One of our directors served on a mission’s team that had organized a week-long backyard Bible club for kids. At the end of the week, the kids were gathered together to hear a closing, evangelistic message on John 3:16. The teacher instructed, “If you would like to trust Christ right now, just raise your hand.” Some of the children raised a hand immediately, while others did so after looking around. In the end, every child in attendance raised their hand.
How many of these decisions were genuine? How could we possibly know?
Here are some key things to keep in mind whenever sharing the gospel in a group setting:
- Keep the presentation simple, clear, and biblically accurate to avoid confusion.
- Never let a physical action (raising a hand, standing up, praying a prayer, walking an aisle, etc.) be confused as part of salvation. Coming forward to talk to an adult is appropriate but make it clear that it is a way to find out more, not how one is saved.
- Do not lead the children in a group prayer of salvation. This may lead some to believe that it’s the prayer that has the power to save.
- Give specific directions on who can help if they want to know more. Also, tell them specifically when they can talk to that person and where to find him/her.
“Boys and girls, if you have never made the decision to trust Christ as your Savior, or if you are unsure, I encourage you to think about the things that I have explained. If you have thoughts or questions you would like to talk about more, please come and talk to David or Jennifer. They will be sitting right over here by the bookshelves—please wave your hand David and Jennifer so the children can see you. They will be here all afternoon and would love to talk to any of you about how to know Jesus.”
If a child does approach you, remember first to establish why the child has come to talk. Your first question should be: "Why did you come to talk to me?”
During one-on-one conversations find out:
- Does the child understand his need for Jesus? — “Can you explain to me why you believe you need Jesus?”
- Does he understand what Christ did for him? — “Can you explain to me why Jesus died on the cross?”
- Does he want to trust Christ for salvation today? — “Would you like to trust Jesus as your Savior right now?”
Present the gospel to children on a regular basis. Do it often—individually and in groups. Remember: Group presentations should always be followed up with one-on-one interactions with children who respond.