By Elyssa VanGilst, Global Encounters Staff — Curriculum Development
What does it mean to follow Christ, to walk as he walked? As Christians, we are called to live by higher standards. We are called to have a relationship with the Lord, to love others, to forgive, to serve, to spread the Gospel, to be holy. Why?
The Christian life should be centered around the Gospel. The good news is that if we put our faith and trust in the work of Jesus Christ, our sins will be forgiven, and we can be restored to a right relationship with God. When the Christian walk is Gospel centered, we begin to see that Jesus calls us to live the life that he lived. Christ set the example for how we should walk. The 2014 GE Curriculum contains 7 lessons that will teach how to live as Christ lived.
Here is an exclusive look at what the teams will be teaching around the world this summer, along with an example of how each concept will be communicated through crafts, games, and stories.
The Gospel For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16 Without the Gospel, nothing else matters. Every single person born into this world is a sinner. We have broken Gods laws, and deserve to die. Because of his great love for us, God sent his only son, his perfect son, to take the punishment that you and I deserve. If we repent of our sins, ask God to forgive our sins, and put our faith and trust in the work of Christ on the cross, we can have salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation, it is a free gift that is offered to each of us. The game team will be teaching a game where the kids have to cross a bridge while working together, to illustrate the point that Jesus is our bridge to God.
Know Him As You Are Known Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. — Philippians 3:8 Once we are saved, God desires to have a personal relationship with each of us. He created us for a relationship with himself. Just as relationships with others take effort, we need to be intentional about our relationship with God. Having a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life. Without it, we have no motivation to live life for Christ. The lesson team will be telling the story of David–a man after God’s own heart–as an example of someone who has a personal relationship with God.
Love As He Loved We love because God first loved us. — 1 John 4:19 When we understand how Jesus loves us, how can we not love others? He loves us with a sacrificial, unconditional, everlasting, penetrating love. He gave his life for us. Jesus’ love gives us the power to truly love others, even when they are unlovable. The craft team will be decorating white stickers with markers. Each child will have to give away all of their stickers, to show that we need to give love freely. Once God gives us his love, we should freely share that love with others.
Forgive As He Forgave Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. — Ephesians 4:32 Forgiveness is choosing to release our offenders. Jesus has forgiven us our sins. Because he has forgiven us, we should forgive others, even when they do not deserve it. When we forgive, we release our offenders to God, instead of holding them responsible for what they did, or desiring revenge. This does not mean that we were not hurt, or that what the offender did was not wrong. Forgiveness is choosing to release our offenders, and allowing the Lord to heal the hurt. When we choose forgiveness, we can break free from chains of bitterness. The game team will be teaching the kids that we need to be quick to release our offenders by playing Extreeeeme Hot Potato.
Serve As He Served For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. — Mark 10:45 Jesus is the example of a true servant. Through his death on the cross, he gave us the example of what it means to serve others. Through humility and love, we need to serve others with no other motivation than to please God. We should not serve to look good, for recognition or praise from others, or because we think we will earn a better standing with someone because of our service. Jesus served others in a sacrificial way, without expecting anything in return, often for people who did not deserve it. The craft team will help the kids decorate eye glasses, to illustrate the concept that in order to serve others, we need to see others as Christ sees them.
Go Because He Came Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. — Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus came to this earth to save us from our sin. We need to tell others the good news of salvation. As Christians, we are responsible for spreading the Gospel to all nations. Because of the great love that God has shown us, we should desire that others know his love for themselves. The craft team will teach the kids to make wordless book bracelets, and how to explain the colors and present the Gospel using the bracelet.
Be Holy As He Is Holy As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:14-16 As Christians, God has set us apart for a special purpose. He has called us to be holy, as he is holy. It is important that we set aside our body, soul, and spirit, for his use and not for our own. What we put into our minds and hearts will be reflected in how we live and how we treat others. We are called to a standard of holiness. The craft team will be making ornaments, decorated from the inside out, to illustrate the concept that what we put into our minds and hearts will be reflected on the outside. This summer, GE teams all around the world will be sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Kids from countries across the globe will learn how to walk with Christ through creative crafts, innovative games, and captivating stories. Pray for the teams as they communicate the Gospel this summer, and that the name of Jesus would be glorified among the nations.
Elyssa VanGilst is the Curriculum Development Coordinator for Global Encounters. For the past decade, Elyssa has been involved in various children’s ministries, including GE trips to Romania, Ukraine, Ecuador, and South Asia. When she’s not writing GE curriculum, Elyssa enjoys teaching music lessons, playing violin in several southern California orchestras, reading, and spending time with her family.