How do we practically teach our children through the Bible without making the stories moralist? How do we teach them about the One true Hero? How do we share the gospel with children who have been in our Sunday School class for years? How do we counsel teenagers through their sin and brokenness without feeding them a piece of empty “try harder” pie? These are the questions that I have heard over and over again as I have travelled and spoken on grace-saturated parenting. Up until earlier this year the only book (in my limited reading) that helped me was the masterful work of Sally Lloyd-Jones, but then the book Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids by Jack Klumpenhower arrived on the scene.
There has been a shift in the church of late, we are desiring more and more gospel truth, returning to the old, old story. Our kids ministries have been trying to catch up to the message the parents are hearing from the pulpit. One of the hardest things for me to do is teach kids about the gospel. It is incredibly difficult to put it in terms that they understand. Teaching them about all of God, His mercy and His justice is a momentous task. God has gifted Mr. Klumpenhower with incredible wisdom in this area. As I read through this book, I was brought to tears by the beautiful simplicity of the gospel. He takes many well-known Bible stories (Gideon, Samson, Mary and Martha, Peter denying Jesus, Jonah, etc.) and tells them in a way that makes the gospel of Jesus Christ shine brilliantly.
“The good news takes us daily from despair to astonished laughter. With relief in our eyes we look at the man who’s done all this for us. And who do we see? We see the strongest yet gentlest, most regal and yet most humble person imaginable. Most of all, we see the kind of lover we’ve never known before. Jesus’s love for us is pure love. It has nothing to do with us being the least bit lovely. If it did, we’d feel pressure to keep up whatever earned his love. But no, ‘if we are faithless, he remains faithful.’ (2 Tim. 2:13). He loves us forever. No payback needed. No conditions. No guilt trips. We are loved, period. And where that is believed, the heart is won.”
The book is set in two sections; Why teach the Good News? And How to teach the Good News.
Throughout, Jack humbly admits his failures and then blows your mind with his insights. At the end of each chapter he breaks what he has taught down in to categories for different readers; Parents, Teachers, Teachers of Younger Children, and Anyone. The truth is anyone can and should read this book. While this book is geared toward teaching children, I think a lot of pastors would benefit from it.
I cannot recommend this book more highly. I had the privilege of meeting Jack this year, before I read his book, and I can say that his love for Christ and the gospel is evident. He is a gracious and kind man who has been changed by the gospel. I appreciate that the man you read in the book is the same as the man you meet in person. His passion for children being changed by the gospel is contagious. My prayer is that everyone who reads this review will take the time to read the book as well.
Review by Jessica Thompson, co-author of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick, and author of Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for Families.