Sharing the Gospel with Your Kids

As our kids grow, we have a responsibility to make their spiritual growth a priority. This doesn’t simply involve reading a Bible storybook to them a few times a week. It also means having intentional times when we simply share the gospel and invite our children to respond by believing it and then obeying the Bible’s command to be baptized.

I know many parents feel intimidated by these kinds of conversations. How do I help my child understand things that are still a mystery to me?  Be encouraged. While you bear some responsibility to teach your children, God is ultimately the author of their faith. So, when the moment comes, say a quick prayer. Lean into the Lord and ask him for help, wisdom and discernment as you share the gospel with your child. 

The next step is simply sharing the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Here is a simple way we teach it in Sojourn Kids. This gospel presentation contains five simple truths.

  • First, God rules. God is the king of the universe. God made the whole world and everything in it. And because God made everything, he is also in charge of everything. But God isn’t mean, selfish, or weak like human kings. God is the good king. He is just, loving, and powerful. And he wants us to be close to him—to trust him and live a good life in his kingdom – the life we were created for.

    Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
     
  • Second, we sinned. The problem with our world is that we have rejected God as our king. We’ve said no to God, and we’ve tried to live life our own way apart from him. Whenever we fight—whether it’s over the last cookie or the first place in line—we’re trying to get our own way instead of his.  The Bible calls this sin. Sin is saying no to God. The Bible tells us that everyone has sinned, and this sin separates us from God.

    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
     
  • Third, sin leads to death. Here’s the truth. We were made to be with God. Though it may work for a little while to live life on our own, eventually the pain of being far away from God in a broken world shows us that something is wrong. People start to see that nothing else will satisfy and they look for ways to get back to God.  We try to be good enough—to make a fresh start. We want to be smart enough so we search for the right answers. We might even get busy with churchy activities. But these are broken bridges that lead to sadness, confusion, and judgment. God is still far away.

    Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.
     
  • Fourth, God provided at the cross. The pit created by sin is so wide that you can’t measure it, and there is nothing we can do to bridge the gap. We can’t pay for our crimes and put things back the way they’re meant to be. We can’t climb up to God, but God has come to us. Jesus is God’s son. Jesus was born on earth—fully God and fully man. He lived with God perfectly. Then, he suffered and died on the cross to pay the punishment our sins deserve. Three days later, Jesus rose to life and won victory over sin and death. Because of Jesus, we can live close with God again.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
     
  • Finally, God gives us his love and grace. God gets close to us, and he still loves us. This is such good news! God accepts us—not because we have earned it or deserve it—but just because he loves us. He showed you how much he loves you by sending Jesus.

    Now, Jesus is inviting you to come into his kingdom and receive his love by trusting him. If sin is saying no to God, then trust is saying yes. Will you say yes to Jesus?

    You can say this to God: Dear God, I trust you with my life. I’ve tried to rule your world as my own. I’ve said no to you, and I’m sorry. Thank for sending Jesus to die so that I might live. I trust Jesus as my king. I trust only him to save me and help me live with you. Amen.

    Romans 10:9 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.

So, that’s the gospel in five simple steps. And I want to encourage you to intentionally share it with your kids then call them to respond.

At the end of that conversation, if your child just isn’t ready, don’t try to pressure or manipulate them. And don’t be discouraged. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t saved or that they won’t be saved. Jesus didn’t identify his own faith as separate from his parents until the age of twelve, and he was not baptized until age thirty. Keep praying for your child and find a time in the future to come back to this conversation again.

On the other hand, if your child says “Yes!” don’t be tempted to doubt their sincerity. Take it at face value. We know that Jesus loves children and desires to save them, so eagerly encourage your kids to keep on believing—not just today but throughout their life. I pray this simple outline will help you intentionality share the gospel with your child.

 

If you liked this post, check out my Are You Close To God? gospel booklet. The illustrations on each page of this booklet correspond with the training video above. Use them to show and tell kids how God has come to us through Jesus, and how we can receive his love by saying "yes!" and putting all of our trust in him.  Click here to purchase.

