Walking up to Mt. Everest, hikers and climbers never ask, "Where's Mt. Everest?" They know to expect grandeur and awe when gazing at the mountain. People often approach the mountain differently. Many set their efforts to climb to the peak and others enjoy finding pictures on the web to browse. No matter the approach, one thing stays the same, Mt. Everest is always there. Weather patterns change, rocks fall, people come and go from elevation camps, animals roam about and even people's travel methods to get there change. Regardless, Mt. Everest is there. Ask yourself, "Is the gospel message there, in our children's ministry?"
You may answer yes; however, is it prominent in your ministry as Mt. Everest? Will people walk up to your children's ministry and ask, "Where is the gospel?" For some the gospel message is merely a story time filled with pictures of Jesus, His disciples and the teacher trying to manage the classroom as the children fidget, cry, laugh, pick their nose, stare into outer space and even sleep! Though presenting the gospel message in story time is necessary (even amidst chaos), the gospel message has greater implications and applications for our children's ministries. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16a).
The gospel is not a static boring message from people wearing coats, ties and fake Ronald McDonald smiles; rather, it is a transforming message, making change in people's hearts by the power of God. God used this same power to create and sustain the world, and He will use the power to create and sustain our children's ministries. All who and what are involved will be effected by the gospel message rather than one story time. Leaders, workers, parents, guardians, children, curriculum, activities, goals, objectives and strategies are to come under the gospel and will become prominent as Mt. Everest.
What is the gospel? It is the good news that God sent Jesus Christ to live, suffer, die and rise again to bring His created people who accept this message for salvation into an ongoing-eternal relationship with Him since they were separated from Him because of sin (Genesis 3:15; Mark 8:31-38; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5). The good news reveals God to be actively pursuing ungodly people, gracious to give to ungodly people, willing to suffer for ungodly people, patient to wait for ungodly people, loving to die for ungodly people, powerful to rise for ungodly people, faithful to persevere with ungodly people and more.
The gospel helps our perspective of ourselves, the ministry, the parents and the children. Anger towards disobedient children turns to patience. Gossip about other church leaders philosophy of ministry turns to open team building communication. Unwilling to serve in other areas turns to willingness to be a servant. Guilt of needing rest from work turns to peaceful sleep and restoration of strength from adequate time off (God rested). Frustration over a parents lack of care for shepherding their children dissipates to kind assistance to their needs. Pain from another's harsh and misguided criticism opens the door to return good. Pride from being the sole worker turns to humbly allowing others to help. Apathetic ignorance of what we teach turns into a passionate and accurate display of God. Blind eyes only seeing ministry at the church building finally sees how to show hospitality to the next door neighbor's children. Doubt of our own ministry effectiveness turns to trust in God's power in and through us.
The gospel message is to be prominent in our children's ministries, because without it, our children's ministries become a valley of death and not Mt. Everest - stale and not powerful. Stay faithful to the good news of Jesus Christ!
This series is also being posted onto Missional Education, my personal blog for training church and Christian school leaders to study, live and teach God's mission.