I love teaching kids about Jesus. Getting to introduce Him to their world and see them form their thoughts about God, church, and faith is one of the things I love most about what I do. But as a children’s ministry leader, I recognize that I love doing this so much because it is what I do. I understand that even though our team is comfortable having conversations about salvation and baptism on a kid level and answering all their questions, some people just aren’t. What about the parents and grandparents who fully understand salvation and baptism for themselves but have a hard time getting on the level of a kindergartener? Or what about the parents who might still be learning this information for themselves?
This month we will look at salvation discussions that can happen in the home. While we know our kids hear it at church, we want to make sure our families are also prepared to talk to and even pray with their kids. Praying a prayer of salvation with our ministry kids is amazing, but the ability to share that moment as a parent is a memory any mom or dad will treasure.
Most kids with a church background know the following:
- God created everything.
- Jesus is God’s son.
- Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
- We cannot experience Heaven or grace without Jesus.
Despite having a basic understanding, though, even these kids need to know that we must ask to be forgiven and make a decision to commit our lives to following God. With kids I often see a lack of understanding regarding the fact that there must be a time they decided to follow Jesus. Many kids think they were born this way, since they have Christian parents and are growing up in the church. I love to ask kids when they were saved and hear about that experience. When they start with “I have always been a Christian,” I know we need to talk.
One of the key moments of salvation is repentance. We must acknowledge we are sinners, and no matter how many times we go to church or how great our behavior, we must admit this before God and ask for salvation. I love to teach this with a gift. I have a kid hold it out to give it to me. Although I refuse to take the gift, I insist that it is mine and belongs to me. This helps them see that salvation is freely given to those who believe, but we must choose to accept it. The beauty in this is the ability to teach that there will be times we mess up and need to ask forgiveness. For a child who didn’t do that in the first place, this doesn’t make sense.
Another area of confusion for kids is when they are simply given a prayer to repeat and then left to go about their lives. It communicates that this was an action, not a lifelong commitment. So, how do we teach kids that salvation is more than a repeated prayer? They need to hear it and see it. Below I have included some ways to get the conversations going in your home. Maybe you will find that your kids are more spiritually mature and understood more than even you know. Maybe you will find there are some things they need more help understanding. And you might be able to pray with your child as he or she comes to a full understanding of God’s grace through a discussion with you. (How exciting!)
Testimony Time: Your kids may know you to be a Christian, but have they heard your testimony? If not, share it! Maybe around a dinner table, allow one person a night to tell his or her story. Answers questions like: How did you come to know Jesus? Where were you when you prayed? Who was with you? What has God done for you since that time? And don’t forget to share the relationship you have with Him now. Kids love to know these things about their parents!
Verses to Know: As we know, salvation doesn’t stop. Once we have given our lives to Jesus, we are to share that with others. It’s important that kids know that too. One way to help kids (and adults) prepare to share their faith is to equip them with the tools to do so. Here are some very important verses you can learn as a family this month to strengthen those sharing muscles: Matthew 8:8-12; Matthew 19:25-26; Romans 3:8; and Romans 10:9-10.
If you find yourself in a position to lead a child to Christ, don’t overcomplicate it. Salvation is intended to be simple—as simple as ABC. Make sure they understand that they have to Admit they are a sinner and that this separates them from God; Believe that Jesus paid God’s price for their sin by dying on the cross; and Confess and repent of their sin and come to Jesus by faith. Going one more step, they should Decide to live for Him. Some kids just don’t know how to start. When you bow to pray, ask them if they want your help with the words or if they are okay praying on their own. Most kids will formulate the sweetest prayers on their own once they have a full understanding of what they need to do. And if they need help, that is okay too.
I would love to hear of some great family discussions this month!