As I train and prepare my teams for a summer of ministry with CentriKid Camps, one of the things on which I primarily focus is explaining the gospel to kids. In one of the exercises I typically lead, we brainstorm ways to make the message understandable and kid-friendly. To get us started, we make a list of words or phrases that are somewhat less than kid-friendly or that require some additional explanation. Some of the phrases that come up frequently are below:
- Ask Jesus into your heart
- Covered (or washed by) the blood of the lamb
- Born again
- Any question that requires only a yes or no answer (“Do you want to go to heaven?”)
Kids are more concrete thinkers than adults, and they often miss some of the symbolism associated with these concepts and terms. If interpreted literally, telling a child that he or she needs to be washed in the blood can be pretty scary.
Please don’t misunderstand. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these words. Many of them are biblical and have rich symbolism – Jesus himself told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. The fact is that many of these concepts are crucial to a basic understanding of the gospel. The hard work comes in explaining these concepts and phrases in such a way that kids can understand. Spend some time coming up with your own list, then think about how you can make the message more clear.