By: Mark Larson

Have you ever thought about how much goes in to actually driving a car? I’m not even talking about the factory where it’s produced or the marketing campaigns that convinced you to buy it, I’m just talking about how much information you need to know in order to be qualified to operate a car. Imagine for a minute I brought some guy living in an igloo from Antarctica to L.A. in order to teach him to drive.

Where do I start? State Laws, filling up on gas, how to discreetly text and drive, (I’m kidding, don’t text & drive). Just as importantly, where do I stop? Do I really need to begin explaining that the engine propels the car by internal combustion fueled by the deflagration of gasoline (thank you Wikipedia)?

It would be incredibly overwhelming for a dude from Antarctica to process all the information for driving, especially if I was throwing the really complex stuff like deflagration of gasoline at him. It would be best to start with the basics and work my way up from there as he is ready.

In much the same way we have a delicate balance to maintain in our ministry. Yes, our students need to learn a lot about Jesus. But we need to be very intentional about where we spend our time because if we’re operating at a level above their capacity we run the risk of losing them. Our students aren't from Antarctica, but for some of them this Jesus 'thing' makes as much sense as that car does to my friend living in an igloo.

In no way am I saying dumb down the Gospel or avoid the rough parts that offend our American sensibilities. But it might be better to wait on the explanation that Jesus’ usage of the title ‘Son of Man’ is not just referring to his humanity but actually has its roots in Daniel 7 where one like a Son of Man is given authority by Yahweh to judge and Jesus applying this to Himself was a pretty clear claim to divinity. All true. All awesome. All needed….eventually.

But that level of Bible teaching may be more in the ‘deflagration of gasoline’ category than “dude, just push that petal and you’ll move” realm of teaching. My students would have no framework in which to process Daniel 7 and if I tried unpacking the Hebrew imagery and language I would most likely lose that conversation.

You know your students better than anyone. There’s no way we can make a one size fits all of what’s the right level of teaching to start with, because all our students have different backgrounds and levels of Biblical understanding. So this hard work is up to you!

Just like I would explain a gas pedal and wait on the deflagration of gasoline with some dude from Antarctica, may I encourage you to wait on the Greek & Hebrew and start with something your students can grab a hold of!

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