Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"How would you lead a child to Christ?"

In June 2005, I filled out a questionnaire that asked, "How would you lead a child to Christ?" I'm interested in reading the comments, questions, suggestions, or criticisms of anyone who reads this. My answer, verbatim:

I would be in consistent contact with both the parents and pastor throughout the process, from the child’s first expression of interest in and understanding of salvation. If the child approached me, I would ask him or her (for the sake of simplicity, him) if he had talked to his family about what it means to be saved. If not, my first meeting would be with the child and parents together. If he had, I would want to initially meet with just the parents to find out how extensive they believed the child’s understanding of salvation to be. From then on, the process would be identical: ask the parents and child to keep talking, be available to them continually, and involve the pastor quickly. The counsel of the pastor and other staff is invaluable in such a delicate process.

Aside from whatever structured meetings I had with parents and staff, I would have a set of passages relating to creation and salvation that I would be reading and discussing with the child to both determine and deepen his understanding of Scripture and salvation. Once he came to a place of understanding, conviction of sin, and commitment to Christ, I would talk with the parents and pastor, as well as to the child again, and move in the direction of baptism and discipleship.

As an aside, this process assumes that the parents are believers. With my convictions about the parent’s role in the child’s spiritual training, I understand that the process must necessarily differ somewhat if the child’s parents are lost. That’s an issue I’m looking at right now and would desire counsel on from both the staff and children’s workers.


Tony K. said...

The whole process of “leading children to Christ” needs careful examination by parents and pastors. I like what you have written about parental involvement. I have written before that God can regenerate children even at a very young age. However, developmental issues may cloud the manifestation of this new birth. So, even if a preschool child does experience a supernatural work of God’s grace – we may not be able to discern this until they are older.

One helpful practice is to talk about “steps of faith” as children grow toward a saving relationship with Christ. If we are teaching that Jesus is to be treasured above all else, then children will naturally want to know more about Him. These inquiries may be curiosity or they may be the evidence of grace. Either way, our response to the child should be to encourage them to believe in Christ, to pursue Him as the treasure of their lives, and to leaving behind all known sins – since all sin is “fighting against God.”

Parental involvement is essential. A Christian parent will perceive the spiritual growth of his or her own child much more accurately than I will. Parents are in a better position to anticipate questions and areas of confusion the child may have. Most importantly, parents have the biblical mandate for the spiritual nurture of their children.

Anonymous said...

Tony, I like your point about God doing a supernatural work in a young child's life. My mom, who was unchurched, was invited to a First Baptist Church to hear a child evangelist minister. She wasn't sure what exactly was said, but went forward anyway and surrendered her life to Christ. She has never been the same since. She was twelve years old.

Sometimes we make the gospel so complicated that we choose not to speak it out for fear of appearing ambiguous. Before John Wesley was saved, he was told to preach to gospel until he believed it and that is just what he did. "I am not ashamed of the gospel because (IT) is the power of God. . ."(Romans 1:16a). Sometimes we get in the way of God's power by thinking we are more than jars of clay who merely contain the power.

Thank you for being a children's pastor who is not afraid to speak the gospel to children with the purpose of their being transformed by God's power and not merely a proper apologetic.