This five part series expands on my answer to the question from Children’s Ministry Think Tank #5 on the Ministry-to-Children.com website. In my response to the question:
“How do you teach the doctrine of sin to children without harming their self-esteem? Especially with preschool children, how explicitly do you teach them about their own depravity? How do parents in your ministry respond to these issues?”
I noted five areas I believe children must be taught about sin in order to fully understand the concept. Those were:
- What is sin?
- Where does it come from?
- Who sins?
- What are the consequences of sin?
- What is the solution for sin?
In this installment, we will look teaching kids the answer to the question “Who Sins?”
The Bible is crystal clear that we all sin. No exceptions! Every human being sins and falls short of the glory of God. So, how do you convey that to kids? I appreciate the teaching of Charles Spurgeon, Prince of Preachers, on this topic. He said,
“This will necessitate your teaching the child his need of a Savior. You must not hold back from this needful task. Do not flatter the child with delusive rubbish about his nature being good and needing to be developed. Tell him he must be born again. Don’t bolster him up with the fancy of his own innocence, but show him his sin. Mention the childish sins to which he is prone, and pray the Holy Spirit to work conviction in his heart and conscience.”
Spurgeon has a way of getting directly to the point! We owe it to kids not to gloss over their sin. They must understand that they are sinners in need of a Savior, or there will never be a reason for them to accept the gift of the cross.
Here is how I might explain this concept to a group of children:
“The Bible says that we are all made in the image of God. That means that when God made people, he used himself as the model. He gave us an imagination which reflects his imagination. We can love because he loves us. He made us creative because he is creative. He made us want to be around other people because he enjoys being in relationships. The Bible says that we are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). YOU are God’s masterpiece.
But, when sin entered the world, all of that was broken. People rebelled against God and we don’t live the way God intended us to. The Bible also says that everyone sins. You sin when you disobey your parents, when you lie and when say something mean to your little brother or sister. I sin when I am impatient with my kids, when I yell, and when I try to solve problems my way rather than God’s way. Your parents sin. Your brothers and sisters sin. Your teachers at school sin. Your pastor even sin.
Even people who have accepted Jesus Christ in their hearts continue to sin. There has only ever been one man who lived an entirely sin free life. That man was Jesus Christ.”
Something along these lines is a good lead in to the gospel which must go hand-in-hand with any explanation of sin and is discussed in the next section.