Short but substantive read-aloud lessons to help families tether their lives to the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus.
Easy-to-lead family discipleship is just a click away.
Family discipleship often stalls with the lack of easily accessible, easy-to-use resources.
Even as a pastor-dad, I struggled to lead effective family discipleship.
Standard curriculums required a lot of prep work and were too long.
The material tended to motivate children with law more than gospel, encouraging them to be rule-keepers more than Jesus-lovers (of the Jesus who had loved them first).
It was a challenge to cobble resources for the long term. I could find something here and there, but consistency was a problem.
If I were going to lead family discipleship regularly, I needed something easy to use that didn't require a ton of preparation. Also, I wanted it to be distinctively Bible-based, Jesus-focused, and cross-tethered, with a DISTINCTIVELY redemptive worldview.
That's why I created Read-Aloud Theology.
Hi, my name is McKay Caston.
After serving for twenty-six years as a local church pastor and church planter, I now teach seminary and write full time.
I've been married to Kristy for 30 years, and we have three children, 27, 24, and 19. With B.A., M.Div., D.Min., and Ph.D. degrees, I also enjoy school. 🤓
When not developing seminary courses, teaching, or writing, I enjoy being at home and exploring the mountains of north Georgia.
My deep desire is for Read-Aloud Theology to help your family come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God’s grace by living all of life in view of the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus.
Now, easy-to-lead family discipleship is just a click away!
Read a lesson after dinner. Before bed. Before school. On vacation. Waiting in line. Whenever you want to "redeem the time."
In each lesson, you’ll find…
This is a family discipleship experience where everyone gets to participate.
Anyone in the family may read the lessons. In fact, consider taking turns. Sometimes the parents will read. Other times, let the kids.
The same goes for the discussion questions and the suggested closing prayer.
By the way, nobody is expected to have all the answers. The goal of the discussion is to process the lesson, ultimately helping each member of the family:
Subscribe with a free trial and receive two gifts just for trying Read-Aloud Theology with your family.
In addition to the bonus resources, subscribers with a free trial get FULL ACCESS to the ENTIRE lesson archive as well as new lessons every week.
While a digest of the latest new posts will be sent directly to your inbox every week, you may always find all lessons and “collections” at readaloudtheology.com.
You don’t need to search or cobble together a Bible and theology curriculum for your kids.
And you’ll never run out of fresh discipleship material that is easy to access and easy to use.
Be Part of a Supportive Community
With the ability to comment on lessons, share thoughts, suggestions, and questions, you’ll be part of a community of families who share your interest in helping their children come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God’s grace in the crucified and risen Jesus.
Read-Aloud Theology is a subscription-based resource you may try at no cost.
After your 7-day free trial, you’ll be billed for as little as $7.99/month (billed annually at a 20% savings) or only $9.99 on the monthly plan.
You may easily cancel at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is Read-Aloud Theology really for all ages?
Unless your children are very small, Read-Aloud Theology should be helpful for children and adults. Each lesson is short and simple (but not simplistic). The discussion questions give older children the opportunity to go much deeper. For very young children, I recommend a resource such as the Jesus Storybook Bible as a fantastic read-aloud discipleship tool.
2) How long should each lesson take?
Each lesson may be completed in as little as five minutes. Or, with the discussion questions, you may go much longer—as long as you’d like. This is why the lessons may be used for all ages. The content is adaptable for the age and stage of your family.
3) What about the big words?
In some lessons, especially in the Gospel lessons, I raise the bar a bit with terminology. Children are able to learn far more than we give them credit. It’s why small children are able to learn multiple languages at one time. So, I keep the big words in the lessons at times, but want to be sure to explain them clearly with simple illustrations. If you want to skip lessons with bigger concepts and come back later, that is totally fine. Use the material in the way that best serves your family.
The Centrality of Substitution
I deeply desire for Read-Aloud Theology to renew your heart by encountering the Father’s heart for you, awakening your soul more and more to the height, depth, width, and breadth of his deep, unrelenting love expressed most undeniably through the cross of Christ—that you would live all of life in view of that redemptive story, seeing, savoring, and celebrating the glorious grace of God in Jesus!
The story of redemption is the story of the Bible and of all history. The epicenter of that story is the cross of Christ, where he becomes a substitute for sinners, taking the place of judgment so that we can be forgiven and free.
