By Beth Frank
When I think of tweens, the first word that comes to mind would not be simple. Also, when I think about the Gospel, I definitely would not think about the word “simple” at first. Tweens are complex individuals that still have one foot firmly rooted in childhood, while they are starting to mature emotionally, physically, and socially. It’s an in-between stage as the name “tween” implies and many people far more experienced than me have written about the complexities of this age group.
I am the mother of a tween so I am getting a front-row seat to what being a tween in 2021 looks like and "simple" would not come close to describing it. The Gospel is another complex subject that has been discussed and studied for thousands of years. Sometimes just using words doesn’t seem enough to adequately explain the depth, greatness, and how profound the Gospel truly is. However, we should not let that keep us from regularly and clearly presenting the gospel to the tweens God has placed in our life. Here are three simple ways that we can do just that!
Simply tell a story!
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.I will praise you among your assembled people.”
There is power in a story! Even more power when the story is your own. This age group is still captivated by hearing a story. Simply share how the Gospel changed and is still changing your life. Think about it, does the tween in your life know the details of how you came to Christ? Maybe they know the basic story, but as they mature and develop you can share with them more and more details that they are able to understand and appreciate.
All salvation stories start and end with grace; grace is desperately needed and grace abundantly given. There is beauty in your story no matter where you came from or what you did before salvation. Share that beauty with your daughter, tell her your God story and let her experience with you again the awe of that life-changing grace.
Simply speak clearly!
“Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”
Even in this short post, I have used different terminology about the Gospel. As adults, we sometimes throw around different words and phrases that sense to us but can cause confusion when we are trying to introduce the Gospel. For example…You need to be saved. Have you asked Jesus in your heart? Are you a Christ-follower? Have you been born again?
There is nothing wrong with any of these questions, but if we use them interchangeably with the tween we are sharing with, it can be confusing. Also, some church terminology has been long used but doesn’t make sense to a child that hasn’t spent much time in church. Make sure you are speaking clearly and not just using “churchisms”.
The Gospel is complex, but it is simple enough for a child. Jesus told us this in Luke 18:16. Take the time to think about how you want to present the Gospel clearly, what terminology you want to use, and try to stick with that each time you talk with your tween.
Simply be consistent!
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
There is nothing that beats consistency with kids… especially when it comes to the Gospel. Do your best to consistently share the Gospel - day in and day out - with those tweens you come in contact with.
When a friend lets them down, bring it back to the Gospel. When life sends them a curveball, bring it back to the Gospel. When they are hurt, scared, or confused, bring it back to the Gospel. Simply be consistent. The Gospel is not something you share at Easter and then repeat once a year. It needs to be weaved into your everyday conversations.
Sharing the Gospel is a big task, but don’t let it overwhelm you. As you allow the Gospel to work in your heart and life, share those experiences. Lean in on the Holy Spirit for His help. As Corrie Ten Boom once said,
“Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”
Most importantly, pray that God will draw those tweens to Him and they will be sensitive to His voice in their lives.
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