Monday, September 12, 2011

How To Lead A Child To Christ

The goal of every children's ministry worker is to see the children they teach come to an acceptance of Christ as their Savior. Yet, when the moment comes, I've seen many teachers balk, afraid they don't know enough or they might miss something. They call their pastor, letting him "finish the job."

The goal of every pastor and church leader is to equip church members to be able to do this important work! As I've expressed often in this blog, my guiding verse is 2 Timothy 2:2: "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." You can lead a child to Christ. Here's how:

When I talk to a child about salvation, I use a combination of what is known as "The Four Spiritual Laws" and "The Five Finger Exercise." Kids are great at spitting back what they've heard all their lives. It's important that you get beneath the surface with them, that you discover their motives for wanting to accept Christ and that they believe with their heart that Jesus is the Son of God. So, after I've explained each step, I ask the child, "Are you ready for this?" It's amazing to me that, if children aren't ready, they will at one point back down, and say, "No I'm not ready."
Let's go through the steps.

1) Believe. I ask the child, "Who is Jesus? What did he come to do? Why did Jesus die? How do you know this?" I explain that belief means we accept these facts are true. I cover the first three steps of the Four Spiritual Laws:

  • God has a wonderful plan for your life.

  • Man turned against God by his sin.

  • God loved man so much he was willing to sacrifice His Son so He could regain a relationship with man.

All this is in termsthe child can understand. Then I ask, "Do you believe that Jesus is God's Son and He died for you so you could go to Heaven?" If the answer is "yes," we move on.

2) Repent. I define repentance by walking one way then turning around and walking the other way. Repentance means we are willing to admit we have done wrong, we are willing to stop doing wrong, and we are willing to start obeying God and living life His way.

I ask the child, "What have you done wrong? Are you sorry you did those things? Do you do things that God doesn't like?" This is a hard but crucial step. Some children have a hard time admitting they have done anything wrong. If they can't admit they have sinned, it's best not to press them and wait until they are ready. You haven't failed. You are planting seeds that show them what is needed. The Holy Spirit will begin to do His job of convicting them of their sin.

3) Confess. Confessing is not just telling a church congregation you want to accept Christ. Confession means you are willing to show other people you believe in Christ, that you will stand up for Christ, that you can admit to others that you are a Christian, even when it may be unpopular to do so.

I ask, "Would you be willing to tell your friends and other people that you love Jesus? Who would you like to tell? Are you willing to show you believe in Jesus by doing what He says?" Again, the answer to this question is crucial. If the child says yes, go to step 4.

4) Be baptized. I realize baptism by immersion is controversial. Baptism as a crucial part of salvation is not merely my opinion. I go by what Scripture says. I invite you to check out such passages as Acts 2:38, Romans 6:4, I Peter 3:21 and the stories of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 and the Philippians jailer in Acts 16.

I explain that baptism is a symbol of what is happening inside us. When we are baptized, we show other people that we are willing to "die" to the old way we used to live and become a new person, a person who loves God and wants to commit the rest of our lives to following what God says. At this point, we show the child the baptistry, and explain how someone is baptized. We ask if the child has any questions about baptism and how it's done. Finally we ask, "Are you ready to be baptized?" If the child says no, we assure them that they can tell us when they are ready at any time.

5) Live the Christian life by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is more a point of reassurance. I tell the child that sometimes it will be hard to do what Jesus wants them to do. But God has provided a helper called the Holy Spirit. Any time, they don't know what to do or they find it hard to obey God, they can ask for God's help. When they become a Christian, I tell them, God will always be with them and He will show them how to live the way He wants them to live.

Sharing Jesus becomes addictive. Once you've experienced the thrill of leading a child or anyone for that matter to an acceptance of the transformational gift Christ offers, you will want to do it again and again and again. I can't wait to hear your stories!

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