Jack Klumpenhower, a journalist by training and trade, was a gifted Sunday School teacher. But something was missing in the way he approached discipleship and spiritual formation with children and youth.
Shifting away from lessons that focused on the kids’ response (behavior and right thinking), Jack began to show children the grace of God through Jesus in every passage of the Bible.
He documents this journey in “Show Them Jesus” – a stirring, encouraging treatment of how we can shepherd children towards Jesus, with practical tools for parents, teachers, and small group leaders.
Klumpenhower admits that his Bible lessons were often “little more than lectures about some way you ought to live for God. Such lessons create pressure and invite pretending.” For parents and teachers, it is very easy to slip into teaching a “do better, try harder” version of Christian moralism instead of the Gospel.
Instead, we have truly good news: God’s love is set on His children, not based on their performance, but on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The main point of the Gospel “is not that we too should obey, but that Jesus did obey…Lots of people try to stop being bad. But Christians also stop trying to prove how good they are.”
But “Show Them Jesus” goes further, asking the key question: “if God’s already loves, why obey?”
“Our salvation is generous and full. Yes, we’re saved by grace alone – but God knows we not only need to be loved in spite of our stench, but also to become non-stinkers. He includes as part of salvation our rebirth into people who erupt in true worship of our Savior – with good works…Christian behavior isn’t real obedience unless it starts with love for God.” (John 14:15)
The true grace of God “beats the notion of a coddling God who easily loves you as long as you’re pretty good or you said the right prayer – no problem for Him, no further demands from you. Cheap grace sounds comforting, but God ends up irrelevant and boring. The good news shows how sin is deadly serious and required costly love from Jesus. It captures kids’ hearts for a worthy God who rightly calls for whole-life repentance.”
And so, as you teach children the goods news, remember: “none of us learns to love anyone – including God – by having someone tell us to love them. You love people because you find them beautiful and loveable, and because they love you.”
Let’s show kids how beautiful, loveable, and loving our Savior really is.