Julia Ball is the wife to Andrew, mom to Levi and pastor to a group of amazing kids! She currently serves on staff as the Children’s & Families Pastor at Calvary Pentecostal Church in Clarenville, NL, Canada. She’s passionate about seeing all generations – but especially kids and their families – grow to understand the Gospel more and love Jesus more deeply.
If you’re like me, you talk about Jesus a lot in your children’s ministry. Barely a week passes by when we don’t sing about Him, talk about Him or point kids towards Him. This makes sense of course.
Jesus was – and is – what makes the Christian faith so distinct from other religions and ways of life. While many around ancient believers believed in a Creator God or Deity of some kind, the belief that Jesus was God’s Only Son, the Lord, and died and rose again was radical.
It was radical then, and it is radical now. It sets us apart from so many around us, and our kids need to understand the depth of the claims we make about Jesus. They need to understand who He is, how he lived, and the enormity of His death and resurrection.
This understanding will hopefully bring them to worship, to witness, and to walk with Him. So where do we start?
How do we explain Jesus to our kids? As you talk about Jesus – and any theology for that matter – remember that you want to be clear but embrace the fact that there is an element of mystery when it comes to talking about God.
With that in mind, let’s dive in!
1. Teach kids that Jesus is the Son of God.
One of the most foundational statements about Jesus in the Christian faith is that He is the Son of God. That’s a good place to start with our kids as well.
Most kids, no matter how young, have a basic understanding of family structure and language – including ‘father’ and ‘son.’ Using basic family language to explain to your kids that Jesus is God’s Son is a great starting place. The Bible uses this language in all kinds of places. Here are a few great references:
- Matthew 3:17 & the story of Jesus’ baptism
- Matthew 17:5, where God the Father speaks at the Transfiguration
- Luke 1:35, where the angel tells Mary that Jesus is God’s Son
- Matthew 14:33, where the disciples declare He’s God’s Son
- Acts 9:20, where Paul proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God
If you are teaching older elementary kids, having them look up these verses and discuss them is a great way to get them hands-on with the Bible and the idea that Jesus is God’s Son.
Of course, you can expect as you dig into this truth with your kids, no matter how old, talking about Jesus as God’s Son will bring up all kinds of questions like:
“Who is Jesus’ Mom?” “Where was Jesus born? “How can God have a Son that is still God?”
Thankfully some of these questions are easily answered. The Bible makes clear statements about Jesus’ mother being Mary, the location of His birth, and the circumstances surrounding it. Some of the questions you may not have answers for, but that doesn’t mean you should stop kids from asking them! Allowing kids to wrestling with these questions, and come to conclusions with your guidance, getting hands-on with activities, and through digging into the Bible, will help your kids own their faith.
2. Teach kids that Jesus is Lord.
The term “Lord” is one used consistently in the Bible and throughout church history. When we refer to Jesus as Lord, we are saying He has power and authority over our lives. Simply put, Jesus must be the Lord of our lives in order for us to have a relationship with Him that is vibrant and growing.
I couldn’t explain the Lordship of Jesus and what it means for our lives any better than Greg Boyd does is in this article. He sums up well what it means in Scripture, and what it means for our lives.
Again, a great place to start on this topic is with some Scripture references. Here are a few:
- Romans 10:9 – Paul’s infamous salvation formula
- John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession of Jesus
- 1 Corinthians 8:6 – reference to ‘one Lord’
- Acts 2:36 – Peter’s proclamation of Jesus as Lord
I’ll be honest, “Lordship” isn’t a topic that is discussed a lot in children’s resources, but it’s an important one. The idea that Jesus wants to be in charge of our lives is an important ones for both kids and adults to understand.
Perhaps the best way to teach this is not through resources and teaching sessions, but through practical everyday living. Encourage the parents in your ministry to provide opportunities for their family to reflect on what the day, playtime, media choices, attitudes, etc., should look like if Jesus is Lord.
Encourage them to make times to discuss theology, read the Word, and pray together a priority. Show that Jesus is in charge.
While there is so much more that kids can learn about Jesus, this is a good starting place. As they begin to understand who Jesus truly is, they can more effectively understand and experience what His love and presence means for their lives.
Here are some great resources that can help you teach the concepts of Jesus as God’s Son and as Lord to the kids in your care:
- “The Bible App for Kids – The Beloved Son”
- “Jesus is God’s Son” – Sunday School Zone
- “Jesus Song” – Saddleback Kids
- “We Believe” – TruWorship
- God’s People – “Jesus” (This is a great conversation starter with your older kids!)
- “Christ is Lord” – Focus on the Family (great activities for all ages)
- “Jesus Christ is Lord” – Seeds Family Worship
An original version of this article appeared at ministrymom.ca