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The Bible Isn’t Just a Morality Tale: Be Sure to Share the Gospel

morality tale

Children have a faith that’s ready to go. So let’s not waste that opportunity by delivering a mere morality tale in Sunday school and children’s church. We need to share the Gospel message and Gospel Truth.

Children’s ministry workers talk a lot about contextualization. How do we share the eternal truth of God in specific locations for people who share a specific experience? But the Gospel does not change. So the message should remain the same, even as we adjust methods for effective communication.

How well do we proclaim the Gospel to children? Are we just relaying a morality tale or important truth? I’m not asking how well we teach Bible stories or the timeless truths of Scripture. Are we contextualizing our Gospel communication for children as well as we are for hipsters in Brooklyn or tribes in Tanzania?

The Bible Goes Far Beyond Morality Tale

Too often we teach the Bible as one morality tale after another, like Aesop’s Fables. We want children to learn how to live well. So we draw from the Bible stories of people who did the right or wrong thing.

We hope kids get the idea that good is of God, leading to success, and bad is of Satan, leading to failure. If kiddos can then live out a morality tale and retell the story with the right names and main points, we feel as if they have a grasp on the Gospel.

Churches have told children tons of good stories. But have we told them the Story?

It’s easy to tell the stories within the story. Yet a big picture exists too. When we offer a slice of the Gospel as if it’s the whole pie, we miss important points.

I think about it this way. This huge story has basically four major acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. I teach these at my church, and you might too. But how do you teach them to children?

I’m a father of three daughters. The reality is I don’t want them to know just one part of God’s big story. He’s given us His Word that tells of His grand and awesome plan, from the first verse to the last. I want my kids to know the Truth, not just a morality tale or two.

The Gospel Is About What God Is Doing

If we just take the Bible in isolated parts, we miss the flow of God. And the flow is important to understanding that the Gospel isn’t just a group of ideas. Rather, it’s a plan that a loving God designed and implemented to save humans.

Ideas aren’t as personal as a plan. The plan runs the length of Scripture. So, for example, we hear Jesus say in 1 Corinthians 11, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.