Introducing Your Child To Christ
From Shelley Melvin, Director of KidzROCK with Kurt Bruner, The Center for Strong Families
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. 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 to help gauge your child’s level of understanding. For example, read Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then ask questions like, “What is sin?” “How does your sin affect your relationship to God?” and “How can you be 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, then you can guide your child to pray along those lines. Avoid using abstract concepts and be sure that your language uses concrete words since children are literal in their thinking. Instead of quoting specific words for your child to repeat, it’s best to prompt them to use their own words—to tell God they are sorry for their sins, to ask for His forgiveness, and to ask Him to be Lord over the rest of their life.