By: Daniel Kinkade
Children need Jesus. In fact, we all do. May we never lose sight of the fact that there is power in our children knowing the God they sing about at church cares for and loves them. The most crucial part of kids ministry is sharing the Gospel with them in an age-appropriate, God-glorifying way.
Below I have listed three common questions that are often heard when dealing with kids who are asking questions about Jesus, salvation, baptism, etc. I then offer a potentially more effective way of asking these questions. Let’s all learn and grow together.
Common Question: Am I ready to share the Gospel with children? At times it can seem overwhelming to share your faith with a child. Sure, you know it’s a blessing, but maybe you are used to and more comfortable communicating with adults rather than kids or students. Don’t allow fear to drive you in this. You may never feel ready, but the LORD wants to use you.
Better Question: Am I willing to be used by God and am I equipped to share the Gospel with children? The key is to have a willing spirit and be willing to be equipped and trained. Sharing your faith with a child is very different from sharing with an adult. How and what you say matters. We must remember that sharing our faith and leading a child to the LORD is not impossible, but rather an incredible honor.
Common Question: Is this child old enough to understand the Gospel? I understand the heart behind this question. I really do. As ministry leaders and parents, we all want kids to understand what they are doing when they ask Jesus to be LORD and Savior. I believe at times, though, we get too caught up on the actual number and age before we hear a child out. Parents will often say, “They just are too young and not ready yet.” While there is usually wise discernment here, let’s not get caught up on, “They are just 7… they can’t know what they are doing.”
Better Question: Can this child explain to me who Jesus is, what He did on the cross, and why it matters? If a child can do this at the age of 7 or 8, then awesome. Have a Gospel conversation with them and help lead them in making the greatest decision they can ever make. Some kids won’t be able to do this until they are older. Age isn’t the most important thing here because every kid is different! The most important part is discerning if the child fully understands the Gospel. When we rush this, it leads to kids not really knowing what they are doing, and then when they turn 16, saying, “I just did that because I thought I was supposed to.” It is so important that we take the time to have several conversations with kids to ensure they are ready. From my personal experience, I’ve found the best way to do this is to have a conversation with both the child and parents in the room.
Common Question: How can I simplify the Gospel so this child will understand it? In my opinion, using words like “simplify” and “watered-down” are not really communicating what we are trying to do. It is so crucial we give kids the FULL picture of the Gospel and not just a snapshot because we feel they can’t grasp it.
Better Question: How can I clearly explain the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to this child? Don’t just simply simplify it, be very clear. Be age appropriate? Absolutely. Move slower instead of faster to ensure they are tracking with you. Ask a lot of questions. Do a lot of listening. Pray like crazy before and after. When we clearly explain the Gospel and pray the Holy Spirit moves in hearts and lives, great things can happen.
Sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ with children is an honor and blessing. May kids ministries all over the world be intentional and proactive in this great endeavor!