Over the years I’ve counseled many parents who want to lead their children to Jesus, and I’ve found that they have two common concerns:
- Does my child understand the truth?
- How can I know my child really believes the gospel?
Question one concerns knowledge. Your child must posses the proper concepts and truths of the faith before they can profess genuine faith in the gospel. What is sin? Who is God? Why is Jesus important? These represent the kind of questions your child needs to be able to answer.
The second question tries to dig into the heart, and it’s far more difficult to answer. Many children understand the concepts and truths of the Christian faith. But knowing the truth saves no one. James told us that even demons know who God is, but they are, nonetheless, fallen (James 2:19). Let’s make sure we don’t simply foster minds that know the gospel, but hearts that love the sacrifice of Jesus and hope in the gospel. This booklet contains a plan to address question 1: does my child know the truth?
While most parents know they need to teach Biblical truth to their children many don’t know where to begin, which truths to teach, or how to go about teaching them. In the following pages you will find an edited version of a child’s catechism. It’s a manual of basic Biblical truths in the form of questions and answers along with scriptural supports.
In my family we began using this tool in the car, at the dinner table, or even during play time. I’d ask a question from the catechism then supply the answer. Over time your child will memorize the answers and you can also use the scriptural supports for further study/discussion in God’s Word.
Remember, knowing these truths doesn’t bring anyone into the Kingdom. You are simply using this tool as a plan for transferring basic Christian doctrine into your child’s mind.
As your child begins to assimilate Biblical truth you must constantly remind them that Jesus doesn’t just call us to know him. He wants us to love him. Here are a few thoughts on aiding their heart awareness as you are instructing them in truth.
- Continually talk about the love of Jesus and his sacrifice for sin on the cross.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts and leads them. It’s not your job to pile on guilt. Don’t rob the Holy Spirit of his role. Be patient and know that God’s plan/timing is better than yours.
- Don’t ask leading questions, or yes/no questions.
- You don’t want to go to hell do you?
- Don’t you want to go to heaven?
- You know you’re a sinner, right?
- You believe that Jesus died for you, right?
No 7 year old wants to go to hell. These questions assume the correct answers and don’t allow you to assess their heart.
- Realize that the new birth is internal. Salvation isn’t change in behavior. It’s the new life of God coming into our life. Many parents long for certitude of their child’s salvation, but because it’s internal you will struggle to see it at times. Don’t feel like you need to see a convincing moment of conversion.
I pray that this guide gets you started on the right track to leading your child to know the truth. I also pray you’ll trust Jesus to lead you and your child both to him. Always remember, that I’m more than excited to meet and talk about these things with you.