A Gospel Legacy for our Little Ones
January 3, 2019 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Recently I’ve decided to spend some time in my personal study on how best to disciple children within the context of the local church. To that end I have started reading the book Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower. It was assigned as required reading in a discipleship class at Westminster the year after I had already taken the class. Many of my peers loved it so much however that I picked up a copy myself. Unfortunately, adding it to my collection, I haven’t taken the time to sit down and read it all the way through. Until now. And it’s good. Really good. And really helpful in thinking about our ministry to our children here at Oak Hills, and what kind of legacy we want to leave behind. In my mind – a Gospel legacy.
The term “gospel” is used so often – especially in conjunction with various ministries – that I feel like it would be helpful to define it again here. Klumpenhower defines it this way, “The good news means you relate to God based on what Jesus has done for you, not what you’ve done to prove yourself worthy. If you’re a believer, the good news says that God already accepts you fully – he’s adopted you as his child – because you’re joined to Jesus, who died on the cross for you.” Of course, that’s not everything. It doesn’t get into the details or talk about the righteousness of Christ, the substitutionary death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, etc. But it does give us a starting place of saying – “We want our kids to know that they are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, not by works.” And to that end we labor.
So, what does that look like here at Oak Hills? I know that not everyone who reads this serves in our various children’s ministries (and that’s ok!) so in the next two weeks I’d like to pull back the curtain and give a little tour of our children’s ministry here at Oak Hills. This week we’ll look more at the “What?” of our Children’s ministries and then next week we’ll dive in and answer some specific questions (“How?”, “Why?”, and “Who?”) in regards to our various ministries.
As I said above – our goal is to leave behind a gospel legacy with our children. From the earliest of days children soak up knowledge and information from the world around them. We are privileged to be able to partner with families here at Oak Hills to teach them concrete truths about the Bible and the Christian faith. We want our kids to know that the Bible is God’s word. That God is the creator of everyone and everything. That God delights in his children and cares for them. That sin is our disobedience against God and that our sin separates us from God. That everyone sins and needs a savior. And that God sent his son Jesus to save us from our sin and restore our relationship with Him.
We believe that in providing this foundation for our children, and then expounding on it at home, in the classroom, from the pulpit, etc. throughout their life, we will be doing the very thing that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 When he said “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified… so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
It doesn’t end there however. Or better, it’s not completed in mere knowledge. A true foundation of the gospel also empowers our children to live the Christian life in faith. As we teach the good news of Christ to our children, we also show them that what it looks like to “Love the Lord (their) God with all (their) heart and with all (their) soul and with all (their) mind.” And to “Love (their) neighbor as themselves.” – Matthew 22:37 & 39. Of course, on their own the children could never attain this but in Christ such commands become joyous acts of worship. We want our children to grow up loving the gospel, loving God, loving Christ, loving his church, and loving the world around. We want them to understand the commands of scripture, not as burdens, but as acts of worship and marks of who they are in Christ. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Finally, these goals aren’t just the goals of our children’s ministry. They are the goals of the church. In fact, a better and more concise way of wording them can be found in our mission statement here at Oak Hills. “Longing to Know and Make Known the Astonishing Grace of God.” That is a gospel legacy. That is the “What?” To equip and pray for our children to know, believe and marvel in the gospel, and then to live in light of the gospel in the world around them.