How do I share the Gospel with my child? How do I know if they have truly made a salvation decision?
These are the questions I am asked the most by parents as they navigate leading their child to make the most important decision they will ever face--the decision to ask Jesus to become their Lord and Savior. I love these questions because they reveal the deep love of the parent for their child and their commitment to diligently teach their child about the Lord (Deut. 6:4-9).
How do I share the Gospel with my child?
This is the most important message you will ever share with your child. It does not need to be wrapped in a cute package with catchy phrases and motions (although those are fun!). It simply needs to be communicated clearly and completely. When a child accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, they do not receive a junior version of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, there is not a junior version of the Gospel--one void of the reality of sin or its consequences. These hard truths need to be communicated as clearly as the love and grace of God. What is the best way for this to happen? Make it a conversation, a dialogue between you and your child. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Ask Open Ended Questions. Questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will give you a glimpse into their spiritual maturity and understanding. Depending on their answers, you will know what part of the Gospel they are still working to understand. Example Questions: Who is God? What makes us different from God? What is sin? Can you tell me about a time that you sinned? What is the consequence of sin? Who is Jesus? What did Jesus do?
Explain “churchy” Words. Don’t assume that your child knows the meaning of words like “Christian,” “holy,” “Savior,” “Lord,” and “repentance.” Take the time to explain using words and ideas that they know. For example: holy = perfect, Lord = King.
Read and Discuss Bible Verses Together. Involve your child in the process of locating and reading Bible verses. Talk about the content of each verse using open ended questions.
How do I know if they have truly made a salvation decision?
Ultimately, only God can fully know if someone has made a salvation decision because He is the one who searches our hearts (Psalm 139:23; Romans 8:27). But as a parent, you can get a good idea based on your child’s level of understanding of the Gospel and on the appearance of fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
Understanding. Your child will continue to grow in their understanding of the Gospel as they are discipled and mature. In order to make a salvation decision, however, they must understand the following things:
Who God is.
What sin and the consequence of sin is.
That they are a sinner.
Who Jesus is.
What Jesus did for us.
How to respond to this in prayer.
Fruit of the Spirit. Just as adult followers of Christ grow to display more and more fruit of the Spirit, children should as well. This does not happen overnight or without guidance from parents and other trusted adults. But even in the youngest disciples, evidence can be seen that they are growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
I am so excited that you are wanting to share the amazing news of Jesus Christ with your child! I pray that these tips are helpful to you as you prepare for this important conversation. If after reading this you have specific questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask; I am always available to help and encourage you along the way!
If you would like to see examples of sharing the Gospel with children, check out these wonderful resources:
When Can I? by Thomas Sanders