I really hate spiders. OK, it’s more than just hate… I’m terrified of them. Today, I found a dead one in one of the ethernet ports of a wireless router and had to clean out the port because it was freaking me out. This post has nothing to do with spiders, though. I was looking for a picture in Flickr with the keywords “peace with God” and the above picture stood out to me… for more than just the spider comment (BTW, I used to think I wanted to go to Australia… this is the second spider I’ve heard about in Australia that I would rather not encounter!)
One of the biggest challenges, I think, in ministering to kids is trying to explain salvation… more specifically, how do you know if you are “in” or how do you know if someone else is “in?”
[If you are a fan of the television show 24 and have not seen the season finale, then you might want to skip the next paragraph to avoid any kind of spoiler.]
In the season finale of 24, the show’s main character Jack Bauer is supposedly on his deathbed. Now, Jack is known for taking any measures necessary to get information that he needs to save the world, even if it means torturing or killing someone. Being close to death, Jack sincerely is searching to make peace with God and seek God’s forgiveness. He calls upon an imam (a Muslim cleric) to confess to and seek God’s mercy. Is Jack “in” or is he “out” when he stands before God?
C.S. Lewis posed a similar situation in his book The Last Battle. At the end of the story, there is a young Calormene who has faithfully followed the false god Tash rather than Aslan yet finds himself in Aslan’s country (heaven). Aslan answers the confused young man by saying, “all service done unto Tash has been done unto me.” Lewis implies a measure of grace to those who are sincerely searching out God yet find him through non-Christian avenues.
I’m not suggesting that all paths lead to God, which is a Universalist mindset. I am simply asking that we take a look at the criteria we teach kids when it comes to salvation and what it means to be “at peace with God.”
Over the next few posts, I want to take a look at how we evaluate whether someone is in or out and how I think we can help kids have a greater understanding of what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.
How would you evaluate if someone is “in?”
How do you present the idea of salvation to a child?
If the kids you minister to were asked to describe someone who follows God, what would their descriptions be? What would your description be?