Making Sure Kids Know the Gospel: A Gospel Catechism for Teenagers

I had a chilling moment in my third year of youth ministry. I came to the last day of a study with senior boys. I had taught them for three years. We had gone through John and Romans. I was certain they knew so much.

So on the last day I decided to ask this basic question as our whole lesson: “Guys, what is the Gospel?”


No answers.

For three years we had met. I had talked about the Gospel in our lessons. I had used the word “Gospel” a thousand times. But I had overlooked one critical detail – did they know the Gospel? I had done far too much assuming.

Since then, I open every Bible study with a Gospel catechism. It’s something I would recommend to every small group leader. If nothing else – if we fail in every way – let no child leave our ministries without knowing clearly what the Gospel is.

Here is the Gospel catechism I use to open all studies:

What does Gospel mean?
(Good news) 

What is the good news?
(Junior High Answer: God loves sinners through Christ.
Senior High Answer: God loves sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.) 

What is the Gospel in big picture terms?
(Christ is King.) 

Is Christianity more about what God has done in Jesus or more about what we do for Jesus?
(More about what God has done for us in Jesus.)


Click here to read more from Cameron Cole.

Cameron Cole has been the Director of Youth Ministries for eighteen years, and in January of 2016 his duties expanded to include Children, Youth, and Families. He is the founding chairman of Rooted Ministry, an organization that promotes gospel-centered youth ministry. He is the co-editor of “Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practice Guide” (Crossway, 2016). Cameron is the author of Therefore, I Have Hope: 12 Truths that Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy (Crossway, 2018), which won World Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year (Accessible Theology) and was runner up for The Gospel Coalition’s Book of the Year (First-Time Author). He is also the co-editor of The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School (New Growth Press) and the author of Heavenward: How Eternity Can Change Your Life on Earth (Crossway, 2024). Cameron is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University undergrad, and summa cum laude graduate from Wake Forest with an M.A. in Education. He holds a Masters in Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary.

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