On occasion, I have tried my hand at leading or helping in the Children’s Church and Middle School youth programs at church. I cannot always say those efforts have turned out like I envisioned while at other times it seems as if at least something got across to my audience of impressionable minds. Presenting the gospel in a manner that is effective for our children without dumbing it down to the point where no meat of the Word is provided is highly important, perhaps now more than ever. Thus, strategies and methods for effectively teaching the message of Scripture are tools all believers should have at their disposal, regardless of whether they serve in an official teaching function at church or not. At some point in life, we will be teaching children biblical truth and we need to be prepared. Jack Klumpenhower, in his excellent book Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids, provides a helpful, common sense, and firmly biblical sound approach to doing just what the title of his book speaks of, teaching kids about the message of the gospel.
What struck me first and foremost about this book is the author’s passion for helping the reader keep Jesus as the centerpiece of any instruction given to children. Klumpenhower rightly notes “the content of the message matters; it must be about Jesus.” Furthermore, he states “the cross of Christ applies to the entire Christian life”, even the life of the smallest of children. Moreover, Klumpenhower avers “faith in this message comes from God.” Thus, we need to speak the message of the gospel in the way God intended, by declaring it from the pages of Scripture at every opportunity.
I have often been quite surprised at how many church curriculum is entertainment based as if elementary, middle school, and high school aged children are completely incapable of grasping biblical concepts. It seems as if the important issues of life, namely sin and the message of salvation are buried under comedic acts on a video. Klumpenhower rejects such silliness, instead declaring that a “good-news teacher must not sugarcoat God’s demands. The Bible describes sin as our willful rebellion against God and all that’s delightful in the universe.” It is absolutely necessary for children to understand that sobering fact. It is also important to share the solution to that problem – the shed blood of Christ that paid the penalty for our sin.
I also appreciated that Klumpenhower recommends that the message of the gospel must permeate every aspect of children’s ministry. The proclamation of the truth of the saving message of the gospel cannot be reserved for a special “Gospel-day”. In an effort to help parents and teachers walk their children through the message of the gospel, Klumpenhower provides a plethora of ways to take biblical stories and to demonstrate from those stories the message of the gospel. For example, he provides the reader with tools on how to take the story of Esther and to show children God’s saving work in the life of the people of Israel. Such a discussion is a perfect springboard for a discussion on Jesus and the salvation He brings. Klumpenhower even uses the story of Balaam and his talking donkey as an example of how to show kids Jesus.
As a parent who homeschools their child, I can also see applications for this book in that environment. For instance, as I work with my daughter on the history of the people of Israel as outlined in Scripture, there are multiple opportunities in that storyline to teach my daughter about God’s grace, deliverance, and salvation of His people. Using the techniques and tools outlined by Klumpenhower in this book will go a long way to finding even more ways and additional opportunities to drive home the message of the gospel even in a subject such as social studies.
I highly recommend this book for all believers, especially those who minister in Sunday School or who work with middle and high school aged kids. This book will also be profitable for all parents and even grandparents. We must be devoted to teaching our kids about Jesus to include those difficult subjects such as sin. Avoiding those hard discussions is not what God desires and Klumpenhower provides the reader with valuable tools to effectively show kids Jesus. In an age where too many churches have gone the route of entertainment based instruction, this book redirects the approach of teaching back to where it belongs – rooted in the pages of Scripture with a focus and passion for declaring to our kids the message of the Gospel.
This book is available for purchase from New Growth Press by clicking here.
I received this book for free from New Growth Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”