The fact you’re reading this indicates you are concerned about your child’s faith. As you care for your child’s daily needs and work to prepare him or her for success in life, there’s nothing more important than caring for their spiritual needs and helping them prepare for eternity. It’s likely that you are reading this because, like many parents, you don’t know quite how (or when) to go about introducing your child to Christ. Parents who worry that they don’t have the training or understanding to lead their children to salvation may be tempted to just leave it to the “professionals”—to rely on people at church or ministry events. That’s understandable, but God has given you the most important and most influential role when it comes to influencing your child’s path to salvation and spiritual growth. All it takes is a little training for you to feel more comfortable about the when and how of introducing them to Christ.
STEP ONE: Lay a foundation
A child’s decision to follow Jesus is rarely a one-stop process. Your son or daughter grows in their understanding of God by developing a foundation (hearing the stories of the Bible, learning scriptures, singing about Jesus, and so forth) as well as experiencing life in your home (watching your example, feeling your love, learning right from wrong). These two ways of learning work best when they are connected in your home and integrated into your family life. We see it in Deuteronomy: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Dt. 6:6-7).
STEP TWO: Discern readiness
Do your best to discern when your child is mature enough to put the pieces together. Avoid the temptation to push him or her too fast, making sure they are ready and can truly understand the gospel.
When you feel they are ready, ask a few questions about scripture to help gauge your child’s level of understanding. Read some of the following verses to them: Genesis 1:31, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16, 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 16:24, 1 John 1:9, Acts 3:19, Romans 10:9-10 Then ask simple, open-ended questions like, “Who is Jesus?” “What did Jesus do for us?” “What is sin?” “How does your sin affect your relationship to God?” “How can you be made right with God?” How they respond can help you sense whether your child is ready, in addition to helping your child apply the gospel to his or her own life.
STEP THREE: Guide your child in prayer for salvation
Romans 10 tells us, “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10). If you sense your child has a basic understanding of what sin is and what it leads to, as well as what it means to accept God’s gift of salvation and His Lordship (that God will now be in charge of their lives from this day forward), then you can guide your child to pray along those lines. Instead of quoting specific words for your child to repeat, it’s best to prompt him to use his own words—to tell God that he is sorry for his sin, to ask for God’s forgiveness, and to ask Him to be King over the rest of his life.
STEP FOUR: Prepare them for baptism
Once your child has understood and decided to accept the Gospel, it is time to guide them toward following Christ in believer’s baptism. Schedule them to attend the “Core 4 Kids” class where they will have more training in the Gospel, further explanation of baptism, and how to practice spiritual disciplines. During this time, you as a parent should plan to attend. If it is apparent that your child has a clear understanding of the Gospel and the meaning of baptism, you can work with one of our pastors to set a time for a baptism. At that time, be prepared to invite friends and family to celebrate this exciting day with your child.
Recommended Books -Available from the Faith @ Home Center
What Is the Gospel? (by Greg Gilbert) is an excellent and clear explanation of the Gospel. It provides four simple categories to help believers remember the basic content of the Gospel message: God, Man, Christ, Response.
When Can I? (Thomas Sanders & Gregg Thorkelson) This classic book provides practical clarity for parents with young children who are taking their first steps towards faith in Christ. It provides parents with answers to questions young children ask like, “When can I be baptized?” or “When can I take the Lord’s Supper?” and more.
Going Further – Church Support
Faith Path: Prepare to Lead Your Child to Christ This kit is available for download or pick-up from the Faith @ Home Center. It includes a training video and other tools to help you gain confidence as you lead your child to faith.
Pastoral Counseling: Pastors are available to counsel those who would like more Godly wisdom on this issue. Please call the church office for more info: 573-348-3515
Core 4 Kids is a one-time class that is offered to children and their parents who have recently decided to trust in Christ or are asking questions about the Gospel. Contact our Next Generation and Life Groups pastor Michael Beene at [email protected] for more info.