It’s been a while since I did an installment from the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry, and this one is long overdue. In the book Sam Luce chose the Word “Redemption” as What Matters Now.
Sam starts with a great summary of the importance of redemption:
One of the greatest messages we can give to every family we come in contact with is the message of redemption. In kids’ ministry, today, we deal with more broken hearts and broken families than ever before. I believe every family needs to experience the power of redemption.
In a ministry where so many focus on fun and games, I was happy to see Sam bring it back where it really belongs…to the redemptive power of Christ. That is the power we want to see in the kids we minister to. In a hurt and broken world, and in the hurt and broken little hearts that we see each weekend, we long for the redemptive power of Christ to work in their lives.
From there, Sam moves to a very practical discussion of why the idea of redemption is critical to our ministries:
Oftentimes, parents stay at arms length away from our ministries because we can set the bar so high they feel they can’t reach it. The message we need to be sending to the parents who attend our churches and to those who have yet to attend is that we are not looking for perfect families because they don’t exist. Our goal in kids’ ministries needs to be helping families understand that following Christ is a process where we fail and He redeems.
So many in our society strive to present the image of the perfect family. And, those of us who don’t live up to that image, can easily succumb to guilt and even despair. In children’s and family ministry, we must help parents to understand that there are no perfect people and no perfect families. Church must be a safe place for imperfect people. It must be a place where parents can come for biblical advice on how to run their families without fearing being transparent in their family life.
With all that insight, I actually found the last thing Sam wrote to be the most important of all:
When our kids grow up understanding true forgiveness and real redemption they will never settle for cheap grace.
Our God did not come to Earth and die on a cross for cheap grace, and it cheapens his work in human history when reduce our teaching to his children to that level. Our job is to help them, not just understand the redemptive power of Christ, but to experience that power. If we can do that, I am confident that we will have accomplished our purpose.
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to elicit further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but like other chapters I have included a listing of additional questions to spark further conversation. Here are the questions I came up with:
- Is there anything that you are doing or teaching that you feel cheapens the presentation of the grace of God?
- What does your church do to attract imperfect families?
- What systems do you have set up in your ministry to address the broken hearts and broken families of the kids you minister to?
- What examples of the redemptive power of Christ have you seen in the kids you minister to?
- How do you explain the idea of redemption to younger children?
You can find a link to this, and all the other articles I’ve done related to this book, on my What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Page.