Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids

Jack Klumpenhower
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In this transformative resource for youth workers, children’s ministry teachers, parents, and VBS volunteers, Jack Klumpenhower teaches how to discover the gospel connections in every Bible story. Show Them Jesus is an instruction manual for teachers of kids and teens written by a lay Bible teacher with thirty years of experience.

With a simple framework and real-life examples, Jack helps teachers identify and communicate the heart of the gospel to each child in each lesson.

Show Them Jesus challenges the culture of low-stakes, low-expectations teaching and invites teachers to do nothing less than teach and treasure the good news of Jesus—in every lesson.

Instead of leaving kids with lessons about changing their behavior, Show Them Jesus offers a new way by sweetly, masterfully, and powerfully showing kids how the gospel really applies to their lives and changes them for eternity.

In sharing example after example from his years of experience, Jack provides readers with a more enriched view of Jesus and how to teach this gospel perspective in a classroom setting. This life-changing tool will complement and enrich existing lessons or teaching materials, and it’s appropriate for teachers of children and teens in any setting.

Millions of church kids are growing up and deciding to leave the church. If we are not primarily teaching our kids about God’s love for us in Christ, we may miss our opportunity to capture their hearts. Don’t miss your opportunity to show them Jesus.


Jack Klumpenhower, the son of a missionary pastor, is a television news writer by trade but a Bible teacher by passion. Jack explains, "I spent fifteen years of my life writing television news. I guess it taught me how to write. But it also taught me about news and the people whose stories make news. I saw that no matter how thrilling and successful their stories, Jesus is an even more exciting newsmaker. And no matter how tragic their stories, his Good News gives hope. Now I write about him. I write about the best news ever." Married with two children, Jack is a freelance writer living in beautiful Durango, Colorado. 

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"Sunday school curriculum is relentlessly moralistic. That is, it tells you what to do, but not how to do it. Jack Klumpenhower shows us how by taking us back to the person and work of Christ. Every Sunday school teacher should read this book."
Paul Miller, Director of seeJesus; author of A Praying Life and A Loving Life

"The most common way of teaching a Bible story to children involves holding up the main human character and encouraging (or discouraging) children to be like him or her. Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids provides welcome relief. The book is packed full of biblical reasons, practical guidance, and bountiful examples for teachers and parents who want to show children Jesus when they teach the Bible."
Starr Meade, Author of Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions based on the Shorter Catechism and Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story Book

"Klumpenhower states the problem well: 'Today, a frightening number of kids are growing up in churches and Christian homes without ever being captured by the gospel of Jesus.' We want them to know about Jesus, but we leave them with lessons about behavior and they leave the church as soon as possible. Here’s a book that sweetly, masterfully, and powerfully tells us what the gospel really is and how it can really change a child’s life and eternity."
Bryan Chapell, Author of Christ-Centered Preaching; pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL

"Show Them Jesus is a must-read for every youth worker, children’s ministry teacher, parent, and VBS volunteer. Jack Klumpenhower does a masterful job helping us learn how to discover the gospel connections in every Bible story. In sharing example after example from his years of experience, Jack gives the reader a front-row seat in his classroom to learn how to give children a 'rock-their-world' vision of Jesus. This is the perfect training tool for pastors and children’s ministry leaders to use to train their teachers. I’ll be buying a copy for all my children’s ministry leaders."
Marty Machowski, Family Life Pastor, Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA; author of the Gospel Story for Kids curriculum

"Jack's book has done a very rare thing—he has taken the message of grace and applied it simply and directly to both teachers' hearts and the children they shepherd.  He doesn't settle for mere external obedience in his students but bravely and compassionately goes much deeper, seeking out their hearts. This is a great application of Serge's values to a central part of every church—its children."
Bob Osborne, Executive Director, Serge

"Show Them Jesus deals with the tough questions that keep children’s ministry leaders up at night. How do I encourage kids to repent and obey without becoming a legalist? Should I tone down Old Testament violence when I’m teaching fourth graders? Klumpenhower answers these questions and more with his eyes on Jesus from first to last. But he doesn’t just speak to the head. He engages heart and hands as well, giving teachers an inspiring and practical framework for preparing Bible lessons, classroom environments, and family ministry where Jesus is the focus. I plan to purchase a copy for every volunteer in our children’s ministry."
Jared Kennedy, Family Pastor, Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY

"In Show Them Jesus, Jack Klumpenhower tells how to make Spirit-fed renewal, which springs from a foundation of love for Jesus, the overarching theme of our teaching. He impresses on us the importance of being 'good-news' teachers who 'exit' every Bible story through the cross of Christ. Make your aim in teaching to build in your kids a love for Jesus, because that’s where the Christian life begins. Read this book for your kids; and reread it for yourself."
Nancy Winter, Curriculum writer and editor; long-time Sunday school teacher

"This book is a must-read for every Christian and challenges us to ask the question: How are we handling the good news about Jesus? Do we really believe that Jesus is the goal of God’s great story of redemption—'the way, the truth, and the life'? Jack reminds us that our teaching and application of the Scripture is to be unflinchingly centered on Jesus. Why? So we can all fall more in love with him and worship him wholeheartedly!"
Rosemarie Green, Director of Children’s Ministry, New Life Church, Glenside, PA

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43 Reviews

  • 5
    Great Book!

