Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Kids and The Gospel ~ Phil Vischer

(Raw notes from the Awana Vantage Conference)


Phil shared at the Awana Vantage conference the 3 things we need to be better at explaining to our kids:


Understanding the story they are in

There  is a point in our lives when we realize things are going to be great. As a baby, young child, we are given everything we need. “We are the center of the world and everything is centered upon me. This is quickly broken, especially if they have older siblings.

We all seek happiness, it is how we go about seeking that happiness that influences our life.

Children are then taught that God is love, He loves us and provides for us. Children (and adults) are taught that following Jesus is easy and always full of love and nothing bad will happen to us. Then reality hits them and they begin to question what they’ve been taught for years. When those things break down, people then reject God.

We are made in the image of God, but things went wrong because of sin.

The world is a broken amusement park. It is designed to be good, but there is a virus. Things go wrong. Jesus gets rid of that virus.


Understanding the Bad news of the story they are in

Sin, how do you discuss sin with children? It’s easier to talk about the “good” things of God, but not about the bad we do. We talk about the ark, but neglect to discuss the reason for the flood. We talk about God saving Noah, but not about the judgement God had for the rest of the world. God can be loving, but also wrathful and judgmental.

Until you understand sin, the rest of the Bible doesn’t make sense.

God wants to save us from sin

  • Stain of sin – keeps us from God
  • Power of sin – keeps us doing the same bad things over and over again
  • Presence of sin – We still live in a world drowning in sin

Judgment – setting things right, when God sets in and makes everything right

A child’s question, Why did Jesus need to die? Because we’ve all been bullies at one time or another and He paid the price for our sin, so we didn’t have to.

Preschoolers need to know God loves them

Early Elementary need to know sin, when we go our own way, God’s judgment


Understanding the good news of the story they are in

Growing up, we often here about what Christians don’t do, not what they do. We learn we need to share the Gospel, but what is the Gospel? Once we accept Jesus, does the Gospel have any more for me?

The first four books are called the Gospel, which is the story of Jesus. Jesus walked around, talking about the Gospel (in Mark) but He had not yet died on the cross, so what is the gospel? It is God with us.

What is next for us after we begin to follow Jesus? Living a Godly life. Knowing we live a Godly life, we can live without fear, knowing God is with us gives us joy, love, unity. We are the Red Cross in a broken world.

Our life is lived out in true belief, true living, true loving.

The best way to show your children, is by living it out in your life.


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