Parents are instructed to raise their children, "in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). Simply put, that means He is to be the center of their teaching and learning. The primary place children are to learn who Christ was and what He was like is at the feet of their parents.
That includes giving them a heart for unbelievers. After all, how can one teach who Christ was and what He was like if they don’t help them see the heart He had for lost people?
Mark 10:45 tells us, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Here are some great ways to develop compassionate hearts:
Start by example. Children must not just hear about Christ’s love for the non-Christians, they must see it reflected through you. Tell them of conversations you’ve had with unbelievers. Let them see you distributing evangelistic literature. Let them see your excitement in being part of an evangelistic outreach sponsored by your church. Let them watch and listen as you present the gospel.
Pray for unbelievers as a family. If non-Christians are always included in your prayers, they will probably always be part of your children’s prayers as well.
Study Scripture together. Do a study with one question in mind: "How did Christ feel about lost people?" Concentrate on passages such as Luke 15:1–32; 19:1–10; John 3:1–21; 4:1–26; and Matthew 8:9–13.
Invite unbelievers into your home. They must see your home as a mission field for non-Christians in your community, so that as they establish their own home they mimic you.
Train them in the gospel and evangelism. Teach them the gospel in ten words—Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. As a family, master a method such as the "Bad news, Good news" approach in talking to unbelievers and practice it one-on-one.
Pray for them. Ask God to give them an increasing burden for non-Christians and that they might be filled with compassion for them as Christ was (Matt. 9:36).
Developing a love for the lost in your children does not happen overnight. But these six principles can make an eternal difference. The difference will be seen in the people they lead to Christ because of your example and enthusiasm. Is there a better legacy to leave your children than that?