Culturally Relevant Jesus

Culturally Relevant Jesus

It was Missions Conference weekend at our church and we had missionaries from Burkina Faso, Africa (their blog is here). Debbie and Steve (missionaries) did a great job giving a snapshot of their ministry overseas. During the Sunday School hour, Debbie talked with the kids. Of course, they were fascinating by the trinkets and relics she brought from the country, but I was fascinated with the pictures she used while teaching. She showed us this picture and then asked what Bible story it was:

It took me a minute to figure it out because I’m so used to seeing it illustrated a different way. These pictures were completely set in an African context and I was shocked to suddenly be thinking, “No, that’s not right. They’ve drawn that all wrong!” How quickly we become ethnocentric without even realizing it!

Another thing that struck me about the pictures she displayed was the fact that most of our kids had never heard the stories the pictures were illustrating. They didn’t know about Jesus at the temple when he was twelve. They didn’t know about Jesus’ first miracle! Now, I understand that parents are the spiritual leaders, but what am I teaching these kids?

I always struggle with this one — do I teach them immediately applicable things? Obey your parents, pray, be self-controlled, etc, etc, etc. Or do I give them a biblical background and let the stories speak for themselves? I don’t want kids walking away from my ministry with a head full of knowledge and no application. Neither do I want them walking away with a life of “good character”, but no foundation to base it on. So what’s the balance?

Either way, I’m completely impressed with the pictures and wish I could get my hands on a few just to mix things up at church a bit. I found some more here. Take a gander. This was one of my favorites:


Let me know what “out of the box” resources you use in your ministry, and how do you feel about story/character building balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. Lindsey, where did you find these online? So cool… This is a great post and I love your blog!

  2. Lindsey says:


    Most of them were on this website: I couldn’t find where you could order any though.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I love your site

  4. Just dropping by to say I really enjoy your site.