I (Derek) firmly believe that often times we make theology very complicated. We try to use large words, and we try to make our sentences appear more sophisticated than needed. Yet when we break down the theological concept/idea, we find that it usually is NOT as complicated as we would like to think. In fact, we often do a disservice to those we serve because we try to cram in a concept that is complicated, into a short lesson or series, and wonder why there is confusion among our flock.
For the past few months my wife and I have been co-directing/teaching the Children’s Church program at Living Hope Baptist Church in Portland, OR. We decided that we wanted to start by teaching them about the Trinity. Yep, that very big, in-depth, and often difficult theological concept that is: GOD. You read it right, we have been teaching little children about the Trinity. Why not teach about Noah, Jonah, Adam & Eve, or the Armor of God, or use some curriculum that shares or tells the Gospel through a story? The Trinity is a difficult concept to get an understanding of. However, if we study the Scriptures carefully, we will find all we need to (or can) know about God.
I am aware many of my readers do NOT attend Living Hope, but what I am about to share is my view. It’s our (my wife and mine) view on a way to teach. It’s a way to share the Gospel. It’s a mindset on how to share the love of Christ with others. I would like to share some of that insight with you.
1. I firmly believe that the Trinity (like many other theological concepts) can be understood at a very basic level.
God has already given us some clear insights through the Bible, to help us get a better understanding of the most important elements of the Trinity.
2. I firmly believe that the Trinity can change our lives (once we have seen it through the lens of Scripture).
I think many people don’t understand concepts like the Trinity for 2 reasons. First, because they are given too much info, and they can’t comprehend it all at once (you have to build up to the concept). Secondly, because they don’t see in IMPACTING their life!!! This is the hardest aspect to preaching or teaching. Making it relevant to our students. But once they have a basic understanding, and they see it apply to their lives, they (people) begin to see it everywhere in their lives.
My goal in teaching the Bible or Theology to people of all ages, is to help direct them to Jesus Christ! I want every one of my students to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and to grow in the one they already have. What better way to help them to know Jesus, or to grow in Christ than through understanding who He is?? While at the Children’s Church level we are working on basic concepts like God is our Father, Jesus was and is God! and God (Holy Spirit) lives in us to help us when we ask Jesus Christ to be our Savior. We can build up to the concept that relationships matter, and our relationship with God(through Jesus) matters! That will only come from an understanding of God, as father, son and spirit.
Our ultimate goal in teaching is that our students (or listeners) will be drawn closer to God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Sure theology can be daunting, and complicated. But we believe that God loves us and wants us to know Him.
When teaching theology, I’ve found that it is better to break the concept down into parts and build onto that part until the concept is understood. Hopefully, when teaching you would root EVERYTHING in Scripture! Your understanding must come from Scripture! Using Scripture to show your point is way more powerful (even for kids) then quoting someone else EVER would be. Don’t be afraid to teach on the deep theological, moral issues. Rather, do your homework, study, and be willing to break the concept down and help build an Biblical understanding for your flock/students.
Hope you are challenged and excited to help draw people closer to Christ through an understanding of God.