Fred Rogers once said, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.” As someone passionate about reaching the generation for Christ, this statement probably resonates with you, not because you want to be a “hero,” but because you know pointing a child to Jesus is the greatest thing you can do to help them and their family.
Sharing the Gospel with kids often comes with lots of nerves. Questions fill your mind, such as, “Am I doing this right?” “Am I going too fast or slow?” “Wonder if their parents are lost?” “Wonder if I’m confusing them more?” Be at ease. God will use you in His plan exactly how He wants to. Below you will find four key statements, using the acrostic K.I.D.S., that will encourage you as you share the Gospel with kids.
Know your Role
Sometimes you will have the joy of leading a child to Christ, and sometimes your role will simply be the next step in their journey. To know your role, you must remember God is the one at work on a child’s heart, not you. Ask God to clarify what He would have you do in these conversations.
- Stay entuned to the Holy Spirit.
- Have a prayerful spirit the whole conversation.
- (If not you) Be sure the child’s Sunday school/small group leader is in the know.
Identify what they understand
Only God truly knows one’s heart, including children. Yet, we must help a child take their next step by identifying what they understand and might still be confused about. In addition, healthy conversations with parents will help you know what they have communicated to them at home.
- Ask good, age-appropriate questions.
- Keep the main disciple-maker (parents, grandparents, etc.) informed and involved.
- Don’t be distracted; look the child in the face and smile.
Define terms clearly
Often, we assume kids (and students and adults, for that matter) know what we mean when we say faith-oriented words. We are in a society where biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high. Therefore, we must define terms clearly, so a child will understand what a personal relationship with Jesus is and is not.
- Clearly explain what words like Gospel, Savior, sin, and surrender mean.
- Don’t force a child’s understanding of these words, but make sure they are with you. Ask them to explain these words the best they know how and don’t be afraid to bump the breaks if they struggle.
- Share your faith journey with them.
Seek to hear their heart
Many times, kids are reactive. If they see another friend in the neighborhood playing, they will want to do the same. If they see a group of people eating ice cream, they will ask a parent if they can have some ice cream. The same thing is true with spiritual matters. If they see a friend get baptized, they may think that it is a good idea for them. When seeking to know their heart, we must understand their motives. Do you really want to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, or did they see their friend get baptized, think it is cool, and now they want to do the same?
- Champion their desire to know and follow Jesus.
- Get a sense of whether they are ready or not to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If they are, lead them to surrender their life to Christ, involving their main disciple-makers in the process.
- Have follow-up conversations with the child and their main disciple-makers. Give clear next steps.