Teaching your children to share the Gospel
Our lives have dramatically shifted over the last century. CD's and DVD's are becoming a thing of the past replaced by ever-developing digital technology. Planning a road trip is as easy as entering a destination in the GPS and groceries can now be ordered for pick-up or delivery. As we watch in amazement and perhaps a little shock at the constant changes, one thing remains the same: people still need the gospel. It is the final command spoken by Jesus to His disciples before ascending into the heavens.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
For believers, life is not about us; we have been given one main task here on earth and that is to share the gospel with those who are lost. We are called to be salt and light in this world, to share the glorious news of God's great love that caused Him to send His only begotten Son into the world so that they could be saved. Many of us understand this command but struggle with the execution of it. It is not always an easy conversation to start with someone as most try to avoid the topic of death at all costs.
For children, sharing the gospel can be even more difficult as they try to speak up, especially in public places like school and our current society is not making it any easier. However, children who profess Jesus Christ as Lord are also called to share their faith.
So, how can we, as parents, or even those without children, remember that children watch adults wherever they are, including church, teach them to share the gospel with confidence? Here are a few helpful tips to assist you when talking to your children.
Be an example
As parents we are their example in every area including sharing the gospel. They need us to teach them how to be bold for Christ and share the good news with others. Children are masters at imitation, almost like a sponge, they absorb their surroundings including speech, body language, and personality. They are constantly watching us, looking to us for clues on how to handle the multiple scenarios they will face at one point.
A Christian should not attempt to share something that is not written in his or her own heart. Integrity in the Christian walk is paramount to effectively discipling others - even children. To win others, we need to remember that adults and children need to see Jesus in our lives. They need to see us sharing the Good News. They need to see us seeking the kingdom first and keeping God first in all that we do. Children live what they see. If we want them to live for God, share their faith, and be good Christian examples, we must do the same. Paul was steadfast and authentic in his Christian walk; therefore, he stood positioned to admonish Timothy, his young disciple, with these words:
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:13
Explain the importance of sharing the gospel
When teaching children, it is important to help them understand why the information you are trying to convey is important. God's love compels us. We experienced God's love, and we want others to have the same experience.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
We often have an improved opportunity and better reception to share the gospel with someone when we have built a relationship with them. They won't feel as if you are challenging them or only pointing out their sinful life if they know that you genuinely care about them. Teach your children the value of relationships, to get to know someone and show them the love of God in their actions with others. This can go a long way in building a bridge which can lead to a lifesaving opportunity to share the gospel.
God's Word shows us how to love others, the foundation for building true relationships
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:2-4
Most know that, before giving a presentation, it is best to be familiar with the materials. This same principle applies to sharing the gospel. Spend time with your children, going over the Romans road and other important salvation passages. Discuss different illustrations they can use to share the gospel such as visuals like "God's Bridge to Eternal Life" track from Majestic Media which has seven beautiful images that are paired with Bible verses. This tool provides your child with an easy reference and opportunity to walk through the plan of salvation with a friend.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23
Go over their testimony
There is power in personal testimony and perhaps there is no greater than our own salvation story. When people hear how God changed our life they may realize their own need for salvation and begin to ask questions. Encourage your children to go over their own testimony in their mind or even write it down so they become familiar with it and comfortable enough to share it with others. This can be a wonderful way for them to broach the subject with those they want to witness to.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: I Peter 3:15
Practice at home
We know that practice makes perfect and having your children practice sharing the gospel at home where they feel safe and comfortable can be extremely helpful. Consider having them sit with you and go through a gospel track or the Romans road. You can ask questions that might be brought up by an unsaved person or, when they struggle, you have the opportunity to help them through it. Practicing at home can help your children feel ready to share the gospel with others.
Understand that not everyone will say yes
Sadly, we know that there will be people who choose to reject God's gift of salvation, and sometimes it can be done in a rude or rough manner. Preparing your children for the possibility of a "no" is essential, not to dampen their spirit but rather telling them that some don't want to be saved. It is also important to remind them that some people might give the answer of "maybe"
and winning souls can take persistence, patience, and lots of prayer.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Pray with them
One of the greatest things you can do for your children is to bathe them in prayer asking God to give them wisdom as they interact with others and be sensitive to His leading. Pray that God will direct their steps and their speech as they go to school and different events.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
Training our children to be soul winners is a great privilege and responsibility, they are the next generation who will need to know, not just how to live their faith but how to share it. The more we prepare and strengthen them the more confidence they will have to be like Paul who boldly proclaimed God's mission for him: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Acts 26:18