When I was a kid, I hated broccoli. I always made sure to ask whether my meal was going to have “little trees” in it. I was kind of an annoying picky-eating kid. Just like many of you do with your kids, I was told, “Broccoli is good for you! You need to eat it in order to grow.” Broccoli may have been something I needed, but it was definitely not something I wanted.
When teaching the lesson I very rarely will only talk about the Bible, the gospel, or Jesus as being the most important thing for kids’ lives. When kids hear, “this is important for you” they think, “Oh, kinda like broccoli.” Kids often interpret importance as boring, irrelevant, and unsatisfying. Combine this language with an unenthused demeanor, and you will have unintentionally taught that Jesus may be important, but he is not desirable.
Too often, those who serve or lead in kids ministry make Jesus out to be little more than broccoli for their soul. He may be healthy, but he’s not delicious. He is not worth savoring. When Jesus is taught this way, he will be received this way. Kids may see their need for what Jesus offers, but they will not see that Jesus is worthy of their full desire and can offer full satisfaction. They may desire Jesus’ benefits, but they will not desire Jesus.
Is Jesus the most important person in the universe? Absolutely. Is the gospel the most important message in the world? Of course. But when we leave it there, we are incomplete. Jesus is not just important. He is important and satisfying. Don’t present Jesus just as someone kids should need. Present him as someone they should want. The gospel is the most thrilling news in the world about the most thrilling Person in the world. When our affections are ignited for Jesus, we will teach with passion and communicate with our words and attitudes that Jesus is not just important, he is better than anything else this world can offer.
By Mathew Gilbert
Blog adapted from https://ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/kids-broccoli-and-jesus-teaching-the-gospel-with-passion