Presenting the Gospel
When I was a Childrenís Pastor I invited a ventriloquist to our end of the year celebration. It was a great program, the kids had a blast.
The last activity of the day was the Ventriloquist.
The last thing he did was ask the kids how many would like to invite Jesus into their heart.
He asked them to raise their hands if they wanted to invite Jesus into their heart.
No one responded right away so he asked again in an overly encouraging tone. A few raised their hands. Gradually other kids who didnít want to be left out raised their hands too.
The ventriloquist continued to urge the kids until more raised their hands.
Then he invited the kids to ďcome forward.Ē Even more came forward than had raised their hands Ė they of course didnít want to be left out.
He then took all the children who had come forward into a room where he met with them. I followed him to observe.
He asked questions like:
Do you want to go where everything is bad? A room full of heads shook their heads no.
Do you want to go where everything is good? A room full of heads nodded yes.
He then had them repeat a prayer after him. He told them that they now knew that when they died they would go to heaven. He promised them over and over that they neednít ever worry again because since they prayed this prayer they were going to go to heaven.
Our anxiety over the status of an unconverted child may lead us to push children into spiritual stillbirth.
We can get children to raise their hands,
We can get them to come to the front of the room,
we can get them to pray the words we suggest,
But do they really understand what they have done?
What if the child has merely wanted:
to be one of the gang or
wanted your approval
so he has done what you wanted.
What if it isnít Godís time for this child to come to Him?
If you have misread the child you will have a spiritually still birthed child.
The child doesnít experience the change that comes when the Holy Spirit enters because the Holy Spirit doesnít enter. The Holy Spirit played no part in what just happened. You usurped the Holy Spiritís role.
Now what if the child is told he is secure in the Lord. He is assured of Godís grace Ė however he doesnít have Godís grace. He just went through what to him is no more than a hocus pocus activity.
All of us have met people who say they tried Christianity as a child but it didnít work for them.
You and I know you donít try Christianity. Christianity is Almighty God coming to live within us. As He does, He transforms us, we are made new creatures.
I do believe that the Holy Spirit draws children to Jesus; however we must make sure we donít get in His way.
Things to remember!
Present the gospel in concrete language that children can understand.
Make sure you know how children think and learn.
After presenting the truths of the gospel, tell the kids that if they want to become a member of Godís family to come speak to you later.
It is the Holy Spirit who is responsible to convict and draw Ė not yours. If it is the Holy Spirit drawing them the kids will come to you later or they will speak to their parents.
Again, donít ask children to respond in a group.
If several children come to you at once asking about becoming a part of Godís family,
then set up individual times to speak with them.
When you meet with them:
Donít ask yes and no questions.
Make sure the child understands by asking questions, which require sentence responses, e.g. Why did Jesus die on the cross?
When a child responds in a way you believe that it is the Holy Spirit drawing her pray with her.
Continue to pray for him as though he still needs to know the Lord. Donít assume there has been adult-level understanding of the decision
that was made.
The next time you are going to present the gospel [to elicit a response] do a lot of praying and ask the Lord to guide you.
Copyright 2011 Wanda Parker
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