This Easter, I am reminded that our greatest parenting goal should be to help our children know, understand and accept the Gospel.
I often use this example when parents ask me about leading their child to Jesus.
#1 - We should not push our child to accept Jesus as their Forgiver, Leader and Friend.
I have seen parents, who mean well, push their child to make a decision, even if the child is very young or doesn't clearly understand the decision they are about to make.
This is not what God has called us to do as parents. Children have to make the decision to follow Jesus for themselves. God has no grandchildren, only children.
#2 - We should not hold our child back from making a decision for Christ.
The flip side to #1 is parents who hold their child back from making a decision for Christ, even when the child clearly understands and wants to commit their life to Christ. Is there a specific age when children are ready to follow Jesus? No. Each child is different. But there are some clear signs that you can look for to see if the child is ready to accept Jesus into their life.
The child understands what sin is and that they have personally sinned.
The child understands there is a penalty for sin which is separation from Jesus one day.
The child understands that Jesus came, lived a perfect life, was crucified, died on the cross, was buried and rose again on the 3rd day.
The child understands that Jesus died to pay to the price for their sin.
The child understands that you accept Jesus into your life by asking Him to be your Forgiver, Leader and Friend.
The child keeps bringing it up to you. This is a sign that God is working in their life.
The child has a sense of urgency. They see it as something they need to do versus something they want to do.
3. A parent's role is not to push or hold back, but rather to walk alongside their child.
What God wants parents to do is this. Don't push your children into a decision. Also don't hold your child back if God is at work in their life. Instead, walk alongside them. Share the Gospel with them. Have faith conversations with them and explain what it means to follow Jesus.
While you are doing this, rest assured the Holy Spirit is at work in your child's heart. Drawing him or her to Himself.
Jesus has promised that if we lift Him up, He will draw all men to Himself. Share this promise with parents and remind them that it is the Holy Spirit who does the work. Our role is to simply share the Gospel as we walk with our child toward faith in Jesus.
A great resource for leading children and their parents to Jesus, is a class called Starting Point. Starting Point clearly explains the Gospel and helps kids follow Jesus for a lifetime. You can order it at this link. This class would be a great follow-up step for the kids and parents who accept Jesus this Easter season. In one year, I saw over 460 kids go through this class and make a decision for Christ (as well many, many parents).
The Gospel still works. It's as powerful as ever! It is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes...including children and their parents.
Praying for you and believing with you that many people will come to Christ this Easter in your ministry.