions about the rules. It is important to make sure that your children understand the rules. Figure out ways of restating them to help the kids understand them.

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