How NOT to Share the Gospel with Your Kids

You would think that sharing the Gospel — the good news of Jesus — would be an easy, natural thing to do with our kids. But let’s face it, it can be a difficult task.

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Though there are many methods out there to point our kids to Jesus, there are quite a few misconceptions about what sharing the Gospel with our kids might look like.

What sharing the gospel is not.

Leading our kids to Jesus is not solely sending them to church. While I do hope you are each going to a church that teaches about Jesus, the act of sending them to church is not sharing the Gospel with your children, it is only passing off the responsibility to someone else. The church’s job is to come along side of the family, to encourage and enhance what they are doing in the home.

Bringing them to faith in Christ is not simply leading them in a prayer. Our kids want to please us, so desperately. If we talk about becoming a Christian enough, most children will ultimately come out and say that they want to be one. I’ve witnessed many parents put a ton of stock in the fact that they prayed with their child once, but this is the only “evidence” they have of their salvation.

Sharing the Gospel with our kids is not a one-time deal. It is an on-going conversation toward entering an on-going relationship with Jesus. Even after a child “prays the prayer” we should continue to talk with them about the good news of all that Jesus has done for us. One of the worst things we can do as parents is to give our children a false sense of security when it comes to their salvation. If they think the end goal is to pray a prayer, walk an aisle, or get dunked in the baptismal … well, frankly, we are setting them up for failure.

So, how do I share Jesus with my kids?

I spent over a decade of my life in ministry with Cru, in which I had hundreds of opportunities to communicate the good news of Jesus. The following comes from the basic outline I used in ministry, anf to this day is the structure I go to when sharing my faith with others (including my kids!)

1. God loves you and created you to know Him personally.

2. Man is sinful and therefore separated from God.

3. Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

4. We must each individually receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Over the next several months we’ll be taking a deeper look at each of these points and how to effectively and clearly communicate these truths to your children. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

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In the meantime …

Here are a few of my all-time favorite children’s Bibles. A great start to sharing the good news of Jesus with your kids!

  • The Jesus Storybook Bible.  “Every story whispers his name” is the tagline for this book and it couldn’t be a more appropriate description. I love this story Bible, as do my kids. This is most appropriate for children old enough to sit and listen to a 10-minute story. We also have the audio version and use it often.
  • The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes. This is the perfect read-aloud for toddlers. The stories are super-short (like 1 minute short!) with great, descriptive pictures, and a Gospel-centered theme. Each story ends with a few engaging questions and a short prayer. This is also a good option for early readers to read on their own.
  • Family-Time Bible in Pictures. Written by the same author as the former Bible, these stories are a bit longer. The pictures are just as great and descriptive, and has engaging questions as well.

What is the biggest challenge you face in sharing the Gospel with your children? What questions do you have? Have you begun any Gospel-centered conversations with your kids? How did they go? Share them with us in the comments.

 

About Katie 
HelloMornings Director

Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Auburn fan. Loves to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime.

Learn more about Katie on her website KatieOrr.me. Follow her on Twitter.

Comments

  1. This is exactly what we are dealing with this week. My 8 year old son has always seemed incredibly aware spiritually. He’s prayers have always been rich and deep, he has the childlike faith. Jesus is part of our everyday lives. But this last week he has been walking around so convicted of his past sins. He comes to me 2-4 times a day crying and telling on himself of past things he has done. He is so burdened right now. I can’t figure out if it is God convicting him or satan attacking him. It hurts me to see him under so much pressure. We keep talking to him about how Jesus saves us from our sins and when we commit our lives to him he takes them away. But I feel like he isn’t quite getting it. I know I need to figure out a way to communicate salvation to him on a child friendly level but having a hard time. He believes in Jesus with all his heart but he doesn’t grasp what Jesus has done for him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • I have two kids who are autistic and it’s incredibly hard to get them to believe without seeing. They are very literal. So my son wants to know HOW you get to heaven. On a bus? With roller skates? HOW can God be three parts? Do you take Him apart? HOW can He be everywhere at once? If He’s with me how is He with you? Where is Heaven exactly?
      And reading bible stories are just stories to them. We haven’t been able to bridge using the lesson from a story in our daily lives. Our life is one thing, to DS. The story is separate.
      Hard. Definitely hard. I know he’s close to salvation but I need to trust God to bridge the gap. Somehow. Beyond my understanding.

    • I have no advice, just remembering when I was 9-10-11 I had the same feeling. I was very convicted about 3 or 4 specific sins I had committed, and every time I prayed I felt the need to confess them again and again and never felt forgiven. For me it finally lifted when I felt led to make practical amends, all these sins were sins against other people, so I wrote them all letters (“I was the one who tore up your rose bush! I’m sorry!” etc) and in the cases where I had broken their stuff, I included some money (which I knew wasn’t enough, but all I had, maybe $5..). After this I felt a peace about it. I don’t think the feelings of condemnation were from the Lord, but it was at least a great lesson in asking also people for forgiveness, not just God.

      Other times as a kid, I definitely felt oppressed spiritually, I don’t know why but I never told my parents. For a long time, I felt as if every time I prayed I needed to be very specific that I was praying to Jesus (“Jesus, I pray to you, Jesus, that you, Jesus….”) because otherwise Satan would think I’m praying to him (my logic was that my name also starts with Sa, so there would already be a connection). Looking back at it, I wish I would have told my parents, and I wish they would have taught me specific verses in the Bible to fight with in my mind, to remind myself of.

      So no practical solutions, but at least verse memorization I’m sure would help him in knowing he’s forgiven!

      • Sara, thank you so much for responding. Wow, I can’t tell you how good it feels to hear someone else’s similar experience. You DID give me some practical solutions, I think the verse memorization is going to be key. Thank you for being honest and taking time to share
        your story.

