Those of us in children’s ministry love kids—we absolutely couldn’t do this job without a love that flows from our relationship with Jesus!
On some days when we teach, we can see children connecting. Their eyes light up and their expressions change, as they understand how God’s Word relates to them!
But on other days, we feel as if we’ve managed our way through a tornado—and then afterward we wonder exactly what happened!
Sooner or later, we all come to the realization that in kids’ ministry, class time can go either way: glorious connection or simply managing what goes on.
Some days, we can feel like we taught, but no one “got it.”
As a kids’ ministry teacher, I’ve had that feeling more times than I care to remember! But there are two things that help me through those days.
One, I remember that in heaven, I’ll hear stories of how that day impacted a child that I didn’t even think was listening!
And the other thing is something I learned from Henrietta Mears: that the best way to prepare for the next session is to start preparing just after the last child leaves this session.
This gives time and space to think about the kids and how they responded, what they did or did not understand, and what “lit them up.”
That short review time helps me know how to pray for my kids and to begin planning more of what I’ll do for the next session that can build on what I saw today.
Because it’s so easy for me to move on to the next thing and completely forget all about what just happened, I always tried to take five minutes after a session to assess what I heard and saw.
This practice has become a powerful tool for me.
There are questions I have to ask too: “What did my kids learn? How did the kids see what a living, powerful relationship with Jesus would mean for them?”
In all this lovely tornado of kid-activity, it’s easy for me to glibly think I was successful if no one was injured and the kids were happy.
While the kids might have had a good time during the session, did they understand the power and love of Jesus through today’s Bible passage?
Where did kids connect to Jesus in all the wonderful chaos that ensued? In short, “Where was Jesus?”
My internal questions remind me of those books in which Waldo, the stripe-shirted traveler, appeared in “busy pictures” for kids (and adults) to find. Remember those?
Once you figured out where Waldo was in one drawing, how could you NOT look for Waldo in that next picture? It was addictive to try to find him in all sorts of places!
That’s what happened to me—but with Jesus!
Although some people think that finding Jesus in every account of the Old or New Testament is only for deep-thinking theologians and graduate-level divinity students, it turns out that Jesus is just as available to each of us as He is to the biggest-name theologian!
Finding the Solution
When I began to use Gospel Light’s “Give Me Jesus” curriculum, I was mind-blown to discover Him in places I never expected—and soon, I began to look for Him everywhere in Scripture! Finding Jesus in every part of the Bible was a great adventure and a new experience for me.
Once I began to look, “finding” Him got easier and easier.
But I’ll confess, I had help! As I dug in to teach my first lesson, a simple and understandable “Connecting You to Jesus” paragraph outlined just how the action in the lesson’s Bible content pointed to Jesus.
So (unlike looking for Waldo!) I began to use the clues I was given there to learn for myself where and how to find Jesus in each Bible account! And that gave me courage to teach more intentionally—I wasn’t just re-hashing the “same old same old” moral lessons.
I was excited because I was learning along with the kids that Jesus is “the same, yesterday, today and forever” and that we could know Him right here, right now!
Why I Love Gospel Light
Gospel Light curriculum is easy to use because it’s so intuitive. Every lesson hinges on a Big Idea. That Big Idea tells why the lesson will make a difference in kids’ lives—and in the teacher’s life too!
Then the devotional helps to direct my attention to what matters and why. Because a spiritually unprepared teacher can do more harm than good, I’ve learned to stop, drop, and roll—no, not only in fire safety, but spiritually!
I stop to see what the devotional is about instead of glancing past it (which is the easiest thing to do when I’m in a hurry!). So I drop my “I know what this is going to say” defenses and my all-too-common attitude that “I know how to do this.”
I invite God to show me what I need to understand about the lesson and about myself, based on the passage and the devotional—and then, I roll with what God gives me, instead of relying on my “education and experience” to do the teaching.
It’s a whole different teaching experience to be listening to God as I teach.
And because every kid, and every class full of kids, is different, Gospel Light also gives me choices and makes it easy to customize the lessons. Because of that, I can speak to my own kids’ learning styles and interests.
I choose activities and gather the materials needed—they’re listed right there and are usually something I already have in my house.
What’s in Gospel Light Curriculum
One thing that really delights me is that every lesson has an Action Plan at the end of the session. It’s a wrap-up time that helps kids focus on what they (realistically and as kids) can do to apply the lesson’s Big Idea in the coming week!
It’s unabashed joy to have a child come into class and tell me what happened when he or she tried the Action Plan in real life—that’s transformation!
Because everything in the Bible really does point to Jesus, it’s important to know what the Bible says—not just in a vague way, but specific Scriptures.
It’s rich in potential for helping kids remember Scripture. Of course, every lesson has a verse to memorize. But here are some of the ways that “Give Me Jesus” helps kids get God’s Word inside them.
Music and Take-Home Fun
First, there is the Music CD—which is fully reproducible (unlike most music resources). It contains six songs that reinforce the lessons for the quarter.
When each family has a CD, car commute time can become time to focus on Jesus.
And if you’ve got a larger group of kids and want the music with words and engaging visuals, the Music DVD is for you! You can easily lead a worship time without having to make your own slides or connect to another service.
Then there is Fridge Fun, which is a colorful and simple resource for kids to take home.
It’s small enough to stick onto the fridge with a magnet (hence the name), giving families ideas for fun Scripture memory games, for activities they can share, and a reminder of the week’s Big Idea and memory verse.
It’s a great tool to get the whole family asking, “Where’s Jesus?” every week!
The Kid Talk Cards are a super resource for in-class time; they are sized to fit inside most Bibles, so kids can keep them.
They have a discovery activity and a review activity that help kids discover and remember the Big Idea of the week, as well as the Bible verse of the week.
Bright and colorful, they add interest all the way through the lesson time—and beyond!
There are posters too—and they’re not too huge for one person to handle easily! They’re designed for leaders who are telling the story to a small group, so be sure to buy one for every group leader who teaches with you.
However you need the curriculum—it is available to you! Whether you like print or digital—kits or separate pieces.
So if your goal is to point kids to Jesus, I recommend that you try out Gospel Light today—for free!
All in all, I’ve discovered that leading kids on the adventure of finding Jesus in Gospel Light curriculum is even easier than finding old Waldo in one of those crazy-busy drawings.
And the best part is, these discoveries have wonderful eternal consequences!