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– Good evening, I’m Belinda Stroud and I have the opportunity and privilege to serve you as a State Missionary at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, and I work in the children’s ministry area. And tonight we’re going to have Cindy Thomas, who is the Minister to Children in Preschool at First Baptist Dothan share with us how to share the plan of salvation with children. And we know that that is the absolute, most important thing that we do as children preschool ministers, as children in preschool Sunday school, life group leaders, and as parents. George Barna has a research firm that does a lot of different research on religious studies and he said a couple of years ago that 45% of people who become Christians become Christians before the age of 13. So we have a small window and opportunity of time to share that plan of salvation with children and we want to do everything we can to lead the children in our churches to know that our Lord is their personal Lord and Savior. So I welcome Cindy tonight. I’m gonna open us up in prayer, and I hope that all of you will learn about great resources, great terminology, and ways that you can better share the plan of salvation with children in your churches. Let me open us up in prayer and then we’ll get started. Our dear gracious Heavenly Father, we just thank You so much for the opportunity of technology that we have, that we can share tonight with each of these that are on and for future ones that will be watching about how to share the plan of salvation with children. Lord, we know this is just a super important thing. We know that we need to make it a priority and we want to feel comfortable, use the correct terminology, and do the very best that we can in how we can share what is the most important decision of a child’s life. I just thank You for Cindy and for her willingness to share tonight and ask You to be with her, give her clarity and a clear mind, and be able to communicate to us in a clear way. In Your name I pray, amen.
– Well, good evening. I’m really thrilled that you’re taking time out of your schedule to talk about children and salvation. And if you’re like me and you’re a visual learner or a verbal learner, we get things by saying them and then by seeing them. So I’m gonna share this screen and we’re going to use some PowerPoint here so that we can get this also. And so we’re gonna talk about leading a child to faith, and we want them to have a valid conviction from the Holy Spirit and a valid conversion experience. And so… This is not going to the next slide. Okay, here we can go. Sorry about that. So when we’re talking about leading a child to Christ, what we need, first of all, is biblical truth. And so you wanna make sure that everything that you share comes from the Word of God. And so we need the biblical truth and then we of course need that child. With the child, we can talk to a child with logic and it just makes sense to accept Christ because of what He’s done to us, but we need the work of the Holy Spirit. So I believe it takes all three of those things for us to be able to get, you know, a true salvation experience. A child’s salvation is… You know, building character, the most important character forming period in a child’s life is from birth till five. And you’ll notice if you’ve had children or you’ve taught children a long time, those beginning years are so important. And most character traits that are built are spiritual in nature, and salvation is not necessary for a child to consistent, well, we have to have salvation if they’re gonna consistently carry them out. We can teach every child to have manners and to be kind but to have a consistent carrying out of those things, this is the work of the Holy Spirit that changes us from the inside out. So it’s a delicate and a difficult subject and when I was studying about this and researching, there was a article that said, “Approach it with care.” And I went ahead and wrote that in and then wiped out care and said, “Approach it with prayer,” because we really need the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And we need to diligently seek salvation for our children so that it’s something that we’re placing priority on is that they would be saved. And then do not lead or allow children to make empty verbal professions of faith. There’s many kids that will make a profession of faith, but they’re just following what you’re asking them to do. One of the best websites that I found, like, just maybe six weeks ago as I was studying and pulling things together for this was gatherandgrow.com. And it’s “Faith Begins at Home” by Jess. So if you want to jot that down, that gatherandgrow.com, I really thought that they were right on with the theological part of accepting Christ. So what does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Because I know we live in America and we always say, “This is a Christian nation,” but just because you’re born here or even to Christian parents and you’ve gone to church, that does not mean that you are a Christian. So there’s false reasons that kids say they wanna be saved, and you probably can think of some of those false reasons. One is to avoid going to Hell. We just don’t want something