As ministers to kids, we have one job: to tell the story of Jesus again and again until He returns.
I confess I may have zoned out (just a little) during one recent Sunday evening sermon that I sat in on at church. As I flipped through an old hymnal I ran across a familiar song that people don’t sing much anymore. It’s words caught my attention as I thought about the new cycle of The Gospel Project for Kids that kicks off this coming Fall.
Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love; Tell me the story simply, As to a little child, For I am weak and weary, And helpless and defiled.
Tell me the story slowly, That I may take it in—That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin; Tell me the story often, For I forget so soon, The “early dew” of morning Has passed away at noon.
Tell me the story softly, With earnest tones and grave; Remember I’m the sinner Whom Jesus came to save; Tell me the story always, if you would really be, in any time of trouble, A comforter to me.
Tell me the old, old story, Tell me the old, old story, Tell me the old, old story, Of Jesus and His love.
This wonderful old hymn captures the purpose of God’s Word and of what our mission is all about as ministers of the gospel: knowing and telling the story of Jesus, again and again and again. As the hymn says, we must tell it simply, slowly, earnestly, often … and always!
Every Story Points to the One
The continual telling of the gospel story is the heartbeat behind The Gospel Project for Kids. The Gospel Project for Kids unpacks the full narrative of Scripture using a chronological three-year study plan, and every story, every week—from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation—points to the ONE. As kids ministry leaders the story of Jesus is one that we are compelled to tell—not just once; not just once a year; but continually.
As kids experience the big story of the Bible through the lens of Jesus, they gain a deeper understanding of the nature of God, of their need for a Savior, and of our great God’s provision for their sin. When we rightfully see the Bible as one big story of God’s redemptive plan to bring salvation to a lost and fallen world It changes how we study Scripture. It changes how we teach kids to read their Bibles. It changes the way we apply God’s Word to kids’ lives. It changes how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see God. It changes everything. But it’s not enough to tell this story one time. We must tell it again and again and again.
We Cannot Stop Telling the Story
Because of the chronological format of The Gospel Project for Kids, some leaders may initially view it as a one-time, three-year experience. As they approach the end of the scope and sequence, some wonder what to do next after they “finish” The Gospel Project for Kids. When one looks at The Gospel Project for Kids as a one-and-done resource, they are merely seeing a two-dimensional picture of its purpose and potential. The full beauty of The Gospel Project is seen when kids go through the full story of the Bible, not one time, but three times during their children’s ministry experience from preschool through sixth grade.
Kids learn differently at different ages and stages of development. Preschoolers are able to understand simple, foundational ideas and are ‘concrete’ in their comprehension. They are literal in regard to their interpretation of information. Middle kids begin to connect biblical accounts with their lives, communities, and world. Older kids are able to understand more complex and abstract concepts and applications. When children go through The Gospel Project for Kids just once, they experience the big story of the Bible one time with the developmental abilities and understanding that they happen to have during that one three-year window.
The full potential of The Gospel Project is seen when kids go through the full story of the Bible, not one time, but two or three full times during their kids ministry experience. Repetition cultivates a child’s faith to grow both deep and wide. Each time a child repeats the chronology, his ability to understand abstract ideas and truths about God expands wider as he is able to delve deeper into the full narrative of Scripture. Imagine if a child who entered your ministry as a preschooler went through the entire Bible three times before she was promoted into middle school ministry; each time anchoring her more firmly in a Bible-centered, gospel-oriented worldview.
In his sermon, The Centrality of the Gospel, Tim Keller has famously said, “We never get beyond the gospel in our Christian life to something more ‘advanced.’ The gospel is not the first step in a stairway of truths, rather, it is more like the hub in a wheel of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A–Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make progress in the kingdom.”
As ministers to kids, we have one job: to tell the story of Jesus again and again and again until He returns. Everything we do must point kids to Christ. It’s all about Jesus.
You can preview four free sessions of the Gospel Project for Preschool and/or Kids at gospelproject.com/preview
Chuck Peters is Director of Operations for Lifeway Kids. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck has served vocationally & voluntarily in Student and Children’s Ministry for many years.