Gospel Centered Family

Helping families and churches share Jesus with the next generation.

Is Teaching the Gospel Enough? An Interview with Jack Klumpenhower, Part 1

Jared KennedyComment

Jack Klumpenhower’s recent book, Show Them Jesus, challenges the culture of low-stakes, low-expectations teaching. It makes a radical pledge to do nothing less than champion and treasure the gospel.

Jack is not a pastor, but he has more than thirty years of experience creating Bible lessons and teaching children about Jesus. Throughout this month, I’ll be posting Jack’s answers to my questions about teaching children. Here is the first installment:

Jared: Why not just say, “Teach them the gospel”? How is “Show them Jesus” different?

Jack: My wife came up with the title Show Them Jesus, and I immediately liked it because it feels broader than “teach the gospel.”

For many people, teaching the gospel has come to mean telling what Jesus has done for us so that kids will be motivated to serve him out of gratitude rather than guilt. That’s a good principle and the book is partly about that, but by itself that’s too small.

Looking at what Jesus has done for us should also cause us to look at him—the whole, marvelous person he is. This adds the motivations that flow from wonder and awe: love, admiration, hope, and even a healthy dose of reverent fear. Kids not only learn that they should be grateful, they also sense the majesty of God. They see holiness. They discover divine love. They come to shudder at the ugliness of sin and to gasp at the lengths Jesus goes to rid them of it. They learn to cling to him. They treasure absolutely everything that’s part of being found in him. They yearn to be for Jesus, like Jesus, and with Jesus forever.

That’s the Show Them Jesus vision. It’s a big vision, but big fits Jesus.


Friends, be sure to check out more from Jack at his blog, jackklumpenhower.com