bad to happen to us so we’ll just ask Jesus to come in our heart just to avoid that. Another false reason is to get attention. You know that your friend got attention or your cousin, or maybe a sibling and you want that attention also. Being a people pleaser. You may still be a people pleaser too. We, I think, all fall into that trap off and on but because children wanna please their teachers, they wanna please their parents, they may go through these steps and do what you ask them to do without any real conviction of sin. And then not understanding how salvation works, not realizing that to be a Jesus follower is different than just saying a prayer. And then to get a reward. And I just know that I’ve heard several people come talk to me to say, like, their brother got a big family dinner and everybody came in from out of town to see his baptism. And this one girl who was a camp counselor, she said she wanted to get that same attention so she did the same thing. And then she had to go to her dad about two years later. And he was, I think the head of the deacons in the church. And she said, “I didn’t even really understand what I was doing then, “I just wanted to get everything that my brother had.” And that wasn’t a true salvation experience and the Holy Spirit convicted her, and then she really became a Christ follower two years after that. So some common reasons for false professions too are that we as the parents or the teachers get ahead of the work of the Holy Spirit. You could see how easy that would be. We so desperately want our children to accept Christ and for the kids in our classroom to be Christ followers and so we have this really great lesson or this really good thing to say, and we want them to just follow right into that, that day. And so we have to have the Holy Spirit’s work in their life. Children who have learned to love Jesus through biblical teaching but they have no conviction of sin. If we love parents that bring their babies to church and put them in our church nurseries and teach them all the way up through our preschool and early childhood years, and they know a lot about Jesus and they love Jesus, but they really were never convicted of their sin. And then there’s children who make professions to please adults or to be praised or to get out of trouble. And so those are not valid reasons to become a Christ follower. So discerning true salvation. Well, children are seldom saved out of deep sin. They haven’t lived a life of, you know, getting way into sin and having that background that some people as adults wish that they wasn’t part of their testimony. Therefore, there’s not a dramatic change in their lives. Children still have a bit of innocence with them. Children raised in a Christian home often express sincere love and belief in the Lord even before they are saved, because we’re teaching them from the time they’re an infant and a baby that Jesus loves them and that they should love Jesus and that the Bible is true. And so even before they realize that they need salvation, they always have loved Jesus. Here’s some indications of salvation in children though. There’s a big improvement in attitude because that comes from the inside out. I’ve had a lot of children who would obey me on the outside, on the inside they’re just seething. And you’ve probably had that too. But when their attitude changes because the Holy Spirit has now come to be a part of who they are, that attitude changes. And then growth in character so that you see that there is, they are assimilating the truths that we teach them in themselves and we’re not having to push and prod that. Things to understand about children’s development is that children are very literal minded. So they think in concrete terms. So when you say certain words, it can be confusing to a child when you’re talking to them about salvation. For instance, imagine what a child would think when you say this, “Being washed in the blood.” Or, “Jesus washes away our sin.” Well, obviously they are, if they’re literal minded, they are thinking about being washed with blood or that His blood washes away and they kind of think of bathing. And so we have to be careful how we, what terminology we do use. So instead say, “Jesus both forgives and forgets our sin.” And I think that’s really good for adults to understand also that when we ask for that forgiveness, He forgives us and He forgets it. Many times, it’s hard for us to forget what we’ve done and to forgive ourselves, but that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says we need forgiveness from Jesus, not ourselves. Things to understand about children’s development too are that children have short attention spans. And that’s why when we talk about children and salvation, we don’t need to have a presentation that is more than 15 minutes long, 15 to I’ve been through every one of the evangelical studies that, you know, the Faith Plan, the CWE Plan, the EE Plan. They’re all so good but we need to have a clear, precise way to share the plan of salvation. So here’s one of the little pamphlets that we have is, “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me.” And you get this from Lifeway and it has pictures in to hold their attention. And then it just goes through very quickly, within 10 