Looking for a quick, easy way to assess the level of your students’ theological understanding?
Here it is: Ask them to give you a one minute summary of the message of the gospel. In a nutshell, can they explain to you (at a 30,000 foot, macro level) what the Bible says about God and man’s relationship across the sweep of history?
Assessing Your Teenager’s Theological Understanding
It’s always good to know how you’re doing when it comes to helping your students grasp the big picture of the gospel message. Sometimes when we break out Biblical truth into individual Bible stories or topical lessons, our teenagers can miss the macro view of the message that stands at the very center of Christian faith and doctrine. It’s important they grasp the larger framework, so they have a conceptual context for the weekly lessons you teach.
So this week, I’m challenging you to take an assessment of whether your teenagers really get the big picture and whether they can articulate it to others.
If the results you gather from your simple one minute survey yield an encouraging string of perfect 10s, celebrate! Then continue exploring ways to help them drill down even deeper into the theology of that macro message so they can even more effectively share God’s truth with others.
But if the results of your assessment are less than stellar, look at the bright side. At least you’ll know that it’s time to work on this area of your youth ministry’s teaching content.
I can’t over emphasize how important this grasp of the big picture is – both for the long-term spiritual commitment of your individual students as they graduate and emancipate, but also for the sake of Christ’s mission. For how can anyone explain the message of the gospel to others without being able to actually put words to it themselves?
Providing Students a Structural Framework
At Dare 2 Share we use a simple GOSPEL acrostic to give teenagers a structural framework for the big picture and to help them share Jesus’ message with others. It goes like this:
GOD created us to be with Him.
OUR sins separate us from God.
SINS cannot be removed by good deeds.
PAYING the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
EVERYONE who trust in Him has eternal life.
LIFE with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
The core truths reflected in these six short statements are theologically rich and deep. That’s why I’ll be spending the next few issues of energize digging deeper into the theology behind each of these statements. We’ll be looking at the Scriptural basis for each and exploring some conversation starters your teenagers can use to talk about these six truths with their unreached friends.
Unleashing Theological Truth in the Real World
To give you a feel for how empowering this kind of basic theological understanding is, I’ll close with this excerpt from an email I received a couple weeks ago. The young person quoted below recently learned the GOSPEL acrostic. They’ve lead over 20 people to Christ in a few short months. Here’s a recounting of just one of their GOSPEL encounters in their own words:
Sitting next to me was a girl about my age. I began talking to her about her favorite movies, music, and such. Then I began to ask her if she believed in God, heaven, and if she thought the Bible was real.
The next 15 minutes were me listening to her share what she believed, and putting in my two cents here and there. Then after she was done, I asked the question, “So, after saying all that, let me ask you, if you died right now, would you go to heaven?”
Her response was, “I don’t know, how can you be 100% sure?”
And I told her to listen to “this.” I explained the GOSPEL acrostic (I know it’s a guide line, but I practically did it verbatim), and at the very end she said, “So wait, you’re saying all I have to do is believe?”
I led her to Christ immediately after. That part only took one minute.
So do your quick assessment this week and see where your students are. Do they grasp the big picture of the gospel and can they articulate it clearly?
If you determine that you need help in this area of your teaching content, you can find a variety of free GOSPEL acrostic resources on our website. Plus, Dare 2 Share has recently released a new DVD curriculum in our web store entitled Life in 6 Words: The GOSPEL Explored—based on our popular YouTube GOSPEL video featuring spoken word artist Jason Petty (“Propaganda”). Check it out!