    Posted by Joel D. on 06 21 2021

    This is a great book, that is helpful for any disciple-maker (not just for children's ministry workers). Some simple and helpful tools for seeing Jesus in any passage of Scripture. Consistently points out the dangerous, yet all too familiar slippery slope of teaching moralism from Scripture - instead of the Gospel. Every chapter gives multiple practical tools and/or ideas for implement the concepts right away - whether you are a ministry volunteer or a parent. Dozens of examples of how he has pointed to Jesus from multiple passages of Scripture. A chapter, plus multiple stories throughout the book, on leading one another to see and repent from root/heart-level sin beneath our surface sins. A good chapter on considering how rewards systems might diminish, or adorn, the glory of Jesus in the gospel we are called to proclaim. Excellent book. I bought a copy for all of our small group leaders, as this fits right in with the concepts that we have been trying to learn about and implement as we try to make disciples of Christ who love God, love one another, and live to impact the world.

  • 5
    Amazing book!!!

    Posted by Casey Fender on 01 11 2021

    This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. If you are a parent or leader, please pick this book up! It has changed the way I think, and it is not a 3 step plan; rather, a biblical look at our calling as parents and leaders. Well done!

  • 4
    I love this book and wish I had had it when ...

    Posted by Shelbey Pritchard on 07 28 2018

    A while back, a ministry acquaintance of mine decided to impart a little "wisdom" to this children's pastor. His advice? Well, in the context of discussing preaching and teaching, he said: "Kids just need to be told what to do." Explaining, he adding "Obeying parents, reading Bible, that kind of thing." Within context, he was heavily implying that they don't need theology, or the teaching about why we do what we do. Instead, he was settling for simple moralism. As an amusing contrast, I had begun reading Show Them Jesus only shortly before that. Whatever good intentions may have lain in his heart, that acquaintance sadly failed to remember the axiom "Rules, without relationship, breeds rebellion." Show Them Jesus takes the Biblical philosophy that showing children Jesus, and helping them know him, allows morals and behavior to flow naturally from that relationship. Rules that children will want to follow themselves, rather than complain about and find every chance to break or bend, which is inevitable with simple moralism. The book is divided into two sections. The first is "Why Teach The Good News" and the second "How to Teach the Good News." Each chapter within those sections has a title, a subtitle, and a relevant quote. For example Chapter 4 has "The Factory-Preset Fourth Grader" with the subtitle "Because the good news changes hard hearts." While the titles are usually inventive and fun, they are also insightful enough to specifically address the problem and solution offered in that chapter. The basic premise of the book is summed up in a statement made early on. "Rather than coax the kids into temporarily acting better, Joe [a fellow teacher at the author's church] told about Jesus and trusted God to use that message to make the kids become better." The author, upon discovering this, tried it, tested it, and found it to be so true that he wanted to share it with the world. Hence, the book. At it's brightest, Show Them Jesus is a brilliant beacon of hope that has the power to turn the stagnant and ineffective moralism upside down and inside out by reminding Christians of the power of God's good news in Christ. Like a surgical knife, it cuts away at false motivations and selfish desires to do right, and makes way for the Bible's truth to penetrate our hearts. He offers the problem, he offers a solution, and now it's our turn to step up to the plate and follow his lead in showing others Jesus.

  • 5
    I love this book

    Posted by B. Nizza on 03 24 2018

    This book helped to confirm how I teach kids God's character and not focus on what they are to do right, but this challenged me to go further. The gospel included with every story is something I've not been intentional enough about. Very helpful insights. The author demonstrates grace and humility in his writing, never preachy or talking down to the reader. I am recommending it to colleagues!

  • 5
    I like the different approaches to reading it

    Posted by Brita Goss on 02 20 2018

    Great book to ground me as I start leading in the children's ministry in a church plant. Excellent examples to implement for teachers, parents and ministry leaders.

  • 5
    I have a third-grade boy likes this so much and ...

    Posted by Amanda C. on 02 20 2018

    This author takes a completely different approach to teaching kids about Jesus Christ. He thoroughly immerses kids into scripture. He encourages them to think outside the box and shows them look for Jesus throughout the entire Bible. He also isnÕt afraid to show kids the uglier side of human nature the Bible brings out. He points out that in order to be an effective teacher in leading kids to the Lord, you have to read and study the Bible regularly and believe it is completely reliable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to parents and childrenÕs ministry leaders.

  • 5
    Highly recommended for families

    Posted by BookWorm on 01 28 2018

    A great read recommended by a great friend. Bought copies for my teenage children and my coworkers.

  • 5
    Highly recommend to all families wanting to teach theology to your ...

    Posted by Lisa on 01 11 2018

    Loved the many examples from the authors time spent as a Sunday school teacher. Real world examples of showing children how to see Jesus all throughout scripture, and that understanding His love and grace is what kids need- not moral/behavior lessons.

  • 5
    great for kids & the adults reading it

    Posted by Brio on 01 10 2018

    This book is life changing. Honestly, and IÕm not the only one who thinks that - another friend who also read it agrees. I think it is default in the American Church to reduce the Bible to moral lessons.. maybe just default in the human heart. I think we often know this internally somewhere but donÕt know how to stop doing it or something? Jack opened my eyes to so much in this book; as much for my own heart as for the kids I teach and for my children. I want to buy this book for everyone I know! Read it.

  • 5
    Great for adults too!

    Posted by Coach Vissers on 12 31 2017

    While the focused, intended audience of this book is for teachers who work with children and youth; it is an excellent read for all kinds of teachers-teachers for adults and informal teachers as well. Jesus is what we all need and it is an endless frontier. There is always more to know and to discover. want children, my own and the ones I_ teach to be in love with Jesus and not just be ÒChurch peopleÓ and I_ found this an excellent resource to encourage and exhort my heart and also offer practical ideas to implement.

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