When your child begins to ask questions about becoming a Christian, it can be so exciting. You have probably been praying about this for years, and your child is finally beginning to show interest in taking this big step of faith. But after the excitement wears off, the anxiety might start to appear, and you find yourself asking, “How do I explain the gospel to my child?” Of course, you want to make sure that you explain it well. This is probably THE biggest decision your child will ever make in their life.
In hopes of taking away some of the anxiety, we want to share one way that we have found helpful when talking to children about becoming a Christian. Feel free to use this as a guide and explain it in your own words or use it verbatim when talking with your child.
It starts with breaking down a verse that you and your child are probably already familiar with: John 3:16.
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” John 3:16
We break this verse down into two bigger categories:
- What God did: God loved. God gave.
- What do we do: We believe. We receive.
God loves us, but something separates us from Him and keeps us from being with Him forever. It’s called sin. On our own, there is nothing we can do about this. We need God’s help, and since He loves us, He made a way for all of us to be with Him forever.
Ask your child these questions:
- What is sin?
- Have you ever sinned? If so, when?
- What is the problem with sin?
God gave us Jesus. Jesus was not just a man; Jesus was God’s Son! God sent His Son, Jesus, to make a way for you to have a relationship with God. He was perfect—literally perfect. He never did anything wrong, which is why He’s the only one that could fix what sin broke. Jesus took the punishment for our sins so we can be forgiven.
Ask your child these questions:
- What did God give us?
- What did Jesus do for us?
To be forgiven, all you have to do is believe that Jesus died and rose again to pay the price for your sins. You trust that Jesus is the only way for you to have a relationship with God forever.
When you believe in Jesus and trust Him to save you, you begin a new relationship with God that starts right away and goes on forever in a place that He made perfect.
As you are talking with your child, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Your child might not decide to follow Jesus right away. Faith is a process, and it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open. Remind your child that you are there to help with any questions they might have.
- There is no “right prayer” for a child to pray. Each kid will express their faith in their own way. Don’t get hung up on the right words, but the heart with which those words are spoken. The key is to make sure that your child understands sin and how our sin separates us from God.
- It is best not to use phrases like “invite Jesus into your heart” because kids are concrete thinkers, which might make them think that someone is coming to live inside their physical heart. Instead, use phrases like “trust Jesus as your Savior,” “become a child of God,” or “become a follower of Jesus.”
- You shouldn’t make up answers to questions about faith. “I don’t know” is a legitimate answer to questions that kids might have. Faith is sometimes hard to understand. That’s why it’s faith. This is a great time to model to your children how to seek help, such as talking to a pastor, searching in God’s word for answers, or praying and asking God for understanding.
If you have not decided to trust Jesus as your Savior for yourself, now is the perfect time. We have a resource that might help you.
If your child has decided to accept Jesus (hooray!), we would love to hear about it. The next step is to begin a conversation about baptism. If your child is ready for this next step in their faith, this is a great place to start.
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*
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