Teaching Kids Biblical Christology
When Paul wrote the letter of 1 Timothy, he declared that the church was the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). The church is the unique institution on earth that guards and proclaims the truth of God. As Paul elaborates, he expresses the foundational doctrine upon which the church is built: the doctrine of Christ. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16,
“And by common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was manifested in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.”
The confession which Paul records comprises many key doctrines concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. “He who was manifested in the flesh” identifies Jesus as the pre-existent one who became man to dwell among us (John 1:14). He who “was vindicated in the Spirit” recalls the anointing which Jesus received at His baptism, which began His public ministry of preaching and working miracles as the Messiah (Matt 3:16–17). He who “was seen by angels” recalls the scene at the empty tomb and proclaims Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:1–6). He who was “proclaimed among the nations” and “believed on in the world” contains the great commission of the church to proclaim repentance for forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name to all the nations (Luke 24:44–49; Acts 2:37–42). And He who was “taken up in glory” refers to the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father, which exalted Him as the Lord of all (Acts 1:9–11, 2:29–36).
Christ is indeed the foundational cornerstone upon which the church is built (Eph 2:19–21; 1 Cor 3:11). Therefore, it is of first importance that the church instructs its members in sound Christology. When applying this responsibility to children’s ministry, Grace Curriculum seeks to equip teachers with resources to effectively accomplish this task by remaining faithful to the Bible’s full revelation concerning both Christ’s person and His work as Messiah. These resources take two approaches to teaching the foundational doctrine of Christ.
First, Grace Curriculum takes a narrative approach to biblical Christology with Generations of Grace. Beyond its over-arching teaching to walk through the Bible narratives from Genesis to Revelation, Generations of Grace adds Christmas and Easter lessons each year that walk through the narratives central to the incarnation, passion, and resurrection of the Messiah. Thus, each year, Generations of Grace grounds the witness of Scripture to the historical life of Jesus as revealed in the gospels. Through the narrative lessons, children will receive instruction in each of the key doctrines covered above in Paul’s confession to Timothy.
Second, Grace Curriculum takes a systematic approach to Christology through Adventure Club. In particular, the curriculum divides the Bible’s revelation concerning Christ into His person and His Work. Lessons that focus upon His person identify who Jesus is—truly God and truly man in the person of the Son of God. Lessons that focus upon His work teach kids the key tenets of Jesus’ life, ministry, atonement, and Lordship that the Bible declares to be central to our faith as Christians. As Messiah—the anointed one of God—Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King. He truly represents God to us as Prophet. He reconciles us with God as the perfect Priest and sacrifice for sin. And He rules over His people, defeating their enemies and commanding their obedience, as the exalted King and Lord.
Whether it is through the narrative stories of Scripture or the systematic teaching of doctrine, Generations of Grace seeks to equip teachers to give accurate and rich instruction to children about the only Savior that stands as Mediator between God and men, which is the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:15). Through these resources, we pray that God will call many children to faith in Him, as Paul declares in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” May Christ continue to establish the common confession of His person and work in the church today.
I would indeed love to talk to someone or at least correspond. My brother forwarded me your site. He and I (I’m 63, he is 59), have an on-going friendly and constructive debate regarding the best means to teach children in the church. I’ve taught children in the church for 40 years, and I put together my own program of covering almost every possible Bible story for a 6 year program. I’m very huge on teaching the stories, sticking to the text, focusing on teaching the Word in the sense that they really learn the Word, plus especially learn the stories which are life-changing, interesting, true; all the many reasons we should teach the stories of the Bible. My brother, who interestingly had a slightly different church experience than did I, in that his teacher for formative years focused on doctrines, not stories, pushes for a more systematic theology approach for kids, as he feels this was the life changing foundation for him. Yet he and I and our two other brothers grew up also on an amazing set of Bible story records in the late 1960s to early 70s. I’m the teacher or 40 years and have seen the stories, going through the life of each person, entire Bible books, each Gospel every chapter, pulling out the Biblical truths, theology, doctrines, as they arise naturally – I’ve seen this system work and believe it to be most “Biblical.” My brother has not taught children but for his own, but he has done probably thousands of hours of research on what is the best way to teach kids in the church. So….can I learn more about you all, what you are teaching? Thanks, Linda Brown