 

Family Friday Links 9.21.18

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Here’s what we’ve been reading online this week:

Christina Embree had a family ministry post with thoughts of when kids come to church alone. God is obviously doing something in their lives, so how to we encourage that without parental involvement. She writes, “More than likely, some kids will get dropped off who do not have parents that attend the church.  But, that does not preclude us from reaching out to their home.” She goes on to list ways in which the church can (and should) engage. If this describes kids in your Children’s Ministry, check this one out.

Michael Wallenmeyer had a post interviewing Jack Klumpenhower about his book Show Them Jesus. The interview centers around the need of the gospel to be the central message of our teaching. This is a great interview about a great book. Check out the interview and grab a copy of the book.

Joe Carter had a post about kids and atheism. It starts out this way, “According to a new study on adult atheists, the less that parents “walk the walk” about religious beliefs, the more likely their children are to walk away from the faith.” As parents who desire to raise their children in Christ, we simply can’t give away what we don’t possess ourselves. The post goes on to encourage parents with their responsibility.

What have you found helpful online? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

Family Friday Links 9.14.18

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Sorry about last week’s links, I got busy and forgot.

Here’s what we’ve been digging into online this week:

Scott Kedersha had a post on growing your marriage. This post offers a few practical how-to’s on this often neglected topic. If you are married, check this one out.

Dan Istvanik had a post listing different kinds of youth pastor/leaders. While it’s very funny, it’s also very true. If you work in youth ministry figure out which one you are.

Real-ationships Matter (a blog by my friend Heather Pace) had a post on how to help our kids with back to school. These are helpful reminders that parents would benefit from keeping in mind.

What have you been reading online lately? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

Kids and church, part 3: Who is responsible to feed the lambs?

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Before jumping into this post, consider reading...

Being a parent isn't easy under the best of circumstances. Our kids don't come with instruction manuals. As if the challenge of helping them mature physically and mentally isn’t enough, the challenge of helping them mature spiritually seems impossible. And it is. As parents, God has blessed us both with a great treasure and a great responsibility (Psalm 127:3). But what does that responsibility look like practically? Are there others who are responsible, too? If so how?

Parents

Parents are the primary disciplers of their kids. Scripture is very clear on this point. It is the responsibility of both dad and mom to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” But how do we do this? According to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we are to use the ordinary “teachable moments” throughout any given day or night to point our kids to God.

Brothers and sisters, the work that you have to do for Jesus is in no sense for yourselves. Your pupils are not your children, but Christ’s
— Charles Spurgeon

This means that we not only live our lives in such a way that our faith can be practically seen, but also we guide our kids towards God by helping them see how faith intersects with their daily lives. Both of these things can happen in a lot of different ways, depending on circumstances. The bottom line for parents is faithfulness. Make the most of the time God gives you.

Church

The church bears some of this responsibility as well. While yes, parents are the primary disciple-makers in their kids' lives, they are not the only disciple-makers in their kids' lives. The church exercises this responsibility when it comes alongside parents, encouraging and training them; and the church exercises this responsibility when it comes alongside kids, teaching and encouraging their faith as we seek to help them become lifelong worshipers of God. This responsibility God has given to the church community calls for the same faithful commitment that parents should have toward their own children.

Jesus

Finally, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He feeds little lambs as well. God does not call us to convert our kids, but rather to be faithful with his message of salvation. We sometimes get this wrong. We sometimes think cultivating our kid’s faith is within our power. But even if it doesn't seem proud on the surface, that's a gross over-estimation of our abilities. Such parental pride can get in the way of what God is trying to do. Only Jesus can take our kids from death to life. Only Jesus has the supernatural ability to transform our kids' hearts for his glory. This is the part he plays, to do what only he can do.

This bring up a number of questions. Do we trust him? Do we trust him to hold up his end of the bargain? Are you being faithful to hold up yours? If not, what needs to change?

Here’s a quote from Spurgeon's Spiritual Parenting,  that sums up this truth: “Brothers and sisters, the work that you have to do for Jesus is in no sense for yourselves. Your pupils are not your children, but Christ’s” (p. 57).