Do well meaning folks focus on the wrong things? I would say yes. I love Christmas not so much in the lights and decorate the tree way but more because it forces me to evaluate the things that matter most in my life. In the past few years it seems like the battle grounds have been drawn between the Happy Holiday Secularist and the Merry Christmas Christians. I have found my self getting caught up saying Merry Christmas in a very emphatic way to well meaning well wishers who wish me Happy Holidays.
This is the wrong battle. The biggest battle the church needs to wage is over a faith founded on Jesus alone verses a faith that is founded in rules and traditions. Because the implications reach beyond Christmas, with an astounding number of our kids walking away from their faith we need to change something, we need to change everything. I grew up having my faith defined by what I did and didn\’t do. I had many friends who grew up with me and when we hit college they walked away from their faith. While there is not one easy answer I have come to believe that one of the bigest reasons they walked away is because they were never taught a gospel centered faith.
This is not a new problem we see Paul adress this very issue to the Galatians and the Phillipians. We like being able to plainly define what pleases God and what does not. I am convinced now more than ever we need to teach kids that the Bible is not about laws to be followed or heros to be emulated rather that the Bible is about Jesus Christ.
As children’s workers and parents I can think of no better time than Christmas, to elevate Christ and the rescue plan he has for us. I have taught kids many lessons over the years many of them talking about Jesus\’ birth, life, death and resurrection. We need to teach kids the Gospel. Kids learn many timeless truths from us but if we fail to teach them that everything is about Jesus we have failed to pass on a faith that lasts. This is only possible by elevating Christ and recognizing and dealing with our own inner pharisees.
Our kids need to hear this Christmas season and every week of the year the simple truth Mother Teresa based her whole life on. A reporter once asked Mother Teresa why she did what she did? How was she able to give so much up for people who were so poor. She answered so simply and so powerfully "Jesus is Everything". Everytime I hear that quote I tear up because of the simple profundity of the statement. I want my kids to understand at Christmas and everyday "Jesus Is Everything".
Sam Luce has been the children’s pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica NY for the past 13 years. He is passionate about empowering the local church to effectively communicate the gospel to kids and minister to families. When not working he loves spending time with his beautiful wife and three kids. You can see Sam’s other guest post on the Kids Ministry 101 blog here.
Thanks for the reminder!
Sam, you are absolutely right! Jesus is everything and needs to be at the heart of everything we do. My prayer for 2011, as a Children’s Pastor, is present the Gospel in ways that cause the children to want more Jesus, to make the Gospel come alive in them so they tell others, and to keep lifting up the name of Jesus everywhere I go. Thank you Sam for doing what you do for Him. God bless you!
I belong to a fairly small church. We just got into a permanent building in 1998. The church`s first Lifeway VBS was in 1999 Mountain Extreme. We have been using Lifeway VBS materials ever since. We are really getting excited for the Big Apple Adventure! With all of the training and help you get from Lifeway I don`t know how or why you can use anything else. Great Materials!!!! It is a Blessing to work with the children at VBS and you make it so much fun!!