minutes or so, you can share what it means to, to be saved. So we need to have some ways and practice those that they’ll have… You won’t lose their train of thought as you’re going through your plan of salvation. So practice a simple presentation that doesn’t take more than five to eight minutes, because we want to give them time to talk too. We want to give them time to answer questions and to talk about where they are and what they feel the Holy Spirit’s doing in their life. And so we don’t need to spend 15 minutes of us just talking. How many of us lose our train of thought when someone’s, like, lecturing us? And then mark your Bible with key verses that a child can read with you. And I just went mid-June and in early July and followed up with children who made professions of faith during Vacation Bible School. But I took a Bible to them that I was gonna leave with them. And so the Bible was marked so we could turn to Romans 3:23, and then we could turn to Romans 6:23. And I would ask them to find that verse and read that part to me. And then we would talk about what that meant and then we would turn to the next page and read the next one. And then sometimes I would read it and sometimes they would read it, but they need to know that what you’re sharing comes from the Bible. And then at the end of that presentation, whether they accepted Christ or not, I left that Bible with them so they would have it in their home. And so it’s really good to have. Let them know that everything you’re sharing is straight from God’s Word and it’s truth. And then prayer makes the biggest difference. Just pray, pray, pray for that child to understand. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the heart of the child so that they’re already like tuned to spiritual conversation and then be sensitive to that child’s readiness to accept Christ. Sometimes they’re right there and ready immediately. And other times it will take them a little bit more time to think through and ask those questions. And we don’t need to be afraid of that. The Holy Spirit is, I mean, and God, Jesus, they’re reliable, the Trinity is reliable, to keep working in that child’s life so that when they’re feeling like, “Yes, now is the time,” you’ve laid that good foundation. Allow time for the child to respond. I don’t know about you, but a lot of times when we have, like, this presentation, we just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and we don’t give time for the other person to have questions or to talk about their experiences. And we need to be ready. And sometimes it takes the child a little bit longer with their language skills to get out what they’re really feeling. But go ahead and take that time and let them respond. Don’t be disappointed if the child’s not ready to make a decision right at that first time that you share. Leave room for future conversations. That child will let you know if they’re, and I’ll ask them during my presentation, when we’re looking at the scripture, I’ll say, “Does this make sense to you? “Do you have any questions about it?” And that way if they do, there’s like, “I don’t get this.” I know one time I was sharing from Acts 3:19 where it talks about repent and turn from your way and turn it so that times of refreshing may come. And they were like, “What are these times of refreshing? “I don’t understand that part.” And I was just focused on the first part of the verse and not the second part of the verse. Excuse me. So that was important so that they could ask that question. So present the Gospel, do not water it down. It’s the power to save. And Belinda talked in the very beginning about how much I love Vacation Bible School, and I do. I put a lot of time and effort and budget into it. But I’ve always felt when we just said the ABCs and we said, “A, admit, B, believe, and C, confess.” Excuse me. That we were doing a disservice because it’s so much more than that and we needed to spend a few more minutes on each one of those to talk about what it really means to admit and what that belief means. That it’s like, we don’t believe just the same way that we believe that we do have a President and that we know that he’s in charge and he makes laws and that we need to respect him. We don’t believe in God that way, because then we don’t have personal relationship. And I don’t have a, I’ve never had a personal relationship with any of the Presidents, but I knew God always existed and I knew He was in charge. I knew that there was the 10 commandments as laws and that I should obey them. And it wasn’t until I was 15 that I understood what it mean to be a Christ follower, to have relationship with Jesus. And so I’m glad that when that Gospel was shared with me, it wasn’t watered down. It was, this is you need to confess your sin and understand that Jesus is your Savior. So always adapt your vocabulary, not the message. The message is the same no matter what age you are, but the vocabulary we use needs to be appropriate so that children can understand what it is that you’re talking about. So they need a clear understanding of sin and repentance. They need to know that sin is more than just being bad. This isn’t, “Oh, I was just bad.” They need to understand what sin is. Each person needs to own that they choose to disobey