“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD.” (Psalm 127:3)
One of the primary ways to care for children is to lead them to Christ. People who trust Christ as children experience the added blessing of living their whole lives with the joy and peace of knowing the Savior. They also have the opportunity to influence others for Christ over the course of a lifetime.
Here are several keys to reaching children for Christ:
1. When you explain the gospel, explain it clearly. The things children must understand to come to Christ are the same three things everybody must understand: (1) Our sin separates us from God; (2) Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead; and (3) We must trust Christ alone for salvation.
2. Lead them to Christ; don’t drive them. Recognize that children mature at different ages. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and don't try to rush the child.
3. Make the issue trusting Christ. The Gospel of John was written to tell us how to obtain eternal life (see John 20:31). The apostle repeatedly used the word believe, which means “trust.” Just like adults, children must understand Christ died for them and rose again and trust in Christ alone to save them.
4. Beware of confusing jargon or phrases:
“Give your heart to Jesus” or “Invite Jesus into your heart”—Children tend to think literally, understanding the heart as the physical organ inside their bodies, so this terminology doesn’t always make sense to them.
“Give your life to God”—This concept may unsettle children because they might wonder, “If I give my life to God, will my life come to an end?”
- “Would you like to pray to receive Christ?”—Young people and adults need to understand that saying a prayer does not save. Trusting Christ saves. Prayer is how we express to God what we are doing.
5. When giving assurance, emphasize fact, not a date. Focus on what Scripture emphasizes. John 3:16 says, “Whoever believes in Him,” not “Whoever believes in Him and remembers the date.”
6. Don’t place any condition for salvation on behavior. Adult Christians in the New Testament misbehaved (see 1 Cor. 6:1–8; 11:17–22). Understand that children who become Christians do the same. Don’t expect or require perfect behavior. Salvation is by faith alone.
(Editor's Note: Post adapted from an article in The Evangelism Study Bible.)