Last time we talked about how it all starts at the cross. Now I would like to throw out a few ideas about how we can use the cross. I know that sounds weird to say, but most people are very visual and you can really make an impact with your students by using visual things as part of your teaching.
One thought, usually for a Good Friday message, involves using a wooden cross. Have a devotion centering around the fact that unfortunately as sinners, we put Jesus on the cross… He in fact, was pierced for our transgressions. Pre-drill holes into the cross and give each student a nail that will fit into those holes. Explain to students the magnitude of what Jesus did for them on the cross and after some personal mediation and prayer on that, have them put their nail in the cross. This obviously is more of a sad, reflective time that really is a great teaching point on Good Friday.
Here is another message for the Good Friday/Easter timeframe. One year as a children’s message, I had a wooden cross up front. I explained to the kids that Jesus died because of sin. I had three pieces of paper and I focused on three things. I wrote My Sin on one piece, Your Sin on another piece, and All Sin on the third piece of paper and nailed them individually to the cross while talking about the specific sin I was putting up. After all three were nailed to the cross I said to make sure to come back to church on Easter Sunday to see what happens to those sins. This wasn’t regular paper though–it was flash paper. This type of paper vanishes when you light it on fire! So, as I was doing the message on Sunday I reminded the kids about the sins Jesus died for, but proclaimed that He is alive, and not only that, but our sins have been forgiven–in fact, it is like they are gone (as I talked about each sin again I lit each piece of paper and they vanished!) Obviously this idea could work for all ages!
Finally, I would like to encourage you to have a prayer cross with your kids. Each week we end our youth group night by praying specifically for people and situations. We physically write each prayer request on a sticky or post-it note and then attach it to the cross. We pray each week for the prayers on the cross and I also pray for the petitions privately. Then, when God answers those prayers, we move the prayers from the cross to the answered prayers wall. This is a great activity to let the students know that you care for them and the group cares about them. It also teaches them that God does in fact answer each of our prayers!
I know that you all have great ideas about using crosses in your ministry. It is so important to remember that as church workers, we should always focus on the message of the cross! Blessings to you as you help keep your students focused on that message!
May God bless you as we continue Servin’, Lovin’ and Praisin’ Him!
Published January 2011