by Sylvia Chua
What does the Bible say about child evangelism?
We believe that telling children the good news about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is biblical. It is both our responsibility and privilege.
Here are some points to consider:
God commands us to preach the Gospel to all people in the world, and that includes children.
So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.
Everyone, including children, has a sinful nature and is therefore in need of salvation.
I was brought into this world in sin. In sin my mother gave birth to me.
From birth, evil people turn away from God; they wander off and tell lies as soon as they are born.
Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death. This is why everyone must die—because everyone sinned.
Jesus specifically instructed his disciples not to turn children away.
Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so he could put his hands on them and pray for them. His followers told them to stop, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children." After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there.
God instructed the Israelites to pass on their legacy of faith to their children. That same instruction applies to us as well.
But be careful! Watch out and don't forget the things you have seen. Don't forget them as long as you live, but teach them to your children and grandchildren.
Beyond these Biblical considerations, it is also an established fact that people are more receptive to the gospel while they are young.
George Barna, in "Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions", writes:
"A series of studies we conducted regarding the age at which people accept Christ as their Savior highlights the importance of having people invite Jesus into their hearts as their Savior when they are young. We discovered that the probability of someone embracing Jesus as his or her Savior was 32 percent for those between ages of 5 and 12; 4 percent for those in the 13- to 18-age range; and 6 percent for people 19 or older. In other words, if people do not embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chances of their doing so at all is slim."
Word of Caution:
Though obvious but often overlooked, children are not as mature as adults. Every child is also different, each possessing different degrees of maturity and understanding.
We must therefore be careful to clearly present the gospel to them in such a way that they can understand.
Furthermore, before a child is invited to accept Jesus as his/her personal savior, we must first ascertain that he/she understands these fundamental ideas concerning our salvation:
- The concept of sin.
- He/she has sinned.
- Sin displeases God.
- Sin separates us from God.
- Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin.
- We must each put our faith in Jesus.
If the child is unable to grasp any of these fundamental points, it would be best not to ask the child for any decision. The most important thing for now is to reassure the child that God loves him/her.