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Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

The Gospel According to….

bible_openedThere was a sermon series awhile ago that was entitled, The Gospel According to… Facebook, Lady Gaga, etc. with each week using a different cultural item to share the things of God. Some saw the connections as inspirational, others saw it as glorifying, or condoning ungodly lifestyles.

I had a conversation with another gentleman not too long ago where he stated that the Peanuts cartoons were Christian and that Linus represented the Holy Spirit. This was news to me. I knew that occasionally the Peanuts cartoons would clearly present things of God (i.e. the Christmas story) but not that the entire comic series was initially intended to spread the Gospel. What he referenced was a book entitled, “The Gospel According to Peanuts“. I have to admit that I have not read the book, but I found that it was not written by the creator of the comic strip, but by a Presbyterian pastor who used the Peanuts comics to share the Gospel. Whether Charles Shultz was a Christian or not is not the topic of this post, but rather how we may present the Gospel to others.

I have used the game Minecraft to share the things of God (see some lessons here). One could say that I am teaching the Gospel According to Minecraft. I was asked by a friend to shed some light on how Minecraft (they linked to the information on Wikipedia about Minecraft) had been adapted for Biblical Studies. I was asked a similar question recently at a conference where I was discussing using Minecraft to teach Biblical Truth. This was my answer:

The game itself is not “Christian” nor built from a Biblical perspective (although some think it is), but components can be taken to teach a Biblical Truth (example: light overcomes darkness and keeps evil away). From my perspective, I know the children are playing it and it becomes a way for me to connect with them and connect their “world” with God. I can then have them thinking about God in the game they play and possibly talking about God with their friends.

Again, from my perspective, it is bringing God to their world to teach them Biblical Truth.

When we can present the Gospel using items in a person’s life, connecting them to God, we are not by default condoning or promoting the item being used, but are providing a way for God to open their eyes using something with which they are familiar.

Several years ago when Pokemon was first introduced, a children’s ministry director promoted how bad the cards were placing information about the evil of Pokemon. Not far from that information, I sat next to a child and their father teaching a spiritual application from the card game. We have a choice, we can draw them to Jesus, or drive them away. The choice is ours.

The final point that I want to make is that just because a book is released entitled “The Gospel According to…. (whatever)” is produced, or lessons developed, does not make the item “Christian” and/or acceptable. We need to test the spirits and be sure to lead them to the Holy Spirit, with His guidance.

Side note: If I see something as evil, I do share my concerns with parents and children as appropriate, but I also realize that they must make their own decisions. My goal in ministry is to direct them to Jesus. If I can do that by intersecting “their world” to God without compromising the Gospel, then I try to do that so they begin to see God in the things around them and in every aspect of their lives.

 

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  1. This is so timely that I opened your email just a few minutes after reading a portion of the Gospel and thinking about how the disciples and Jesus used things the people understood to explain the kingdom of God to them: like the OT and trades of the day like fishing and farming. I was just thinking “I need to use things my awana kids understand to teach them about Jesus”! Thank you for giving me encouragement and ideas!!

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