Talking to Children about Salvation
KEYS TO TALKING TO A CHILD ABOUT SALVATION:
- Ask Follow-up questions - When a child asks a question, often they do not know exactly what to ask. Get clarification before deciding how to answer a question. For example, you might say, "Tell me about what you are thinking," "What made you ask that question," or "Where did you hear about this?" Remember, many times the question a child asks may not be the actual question for which he is needing an answer. Avoid asking questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no."
- Avoid giving more information than a child needs - Adults can be tempted to tell all they know on a subject. When a child asks a question, only answer what the child is asking. If a child asks for more information, be more specific with your answers.
- Don't jump to conclusions - A child may ask, "Why did Andy get baptized?" This question may be only a request for information, not a request for the gospel presentation.
- Speak in clear terms - Avoid symbolic analogies that may distract from discussion and understanding.
- Use simple wording - Rather than using the phrase "accepting Jesus into your heart," say the words "becoming a Christian." Here are some commonly misused phrases...
STEPS OF GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION:
- God loves you and has a great plan for you (Psalm 139:13-16) - Talk about these truths: God made the world, God made people, God made you, God wants to have a relationship with people, and God wants to have a relationship with you. Say, "Tell me one way you know God loves you."
- We have all sinned (Romand 3:23) - Everyone must understand that he is separated from God. Sin is best understood as choosing to do things our way instead of God's way (have your child name some examples of sin such as disobedience, lying, fighting, or even stealing)
- We deserve to be punished for our sins (Romans 6:23) - Explain that a "wage" is what we deserve for doing something. A parent performs a job and earns money or a wage. The wages of sin is death. Let them know that death refers to separation from God. We will all die, but we can not be with God in Heaven if we have sin in our life. The topic of Hell will often come up in this discussion. Do not shy away from the topic of Hell. It is a real place where people will spend eternity in torment. Your child needs to understand that. However, don't go so far that your child is scared into salvation.
- Even though we choose sin, God still loves us and offered to forgive us (Romans 5:8) - Ask, "How do you think it makes God feel when you sin?" Focus on the fact that God loves the child even when they sin. Make sure that they understand that God knows about every sin that they commit. Say: "God promised that one day a Savior would come and not sin and would die for all people. Do you know who that Savior is? Did you know that He died for you?"
- Jesus died for us (John 3:16) - Tell about John 3:16 and explain that because sin separates people from God, everyone needs a Savior. Ask, "Do you know why Jesus died?" Reply, "Jesus loved you so much. He willingly died for you, so you could be with God forever," If the child is old enough to understand the resurrection, say, "Jesus rose from the dead, so we could have eternal life."
- You can become a Christian by confessing that Jesus is your Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9) - Ask, "Would you like to be a Christian and start living for Jesus today?" State that the word confess means to say that Jesus is your Savior and that you must:
- Admit you have sinned
- Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
- Commit your life to living for Jesus Christ
REVIEW AND FOLLOW-UP:
- Encourage a child to tell you in their own words what they understand and believe. Either ask the child to repeat a prayer after you or help the child know what to say in their prayer. After the prayer, read Romans 10:13 and remind them that this verse is a promise. Jesus will be their Savior forever.
- Even if your child is not artistic, create a scrapbook page with your child. Have them write and draw their thoughts and feelings about their salvation. Help your child to come up with their own ideas. Give them some Bible references that might be useful. This page can be used later in their life to remind them that they understood exactly what it means to be saved.
Baptism is the next step in your child's spiritual journey. Your child should want to be baptized without any prompting from you. They shouldn't be doing it just to please you. However, they must first understand baptism.
- Always make distinctions between baptism and becoming a Christian - Point out that becoming a Christian comes first, and then baptism follows because it is a way of showing they have become a Christian.
- Avoid emphasizing the emotional side of the baptism experience - Keep in mind that public recognition should not become a motivation factor for making a decision.
- Let them know why they should be baptized - To follow the example set by Jesus (Mark 1:9); Because Christ commanded it (Matthew 28:19-20); and because it is my public profession of faith (1 John 2:3)
- Baptism is not an eternal life or eternal death decision - The act of baptism does not save a person. If you are not sure if your child is ready, then it might be best to hold off. This will not harm your child or impact their salvation. However, if your child can express what Jesus has done for them and is showing fruit of the Holy Spirit, then there's no reason to wait.
Here at Eagles' Landing First Baptist Church, children interested in being baptized are encouraged to meet with our Director of Children's Discipleship, Jennifer Hembree, to go over the points of salvation and schedule baptism. Contact directly to make an appointment.
We also have additional information available about baptism.