By Jennie Ketchum
When I finished my membership process at Redeemer, the leaders immediately asked me where I thought my gifts would best be used in serving others. I kind of shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, maybe kids.” That was four years ago and I’ve been in various roles since then in the kid’s area. Teaching the children at Redeemer every week and building in this consistency and discipline has really helped open my eyes to a more complete Gospel picture than I had ever seen before.
How Teaching Kids Changed My Perspective On The Gospel
I stayed with one group of kids for about three and a half years. Every time they moved up, I did as well. When they reached three years old, the curriculum became more involved so my teaching strategy had to change. I had to prepare beforehand, so I’d know what I was about to teach them. It was a huge point of spiritual growth for me.
Every week, I’d sit down with my Bible to prepare for what I was about to teach. Because the kids were three, and because Redeemer has a strong desire to raise up children with an awareness of the Gospel, I knew I needed to boil each passage down to the basic catechism and the gospel. Every week, we focused on “God is the boss, we are sinners, there is nothing we can do, and Jesus did it all.” Simple enough, but over time passages in the Old Testament that had never stuck out to me or I’d never bother to search for, took on a new light and a more complete picture. By teaching our Redeemer kids, I was being taught so much about the character of God, and His Gospel plan from the beginning.
Let me give you one of many examples:
The Story Of Jonah
Instead of Jonah just being a guy who was swallowed by a whale, I saw God’s heart for the nations by sending Jonah to a people who needed to hear about God and repent. I saw a bitter man who did not think God should grant those people forgiveness. Jonah learned more than one truth on his journey to Nineveh. The book of Jonah is only 4 short chapters, yet the 4th is one I was not familiar with until it was time for me to teach my class full of three year olds. I give this example of Jonah, because it’s one of those stories I was taught growing up multiple times. However, I had never bothered to open up my Bible and read the passage with intentionality. I thought I had that one down… I mean, who doesn’t know all about Jonah? The guy who ran away when he was supposed to go to Nineveh and BAM, ended up in the belly of a fish! Three days later, after a few prayers to God, he’s out; end of story right?
The people on the ship had a heart change. An entire city of 120,000 people turned to God and repented. But Jonah, didn’t think that they deserved it! He pouted (much like a child) outside the city under a plant that God had grown to cover and grace him with. However, when the plant was eaten by a worm, Jonah became ungratefully angry at the plant and God and he wanted to die. God had to remind Jonah no one deserves His grace and good gifts, but like He mercifully cared for Jonah, He also cared for the undeserving people of Nineveh.
Consider Teaching Kids
What does a typical Sunday kid’s lesson look like?
I would tell the story in kid-friendly terms. Then I would ask questions about the story. Some of those questions would be something like:
-Who was Jonah?
-Did he try to run away from God?
-Can you hide from God?
-Were the people in Nineveh bad?
-Did they deserve to be in trouble?
-Did God save them? Why?
-Do you ever get in trouble?
-Why do you get in trouble?
-Do mommy and daddy love you? Does God love you?”
Then the lesson is tied back to the Gospel.
I learned a lot, simply because I volunteered to teach a class of three year olds. My perspective on the Gospel was broadened. I was able to really study and be moved by several books of the Bible in the years I taught kid’s classes.
You may be way ahead of me on your Bible knowledge and understanding. Great! Then you should start sharing that truth with our youngest members.
If you’re like me, this has fundamentally helped me learn how I should approach my Bible reading time. I dig in, looking for those basic truths, because the gospel speaks to every area of my life. And it can be found throughout the entire Bible.
Seeing this and thinking this way makes it easier for me to also transition conversations I have with people too. It makes it easier for me to share the gospel with friends, family, and co-workers around me.
I feel honored and blessed to be the person sharing this good news, every week with our Redeemer kids. You never know how much of it they are absorbing every week. Some weeks they seem distracted, but most weeks I am astounded by these childrens’ ability to relate the story back to me. It’s quite an experience and delight when the kids even go so far as initiating and asking questions about the Gospel for themselves.