There is no set formula for evangelizing your child. But there are six pointers that may be helpful to you. These pointers are great not just for Christian parents, but also for childrens church lessons.
1. Read Bible stories to your child that illustrate being lost and getting saved. Children love to hear stories. Two of my favorite Bible stories that illustrate this truth are the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7) and the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10).
2. Use stories to explain humanity’s sin problem. I like to illustrate the sin problem by talking about a bow and arrow. If you aim at a target with the bow and arrow, sometimes you “miss the target.” This is one of the meanings of the word “sin” in the New Testament. In our lives we “miss the target” when we don’t live as God wants us to.
How do we know if our lives are “missing the target”? By measuring our lives against God’s book — the Bible. God has told us what He wants us to do and what He doesn’t want us to do. When we fail in these things, we’ve “missed the target” (Romans 5:12). Explain this to your child.
3. Explain what Jesus accomplished at the cross. God loves us very much. But because each of us has “missed the target” in our lives, there is a wall or barrier between us and God. Our relationship with God has been broken. Jesus, by dying on the cross, took the punishment for our sins so we wouldn’t have to. He took it for us. Jesus has thereby made it possible for us to have our relationship to God restored.
I like to talk about the “certificate of debt” mentioned in Colossians 2:14 as a means of illustrating this. (You might call it a “bad behavior list” when speaking to your child.) Back in ancient days, whenever someone was found guilty of a crime, the offender was put in jail and a bad behavior list was posted on the jail door. This paper listed all the crimes the offender was found guilty of. Upon release, after serving the prescribed time in jail, the offender was given the bad behavior list, and on it was stamped, “Paid in Full.”
Christ took the bad behavior list of each of our lives and nailed it to the cross. He paid for all our sins at the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice “paid in full” the price for our sins (John 19:30).
Because of Jesus, the “bad behavior list” of our whole life has been tossed into the trash can. Our relationship with God is restored.
4. Explain that salvation is a free gift that is received by faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 says salvation is a gift from God. A gift cannot be earned. It’s free.
You might illustrate this truth with your child’s birthday. Most kids on their birthday receive one or more gifts. But as soon as they receive the gift, they don’t go get their allowance so they can pay for it. You can’t pay for a gift. It’s free. All you have to do is receive it.
Similarly, you can’t buy the gift of salvation. God gives it to us free. All we have to do is receive it.
We “receive” this wonderful gift by placing our faith in Jesus. Placing faith in Jesus Christ is not a complicated thing. It involves taking Christ at His word. Faith involves believing that Christ was who He said He was (God). Faith also involves believing that Christ can do what He claimed He could do — He can forgive me and come into my life.
5. Allow your child to ask plenty of questions. Children are naturally inquisitive. If you let them know they’re allowed to ask questions about what you’re saying, you can count on them to do so. Don’t rush your discussion when sharing the gospel. Allow as much time as it requires.
6. Lead your child in a simple prayer. The prayer might go something like this:
I want to have a relationship with you and get to know you. I know I can’t save myself, because I know I’m a sinner. I know I’ve done some things wrong.
Thank You for dying on the cross for me and taking the punishment for my sins. Thank you for taking the punishment for all the things I’ve done wrong.
I believe You died for me, and I accept Your free gift of salvation. Thank You, Jesus.
Ask your child if he really believes what he just said to God in prayer. If he does, he is now saved. He is a Christian. He is in the family of God. Tell him that the angels in heaven are cheering right now because he became a Christian (Luke 15:10).
Now, one of the greatest blessings of salvation is that those who believe in Jesus are adopted into God’s forever family (Romans 8:14). Close by emphasizing to your child how great it is to belong to two families — your family and God’s forever family.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes