Can a child grasp the reality of an unseen God? Can a child understand salvation and the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross?
Some people say you should wait to talk with children about faith, salvation and other spiritual issues until they can think abstractly. Later in the teenage years you can reason with them . . . mind to mind, intellect to intellect. Yet parents who wait are often dismayed as their children grow up with no spiritual roots . . . only because of failure to plant seeds of truth in the earlier years.
As children learn about Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection, they learn to respond to God’s love. Their salvation is desirable, for Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). On another occasion He said, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). A child is ready for commitment to Christ as soon as he or she understands the meaning of sin and that Jesus is the Savior from sin.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
The Gospel is the good message of salvation available to us through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
“By this gospel you are saved... Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures... he was buried... he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and... he appeared to Cephas [Peter], and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred.”
1 Corinthians 15:2–6
Child evangelism is sharing with a child the good news of how to receive the full forgiveness of God by entering into a personal relationship with Christ Jesus.
“The disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’”
All growth is a process, and each child will mature differently. Only God knows the true disposition of a young heart, that time when a child has reached an age of accountability—the age at which a child is capable of accepting or rejecting the Savior. As you nurture young children from birth in things of the Lord, rely on your own spiritual sensitivity to determine when they are ready to move from “spiritual baby food” to the meat of the gospel.
R – Reaping consequences from their own negative behavior
(feelings of guilt and shame)
E – Expressing worry about the future
(fear of darkness, separation, storms, death)
A – Asking a lot of questions
(“What happens when people die?”)
D – Drastically changing their behavior
(withdrawal or sensitivity)
Y – Yielding to positive authority
(release of a rebellious spirit)
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15
“Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ ... He took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”