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How to Lead Your Child to Christ

Luis Palau

The Lord longs to welcome children into His family. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14, NIV). Through our prayers and encouragement, we can have an active part in leading our sons and daughters to faith in Christ.

Leading your child to Jesus Christ may not happen all in one day, of course. As parents, we may have the privilege of introducing the Lord to our children over a period of several years. There’s so much to talk about and discover together.

Telling the Gospel Story

One of the most important ways we can communicate our faith to our children is by leading them in family worship. Time for Bible reading, memorization, discussion, prayer, and singing should be a natural, enjoyable, and daily part of family life.

God has designed the home as the place where His Word is to be taught, lived, and passed on from generation to generation. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Covering the Basics

Our emphasis in presenting the Gospel to our children should be that God is our heavenly Father. That is essential. Instead of initially focusing on sin—“We hurt the Lord when we do wrong things”—we should major on the fact that our heavenly Father, who is perfect, loves us with an everlasting love. But the issue of sin also needs to be addressed.

To experience God’s love, our children must own up to those things in their lives that hurt Him—selfishness, pride, deceit, and all the rest. They need to see that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). They need to learn that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That includes everyone, young and old alike.

Your child may not completely understand how God places the penalty for his or her sin on His Son. That’s okay. God simply asks us to respond to Him based on what we do know.

Leading in a Prayer of Commitment

If your son or daughter asks, “Well, how do I become a Christian?” turn to Scripture for the answer. We like to use Romans 10:9-10 with children, inserting their names in the blanks. “If you, _____, confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you, _____, will be saved. For it is with your heart that you, _____, believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you, _____, confess and are saved.”

The best way we know for an individual to make Jesus the Lord of his or her life is to bow his or her head in prayer, confess his or her sins to God, by faith open his or her heart to Christ, believe in Him, and receive Him.

Pray together with your child, and after you finish praying together, ask several questions to help your child clarify the decision he or she just made. Then celebrate that decision! Give your child opportunities to share the joy of his or her decision with family members and Christian friends. To help your child look back on that decision, encourage him or her to write it down in a Bible or New Testament.

The Need for Assurance

If we hear a child make the statement, “I asked Jesus into my heart again today,” wait for a good, teachable moment when the subject comes up naturally and then say, “When we come to Jesus, we belong to Him forever. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.”

Lack of assurance is a sign of immaturity. Children need reassurance. Parents can move alongside a child and say, “Aren’t you glad that Jesus will never, ever let you out of His hands? He’s never going to let you go. You’re part of His family forever.” It’s also helpful to memorize biblical promises about assurance, such as John 10:28, with a child. That’s where we need to go when doubts come.

Discipleship in the Home

Our goal as Christian parents is to lead our children into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and then spend the rest of their childhood years discipling them. We need to keep those two concepts separate in our thinking. First, we’re born into God’s family; then the lifelong process of discipleship begins.

As parents, we often see things in our children’s lives that are inconsistent with Christianity, and we sometimes fail to handle the situation with care. In the home, where we have the privilege of saying anything that crosses our mind, our worst side often comes out. But it’s helpful when you’re looking at your child and wondering “Is this kid really a Christian?” to remember when we were born again. We didn’t grow up in Christ overnight. We need to have long memories.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul speaks of “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Every Christian can enjoy this same confidence. As soon as a child accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she is saved. God has begun a good work in that child’s life, even if we can’t always see it.

Tragically, some people resist the idea of evangelizing children. In our evangelistic campaigns, we’ve seen men and women holding back their children from going forward to confess the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Other parents don’t talk about the issue of salvation with their children, as if it were just a theological matter for adults to discuss at church. The message many children are picking up is: “Wait until you grow up, and then you can make your decision.” But it’s really the other way around.

Unless we become like little children, we can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” said Jesus. Let’s actively, prayerfully encourage our children to come to Him.

Taken from Your New Life with Christ, by Luis Palau. Copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 60187. This material is not to be electronically transferred. Down-load for personal use only.