We have the most incredible job in the world. As church leaders and parents we are tasked with sharing the gospel with the next generation. This is a great privilege. This is a great responsibility. This is the very most important thing we will ever do.
There is so much other “stuff” that is part of both ministry world and parenting world. Good things. Fun things. Things that we hope will make church more attractive or make our kids more well-rounded. Things that we hope will make them feel the Bible is relevant and that God is cool. Things that will make our lives easier and well help them become well-behaved boys and girls.
None of these things are necessarily bad in and of themselves, but if we do all of these things and miss Jesus we are doing the wrong things. If our kids are sweet, are well-behaved and love the entertainment of church, but their lives are not wrapped around the gospel of Christ, we have missed it.
I once heard Matt Chandler say, “Never trade Jesus for the idea of Jesus.” I think we as the church and as parents (or at least I) have been guilty of that.
So, let’s do something different. That’s where Gospel@Center comes in. We want to create community, content, and conversations that help all of us put the gospel first. Let’s build each other up to center on these things:
– Let’s make sure kids are clearly learning and understanding the gospel. Kids must learn that sin separates us from God, Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, He rose from the dead to make a way for us to go to Heaven by grace and not by anything we can do. Whatever it takes, however we choose to do it, let’s make teaching the gospel our first priority.
– Let’s identify the most effective and engaging ways to teach the whole Bible to kids. From preschoolers to high schoolers, let’s identify the best ways to teach kids the deep truths of Scripture. Instead of watering down God’s word, let’s look for creative ways to help them grasp doctrine.
– Let’s re-prioritize what is most important. Curriculum, check-in systems, cool decor, and over-the-top ideas and programming are all common conversations and are such great additions to ministry. But if those things take more of our time and our energy than making much of Jesus, we are missing it. If our kids love our games but don’t know the Bible, we’ve missed the point. If they remember the fun on the walls more than they remember life-changing truth, we have failed.
– Let’s make the gospel personal in our own lives. Let’s be real, this isn’t only about ministry and parenting. How are you centered on the gospel in your own personal life? Are you passionately in love with Him? Do you have the passion for His Word and for the things of Christ that you desire for your children, the volunteers and the kids in your ministry to have? Do you spend more time planning things about Him, writing lessons about Him, talking to kids about Him than you do just loving Him and spending time with Him? We can’t make much of Him in the world of next generation ministry if we aren’t making much of Him in our own lives.
– Let’s look for ways for churches, ministries, and ministry leaders to work together. Let’s avoid collaboration for our own glory or recognition but to lift His name up higher and for MORE KIDS TO COME TO KNOW HIM. Yes, all of our churches and denominations are different. But we have one goal. Jim Wideman has said before, “We’re just trying to make it really hard for any kid to go to hell.” Let’s do that.
Who’s in? Who is ready to put the gospel at center? Who is ready to put the Gospel at the center of ministry to kids and youth? Let’s do something different together.