The Great Escape

Tim Lock is one our Crosslands Seminary students, a pastor in North London, and a dad of 3. He writes here about how his new children’s book The Great Escape came about partly as a result of a Crosslands residential project. 

As a church leader, I’m so grateful for Crosslands and all the ways it has equipped me to serve the local church. On the Seminary programme, modules on handling the bible, mission, church history and pastoral care have been incredibly insightful. However, I had not anticipated nearing the end of the course as a published children’s author!

The inspiration for my book, The Great Escape, grew as we began work on a module called “Culture and Context”. For a project, I chose to analyse the work and success of Julia Donaldson, the “outrageously talented prize-winning author of some of the world’s best-loved children’s books”,[1] including Zog, Stick Man, and modern classic The Gruffalo.

Donaldson’s books are fun, action-packed, and highly memorable, owing to the creative rhyming scheme that makes reading them such a delight. They are a gift that create genuine community both in the classroom and at home, and they have the power to engage even the most distracted children. The Great Escape was an attempt to harness the genius of that style of writing and use it to capture young hearts with the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

As a former primary school teacher, current Pastor of an FIEC church in London, and a dad of 3 young kids, I have a passion for teaching the bible to children. As I wrote the book, (which involved the best part of 20 minutes a night for 2 months, sitting outside my kid’s bedroom!) I had in mind my family and the children at our church. My desire was to write a faithful account of the Exodus story that they would remember and which made much of Jesus!

I chose to write about the Exodus story because it is an amazing display of God’s power and goodness and because it is a foundational account for understanding the rest of the bible. In the process of writing, I was struck anew by God’s patience and love for his rebellious people, his ability to keep all of his promises and his mighty power to save. My hope is that The Great Escape would provide families with confidence to read Old Testament narrative and to increasingly see how Jesus is the centre of the whole bible story.

Since it’s been completed, The Great Escape has already been gifted to children attending Exodus-themed Holiday Clubs. In churches studying Exodus for their sermon series, the book has been shared with families, to help them open up the themes at home. I even took it into my local primary school, to read with years 1-3 for World Book Day. How might you use it?

You can buy The Great Escape by Tim Lock from Onwards and Upwards from 1st April.