    • Juleah,
      You may have tried the following, but here are a few thoughts to add to what’s already been said:
      -Pray together. If he is up for it, he can confess his sins to God out loud and you can lead him in a prayer, claiming God’s promises to forgive.
      -Memorize 1 John 1:9. Focus on God’s character you learn from that verse.
      -Do a scripture hunt together, finding verses on God’s forgiveness. Buy him a journal, or a 3×5 card spiral and have him write out several that he would like to remember. Teach him to go to those verses when he is feeling afraid.
      – Consider doing an exercise with him, to help him understand better that his sins are “gone”. (These are usually done for High School aged, but I think this may help him grasp the concept.) Two that come to mind are: Have his write out every sin he can think of that he is committed. Then you have him write 1 John 1:9 on top of it, and find a way to destroy the paper. Some burn it, some tear it in as many pieces as possible. writing your sins on a balloon, and letting it go — never to be seen again.

      • Katie, thank you for responding. We have prayed several times but have not done anything beyond that. I think claiming verses is going to be very beneficial! I also love the visual of writing out our sins and demolishing them, I think my son will respond well to this idea. Thank you again for taking the time to give some wonderful advice!

    • I am in awe at how identical this sounds to my 10 year old daughter. I wish I had advice but we are sometimes at the end of our rope. My daughter turned her life over to Jesus about a year and a half ago. She has always been very spiritually mature. She “gets” things most her age would not understand. I think that is why she is so sensitive to her sins. She has a panic attack every couple of weeks about guilt over past sins. We have prayed with her, our pastor has talked with her, she has scripture posted everywhere. We have created a prayer box and journal for her. Anytime a sermon is preached on it she gets all worked up again. She loves Jesus with all her heart and knows what he did for her. But it’s like she just can’t move on. I’m at a loss……

  2. I’m excited for this series!!

    My oldest is three, and she’s very interested in the Bible and learning about God. We’ve very recently introduced the concept of sin to her, but I’m not sure how much she gets. I struggle with knowing what’s age appropriate.

    Looking forward to learning more!

  3. I love this! One of my favorite ways to share the Gospel with my own kids is to share while I am changing their diapers! They are 2 and 1 (almost). I tell them that sin is like a poopy diaper, we need Jesus to come and wash it away. Just like Mommy washes away the poop and gives them a new diaper, Jesus washes away our sin and gives us a new heart! Sometimes we even sing about it. I have a kids song called “New Life in Jesus”, and sometimes, I sing “New diaper for …” instead and then sing, “It’s just like new life in Jesus…” It is really fun and my two year old has picked up on the words!

    Another good resource is Billy Graham’s children’s tract. It is called “Simple Steps” and it is based off of “Steps to Peace with God.” I use that one with my kids at church, and taught the how to share the Gospel with others through that tract!

  4. I’m looking forward to reading more. I think most importantly as well is that they see you living out your faith and recognize Jesus’ presence in your words and actions.

    • Agreed! I think that is a powerful way to show our kids the gospel. For us to talk about our own need for Jesus, and our own salvation journey.

  5. Jeannette Mulligan says:

    I have 4 children. The first 3, no dilemma on explaining the gospel and their comprehension of it. But my youngest, who will be 6 on 1May, has high-functioning autism and severe ADHD. It’s difficult to get him to grasp the concepts but he is blessed to have great teachers at church who are patient with him and love him. The “layering” of the gospel message… between us at home and various teachers at church has helped.

  6. Great post, and yes we can do “good”thing but if not sharing the Gospel we fail. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. I am so excited about this series. My daughter is almost 1 year, so she is still young, and I would love to hear about ideas/ways to incorporate Jesus into their lives even when this little. We started a family prayer before we put her to bed, which we will continue from now on, but I feel like theres even more I could do right now??? Can’t wait to read.

  8. So timely that I would read this today. I really feel that God led me to this post at this moment. I have been wondering about this as my 6yo has been asking questions along this line since Saturday. We came from a church that really didn’t have an answer for this and really didn’t teach us how to share the Gospel with anyone (that was the pastor’s job). My DH & I grew up in families that put all their stock in “the prayer.” (When a family member died who was heavy into the occult I was told that he went to VBS once as a child and he probably “prayed the prayer” at that time so he was in heaven now.) I feel really inadequate, but really do want to share with them.

  9. Martha says:

    I’m a single mother of two, boy (16) girl (9) and a sunday school teacher. It’s hard as a single parent to discipline your children, more the boys because with their protective nature they always want to take the lead. Yet the word of the Lord teaches us to be firm in guidig our children. Its hard to lead the children and teach them the word if you are burden by the challenges of single parenting. However, I’ve learnt that nothing in life actually comes easy and through perserverance we see the glory of the Lord manifesting. I would thus love to share to all parents this, just keep on doing the little that you do. Its a learning curf for you and the children as well. Each question they ask is a challenge because you have to search the answer and also try to keep motivating and convincing yourself. It has been 16 years of trying bit by bit with my son but one day he told me that he has stuff to sort out with the Lord. I was glad…at least he understood the essence of going to the Lord when he needs to deal with issues he doesn’t want to share with mommy. Our little efforts teach and mold us not only the kids. As one elder from my church use to say, “let the children play while learning and you too grow with them while joining in the play”.

  10. Someone posted about how to help an autistic child understand the gospel. I don’t know at what age this book would help (it would be for the parent to read and then share with the child), but the book “Gospel for the Visual Learner” by Leslie Hughes…she wrote it for her autistic son. I heard her give a presentation from the book…it was wonderful. It might help you.

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