Dr. Tim Keller says, “The key to spiritual renewal is the continual re-discovery of the gospel.”
Keeping with that philosophy, the message of the cross looms large in every lesson, with the goal being a “continual re-discovery of the gospel." Tethering all of our content to the cross, we long for believers to come alive to the present value of Jesus’ blood.
If there is a word that most encapsulates the theological foundation of the gospel, it is substitution. This is why every piece of content we produce touches on the concept of “Jesus in my place.” He lived in our place, achieving an actual record of perfect righteousness with which to replace the rags of our unrighteousness and self-righteousness. He also died in our place, satisfying in full the demands of justice our sin deserved.
As our sin-bearer and righteousness provider, Jesus is our substitute in life and death. His resurrection serves as confirmation that these extraordinary gospel promises are true. When someone consciously believes the gospel, the Spirit engrafts them into Jesus like a branch is connected to a vine.
Theologically, we call this union with Christ, where we abide in him by faith, believing that Jesus’ perfect righteousness is now our perfect righteousness (our new and true identity). As a believer presses into the vine with a present awareness of the value of Jesus’ blood, the Holy Spirit, like sap from the vine, flows into them, filling the disciple with new desires and abilities, changing me from the inside out.
This cross-centered theology of substitution is the foundation underlying every lesson created for Read-Aloud Theology.
Three Core Doctrines That Influence Our Resources
#1 — JUSTIFICATION: Grace-Centered Theology
At the heart of all of Scripture is the redemptive message of God’s saving grace to sinners in Jesus. Theologically, we call this justification, which is the hub of the theological wheel to which every passage and doctrine is connected. This grace message is the oak from which every acorn of biblical text falls and must be related in order to be properly understood and applied.
"The doctrine of justification by faith through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ is very much to my ministry what bread and salt are to the table. As often as ever the table is set, there are those necessary things. I regard that doctrine as being one that is to be preached continually, to be mixed up with all of our sermons.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon, Sermon #3488, October 9, 1870
#2 — ADOPTION: Grace-Focused Identity
Every human will find their core identity in a self-achieved righteousness or in a gift-received righteousness. We'll functionally live as spiritual orphans trying to make a life and name for ourselves, or we will live like adopted and beloved sons and daughters, with all the freedom, peace, hope, and joy that flows from such an identity. The implications are manifold and wide-ranging, touching on every area of life.
“Adoption is the highest privilege of the gospel. The traitor is forgiven, brought in for supper, and given the family name. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.”
— J.I. Packer
#3 — SANCTIFICATION: Grace-Empowered Transformation
What now? Should I expect to experience a spiritual change in my life? If so, how does that take place? What is my role in the process? As Jesus says in John 15, “No one can produce good fruit apart from me.” Practically speaking, this means that we experience the fruit of the Spirit as we consciously abide in the Vine of Jesus’ imputed gift-righteousness. As the Spirit fills us like sap through a vine into a branch, we receive new motives and a new ability to manifest a new life of love, peace, patience, kindness, etc.
“It is by simple, close, and searching views of the cross of Christ that the Spirit most effectually sanctifies the believer. This is the true and great method of gospel sanctification! Let no man dream of true mortification of sin, or real sanctification of heart, who does not deal constantly, closely and believingly with the atoning blood of Jesus.”
— Octavius Winslow, The Work of the Holy Spirit (129)
The Theological Foundation for Read-Aloud Theology
The Bible is God’s special revelation to humanity, centering on the glory of God’s grace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, as the word of God, the Bible alone is our ultimate authority for all of life, theologically, devotionally, and practically.
People are reconciled to God, not by their own good works, but through faith alone in the good works of Jesus. Therefore, someone becomes a Christian not by doing for God, but by receiving from God.
Salvation through faith alone means that people are reconciled to God by grace alone through the voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary death of Jesus. Therefore, the Christian’s standing before God is a gift, not a reward.
Our only hope of forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life is gained through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not by any merit or effort of our own.
The Glory of God
The goal of our theology is that God alone would receive the glory for redeeming, adopting, and empowering sinners with new life. Therefore, there is no room for self-righteousness in the gospel, but only for boasting in the cross of Jesus.