3 Tips on Leading a Child Into a Relationship With Jesus

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LeadingA child
accepting Jesus. It’s a touchdown, grand slam, champion of the
world moment in any children’s minister’s life. We put in so many
hours of work and prayer hoping a child will fully understand God’s
love and sacrifice. Today, I’d like to focus on that. Here are
three tips on leading a child to Christ.

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1. Help kids see the big picture.

Larry Shallenberger, next generation pastor at Grace Church in
Erie, Pennsylvania, wrote an interesting article for Children’s
Ministry Magazine a while back called
Handle With Care?
in which he talks about debating whether
Jesus ever intended children to participate in his Great Commission
(trust me, it’s a great read).

I’d highly recommend reading it in its entirety when you get the
chance, but for now, I want to share this quote from Larry: “Ask
children what it means to be a Christian, and you’ll frequently
hear answers such as reading the Bible, going to church, praying,
and doing good things. When I conducted baptism interviews, I used
to be dismayed by such answers. A quick survey of moral-development
theories by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg reminded me that
children naturally see right and wrong in terms of keeping rules
and avoiding punishment. However, the whole point of Christianity
is that we’re unable to keep the rules, so we need a Savior.”

What do your kids understand about Jesus? Do they think going to
church makes them a Christian? (If that’s the case, does going to a
garage makes you a car? as my grandpa would say.) When helping
children grasp what a relationship with Jesus is like, help them
understand that obeying a moral code isn’t what makes you a
Christian-it’s all about Jesus.

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2. Make it personal.

It was the last night of the church’s vacation Bible
school, and this particular church brought in all the children in
from the decorated hallways of the children’s department and sat
them in the pews of the sanctuary. Kids were asked to bow their
heads. Of course, that didn’t stop many who couldn’t wait until the
end of the prayer to look around and see who all had their eyes
closed. After explaining salvation to the children, the preacher
asked kids to raise their hands if they wanted to be saved.

Not knowing what salvation or being saved meant, the kids were
quick to raise their hands. Some,  because they figured
raising their hand was the right response, and others, because they
were just following along with what their friends who’d brought
them to VBS did.

Do you see the problem? Sure, it looks good on paper, but how
many of those kids are really going to walk away with a true
lifelong friendship with Jesus? Make it a point to talk with
children about what being a follower of Jesus really means. And
talk with interested children away from the crowds with another
pastor or volunteer present.

Most importantly, don’t force it. Let God work though you in this
situation. Prayerfully follow God’s lead!

3. Volunteer Training

I’ve had kids ask about Jesus and how to become a Christian at
some of the wildest times. I can spend hours preparing a whole
lesson on Jesus and what it means to be his friend and get no
response-and I have had a child start to ask questions about Jesus
while in line to use the little boys’ room on a field trip. So the
question is, are your volunteers ready to talk to kids about Jesus?
Here’s a quick six-minute video that you can watch with volunteers
to help them in Leading a Child
to Christ
.


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By the way, if you like that video, there are tons more great
training videos over at Good to Go.
It’s an amazing service provided by Group that helps you deliver
the world’s best training in seconds to even the busiest
volunteers. It even has a free trial, so it’s definitely worth
checking out!

***

How does your children’s ministry help children understand what
it means to be a friend of Jesus? Let us know using the comment
section below!

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

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