God’s teaching in the Bible. And so when I’m talking to a child and I’ll say, “The Bible says here that we all have sinned “and we all fall short of the glory of God.” I’ll ask them, “Do you know what sin is?” And they will, you know, come back to me with what they understand that sin is, the disobedience. And I know many, many times, especially when I was talking to adults and I would talk about sin, they would say like, “Well, I never murdered anyone.” And of course they haven’t, but they didn’t pick out, you know, the thou shalt not lie or thou shalt not steal because those are things that many people were convicted of. And so they need to understand that when we choose to disobey God that that is sin. Repentance is more than just saying, “I’m sorry.” And I had mentioned Acts 3:19 earlier because it says in that verse, and one of the reasons I use that verse is because it talks about turning, and I actually like turn one way to another. And I say, “I used to go and do everything my own way. “And just whatever seemed right to me. “And when I accepted Christ, then I had to repent “which meant be at heart, having it in my heart sorrow “for how I lived. “And then I had to turn to God and say, ‘From now on, “‘I’m going to live for You.'” So I was gonna go ahead and read that verse. And it says, “Therefore, repent and turn back “that your sins may be wiped out.” And I love the terminology there of our sins being wiped out, erased, they’re gone. And it says, “So that your sins may be wiped out “and that times of refreshing may come. “The seasons of refreshing may come “in the presence of the Lord.” Because we feel all of our burdens just being lifted when we get that forgiveness. And I want children to know that they have that choice to make that they can turn from following their own way of sin and self and turn towards Christ and ask for that forgiveness. And then we make the decision to follow God’s way over our way. And I just had met a girl who just started seventh grade actually, she, a sixth grader that went with me to camp. We had a chance to talk about spiritual things and I lead her to the Lord at camp. And I talked about, now, this isn’t just an emotional decision. You decide every morning when you wake up I wanna follow Jesus today over what I want to do. And she was just so precious. And she got down on her knees and prayed to receive Christ. And so it was just such a wonderful thing for her to really understand what it meant to be a Christ follower and not just a prayer. Now, what do picture? What do children picture when we say this, “Ask Jesus in your heart?” Because they think of a little man that comes in your heart. So instead of using that terminology, change it to, “Ask Jesus to be in charge of your life.” Children are used to being bossed around and they’ll tell me that all the time in children’s ministry and they get bossed around by older brothers or sisters, they get bossed around by parents, they get bossed around by teachers. So sometimes I’ll talk to them about, “You’re telling Jesus that He wants, “you want Him to be your boss, “that when you follow Him, He wants what’s best for you “and with Him as your boss, as the boss for your life, “like things are going to go well.” And of course you can turn right there to Jeremiah 29:11 which is one of the scriptures that would go with that teaching. So you are a new creation in Christ and they can’t really understand that new creation terminology because it is not concrete. And so instead say, “Our lives will change “when we decide to follow Jesus.” And if it’s appropriate, you can use a little of your testimony there and talk about how your life changed when you became a Christ follower. And so what do children see when we say, “Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart?” And so they think literal minded that Jesus is there with His fist knocking on their heart. And so instead say, “Jesus loves you and He wants you to trust Him.” And you can use the terminology there, “Become a Christian,” because you’ve been talking about what it means to be a Christian, to be a Christ follower. And so they understand that they feel that need because the Holy Spirit is working in them to feel that they should respond to Christ. So children need to acknowledge that they sin. Children can not repent of sin if they don’t understand that they’re a sinner. And I’ll give you a short little example of that one. We had a family coming to our church and they had two sons and I think at the time they were around seven and nine years old. And their nine-year-old had started asking a lot of questions about what does it mean to get baptized? And what does it mean to be a Christian? And so they came and asked me if I would meet with him and talk about those things. And so I said, “Yes, I definitely will.” And so when we got to the point in the tract that I was using where we talked about being a sinner and that, and like in that tract, you’ve probably all seen it, that older one that says, “Who has sinned?” And it says, “The preacher and your parent.” And it was like, is the preacher and he was, like, kind of afraid to admit, like, he was like, “Yes, you know, our preacher has because he’s not perfect “and the Bible says that no one is perfect except Jesus.” Now I’m