by Brent Colby/ July 15, 2015
Ministry leaders need to grasp God’s big-picture story in order to teach kids who God really is. We are speaking to one of the first generations to be raised by biblically illiterate parents. Ideas about sin, justice, and love are no longer taught as precepts of Scripture, if they are ever taught at all. Kids don’t know Jonah from James in a time when a biblical worldview is more important than ever.
What do I mean by “big-picture story?” Let’s start here: the Bible is God’s story. From beginning to end you can trace a single narrative. The whole book tells us who God is and of His love for us. Consider this: you can trace this narrative through creation, Adam and Eve’s choice to sin, covenants with Abraham and David, and with the Old Testament prophets. The restoration of humanity is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament until we meet Jesus in the Gospels. His life, death, and resurrection create a new paradigm of restoration that we see the Holy Spirit initiating in the rest of the New Testament. An image of the end times is illustrated in the final chapters of the Bible. This revelation shows us how God will restore our relationship with Him once and for all and bring us back to a world without sin.
How is that for a brief overview? The Bible tells us who God is and who we are. It gives meaning and purpose to our lives while providing us with a guide for how we should live. Without it, we become blind to the truth.
It’s important for kids to understand each Bible story as part of an overarching narrative. Connecting the dots between Adam, David, and Jesus is essential. Without it we have no foundation for understanding sin, forgiveness, or God’s ruthless love for us.
And this whole thing starts with you. You must discover the meta-narrative of Scripture before you can teach it to kids. Identify key moments of Scripture through which the thread of God’s story is woven. Tie these in to each of your lessons. Every teaching should be connected to God’s big-picture story and show how Jesus became God’s ultimate expression of love for the world.