Starting this Wednesday night, our middle school ministry will be starting a series focusing on the Biblical teaching about God as Trinity. In hearing about this endeavor, lots of folks say things like, “Are you joking? Middle Schoolers and the Trinity? Dana, You’re nuts!” While the verdict about me being nuts is still out, I don’t think this can be used as evidence of it.
Here are a few reasons why I think teaching middle schoolers about the Trinity is crucially important for our youth ministry and yours.
- The Trinity is Who God is! There is no truth more important than the truth about who God is. There is nothing more important to the Christian than knowing the truth about who their God is. Therefore, if God is Triune, then it is our duty and delight to understand and exalt in the truth about what He is! If we are not taking time to teach our kids about who God is and what God is like, then what the heck are we doing and can it even be called ministry?
- The Trinity is Essential to the Christian Faith & Salvation. Without the Trinity, there is no gospel. Without the doctrine of the Trinity, there is no Father who sends His One and Only Son (John 3:16) to die as a substitute in the place of sinners (1 John 4:10) and there is no Holy Spirit given to reveal Christ, convict of sin, and make sinners alive (Titus 3:4-5). To lose the Trinity is to lose the very foundation of the gospel. If there is no Trinity, there is no gospel. If there is no Trinity, there is no salvation. In agreement with the Athanasian creed, the Trinity is the core doctrine of the Christian faith, “which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.” It’s that important.
- The Trinity is Christianity’s Most Distinctive Teaching. Michael Reeves said it well, “What makes Christianity absolutely distinct is the identity of our God. Which God we worship: that is the article of faith that stands before all others. The bedrock of our faith is nothing less than God Himself, and every aspect of the gospel – creation, revelation, salvation – is only Christian insofar as it is the creation, revelation, and salvation of this God, the Triune God.” The Trinity is what sets Christians apart from Muslims, Hinduism, New Ageism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, and every other kind of faith. Other religions, cults, or belief systems have versions of grace, sin, judgment, etc., but no other faith in all the world believes that God is Triune outside the Christian faith.
- The Trinity is Gravely Misunderstood by Many Christians. Whether by using faulty analogies (an egg, a cup of ice water, a father/son/grandfather, etc.) or simply by poor teaching, lots of Christians misunderstand what the Bible teaches about the Trinity and tend to spread their misunderstanding to others. Kevin DeYoung hits it on the head when he says, “When it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, most Christians are poor in their understanding, poorer in their articulation, and poorest of all in seeing any way in which the doctrine matters in real life.” With this kind of misunderstanding among adults, how much more important is it that we lay a good foundation for our youth?
- The Trinity is Often Ignored or Downplayed by Many Christians. Often times because of confusion and complexity, many churches and individual Christians today see the Trinity as something that may be kind of important, but not something that is essential, beautiful, or exciting. They may give the doctrine of the Trinity a certain lip service of allegiance, but in their hearts they’re yawning. Instead of glorying and rejoicing in the Trinity, many Christians simply neglect it.
For these reasons, and many more, my middle school team and I thought it was worthwhile to school our students in the Trinity so they would have their misunderstandings corrected, their faith strengthened, their hearts overjoyed, their lives guided, and their minds blown by how good our Glorious and how Triune our God is.
If you would, please grant us a prayer that our gloriously Triune God would open all our eyes in this series to see how glorious He is.
If you would like to see an overview of our middle school series on the Trinity, click here to see the parent information pack we will be sending out on Wednesday night.