Deborah Harrell & Jack Klumpenhower’s What's Up: Discovering the Gospel, Jesus, and Who You Really Are


Jack Klumpenhower’s Show Them Jesus was my dark horse favorite book of 2014. I had never heard of Klumpenhower and had heard nothing about the book. But man did it blow me away—the deftness with which Klumpenhower revealed Jesus was refreshing.

I immediately jumped at the opportunity to receive this new project he partnered with Deborah Harrell to write. I received a teacher’s guide and student’s guide for What’s Up: Discovering the Gospel, Jesus, and Who You Really Are.

I trialed this with my two oldest daughters. I took bits from each lesson and used it in family worship. They loved it. It’s fresh, engaging, and aimed for the heart. Harrell & Klumpenhower tackle issues, insecurities, and sins that kids deal with daily.

But they reveal Jesus and the good news in a way that children get. They don’t mince words or water it down. There’s depth to the gospel they present. For Harrell & Klumpenhower the truth that God loves us unconditionally in Christ is foundational. They also urge children to pursue being like Christ, not to gain God’s favor, but because of what Jesus already did. There’s a really great lesson on godly repentance in the context of the parable of the prodigal son where they tie all of this together beautifully. They remind children that God approaches us as we repent as the father did the prodigal son—with delight, with love, and with open arms. That fuels a readiness to repent.

I’ve taught children’s Sunday School in several different churches. It can be difficult to find good material. Even in solid churches sometimes the curriculum can be less than gospel-focused. I’ve often found myself supplementing or ad libbing to keep the focus on Jesus. I can’t recommend What’s Up more highly. I was regularly challenged by preparing each lesson. You can use this material with confidence that Jesus will be front and center and that teacher and student will receive a heavy dose of gospel.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and a contributor in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the project manager for the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Mathew offers freelance editing and book formatting. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.