What If Kids Really Get the Big Idea of Kids Club 2016?

Kids Club logoKids Club at The Crossing is many things. The fruit of endless hours of planning and a huge volunteer effort. An impressive array of color-coordinated t-shirts. A logistical puzzle on the order of a small army. A time for kids to play, create, and build friendships with their leaders and each other. A place where getting slimed is a feature, not a bug. It’s even the reason my wife is now banned from participating in mud obstacle courses. (Turns out there’s a reason we have a medical team in-house. But I digress).

But it’s also a place where we communicate the gospel to kids in a variety of fun and creative ways. We do that because kids, just like everyone else, very much need the the transforming grace of what God has done for us in and through Jesus. Our hope is that these few days will help kids establish a solid foundation on which they can continue to build their lives in the right way.

How does that happen? Take this year’s “Big Idea,” the one big truth we hope kids walk away with after a week of teaching about God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 and how they ultimately are fulfilled by Jesus. It reads like this:

God always keeps his promises. They come true through Jesus, our great reward.

Now think for a minute. If kids understood this, if the really got it, what difference might it make in their lives? Here are four of the many possibilities:

1. They’ll learn to embrace the one person that can truly satisfy them.

Again, kids are just like the rest of us. They turn good things—people, activities, possessions—into ultimate things. They see them as the means by which they can find happiness and satisfaction in the long run. And when those things inevitably disappoint (and they always will), it will be crucial for kids to remember that there is a far better alternative. Rather than becoming bitter with disappointment or engaging in endless, fruitless searching, they’ll be reminded to turn to the one person who really delivers.

2. They’ll learn to wait in hope.

God’s promises to Abraham took an awfully long time to come true, at least from our perspective. For example, while God promised Abraham many descendants who would become a great nation, Abraham didn’t even have a child with his wife Sarah until he was about 100 years old. But God hadn’t forgotten, and from that one miraculous child he did create a great nation. And through that nation, he brought us another child who was even a greater miracle, one who would be a blessing to “all the families of the earth.” He’s done it over thousands of years, but God has remained a rock of faithfulness to his promises. That means that kids (and all of us) can trust that not all good things happen immediately. And even when waiting is hard and/or it seems like nothing is happening, we can know God is at work for our good and his glory.

3. They’ll learn that we aren’t in control, and that’s a good thing.

Abraham was powerless to make the huge promises God gave him come true. (In fact, more than once his actions did more to put them at risk than help them along.) That’s why it’s good news that he wasn’t the one on which those promises depended. God was, and he was in complete control the entire time. So even though they seemed improbable at some points, those promises proved to be rock solid. Against the countless things in life that can make kids feel helpless and hopeless, knowing that our wise and powerful God has things under control is crucial.

4. They’ll learn that the greatest reward isn’t earned. It’s a free gift.

This is related to the previous point. We live in a reward culture. Do this, and get that. While that’s appropriate in some ways, it can also lead us to live as if our relationship with God fundamentally operates on the same basis. But the gospel teaches us something different: that our relationship isn’t dependent upon how smart we are, how much money we make, what people think of us, or even how spiritual we can act. And that means that kids can build their lives on something that doesn’t depend on their successes or failures, but rather on the gracious and unfailing gift of God in Jesus. Their foundation will rest on rock, not sand.

Kids Club certainly the only thing that our kids will need to understand and live out all these truths. But we hope it plants seeds that bear fruit, whether that fruit comes next week, next month, or fifty years from now.

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