like, “Your parents are?” “Oh, yeah, yeah,” ’cause he didn’t have any trouble, like, throwing them under the bus. “Yes, they’re sinners.” And then I said, “Well, what about me?” And he has to sit there and look me in the face and tell me I’m a sinner, which was another one of those where he kind of felt bad about. And I was like, “Yes, I sure have sinned. “I’ve told lies. I’ve been very disrespectful.” And then I said, “What about you?” And at that point he was like, “Oh no, not me, “but let me tell you about my little brother.” And he was just… And so he wasn’t convicted of any sin himself at that point and I just left the door open for further conversation. And within about three to six months, he did come back and accept Christ. But at that point he wasn’t ready to accept Christ that night. I could have talked him into it and said, “Yes, you are a sinner. “I’ve seen how you’ve done this or that,” but that would have come on me pointing out something and not the Holy Spirit’s conviction. So children need to be very sorry for their sin and understand that the forgiveness really just comes through Jesus. All right, so young children still believe in the Fantasy Trinity of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. And I wanna make it very clear here I have never talked to a child and said, “There’s no Santa Claus or there’s no Easter Bunny.” That is between that child and his parents and how they want to bring that is completely fine with me. But those are fantasy figures. And so they believe, like, that they can talk to Santa and get things or put their tooth under their pillow and get money. We want them to believe that God, the Trinity, God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are real and yet they never see those. And so we need to make sure that every time we open our Bible and we talk to them about the Bible stories and what is in there, that they understand that that’s truth. We need to know, like, that it’s fun sometimes to believe in those other things. I don’t even bring those up when I’m talking about the salvation with children, but we need to know that they also think that fantasy figures and superheroes are real. So we need to make sure that they’re understanding that what we talk about is truth. Now, a lot of children need to understand that baptism does not save them. Many children will come and say to you, “I wanna be baptized.” Or like, they’ll see their friend be baptized or hear about it and so they have questions about baptism when what they’re really asking about is salvation. So baptism cements our decision to become a Christ follower through obedience. And we’ll talk more in a little bit about what baptism does. That it shows the church our commitment to follow Christ. So we need to make sure when they’re talking to us and they use that term baptism or getting baptized, if they don’t have a relationship with the Lord, sometimes they will interchange those words. And we need to realize, like, we have to start asking some questions. I’ve had a child come say, “Well, I wanna be baptized.” And I would say, “Well, what do you think baptism is?” “Oh, that’s when you get dumped in the water and yeah.” And so then we went back to, “Well, then why should a person get baptized?” And were able to share the plan of salvation through that. So make sure if they use that terminology as the same as being saved, that you unpack that for them and let them know that that’s a follow-up to becoming a Christ follower. So cues that children use. And I just said this. They might say, “I wanna be baptized.” They might start asking questions about Heaven and Hell and then salvation. And who knows what they hear out there in the world of what Heaven is like and what Hell is like? But you know, the media just bombards kids all the time. And of course there’s cartoons where they see some of this depicted, and we need to teach them truth and the truth from God’s Word. And then, so we’re gonna answer their questions truthfully. And sometimes they’re difficult. We don’t really want to ever upset somebody and talk about those bad things that happen when we reject Christ, that there is a literal Hell. But we don’t soft pedal that either. So when you start the Gospel conversation, follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, you’ve been praying if you’re the parent for your children, or if you’re the teacher for the children in your class, that you’re praying that the Holy Spirit starts convicting that child and is working on them to become a Christ follower. And then when you start asking questions, ask open-ended questions. I hate when I used to always ask questions and they could just be answered with a grunt or a yes or a no. And so asking them questions of like, “Well, what do you think that this verse means?” Or, “What do you think?” So that they have to answer more than just a yes or a no. And then ask questions to gauge what the child’s feeling or thinking, because sometimes their vocabulary is not matching what the Spirit is leading them to and we have to be aware of those cues. Because sometimes they don’t have the vocabulary yet, especially if they’re just like first, second, third grade, to ask some of the real spiritual questions. And we need to tone our vocabulary down to their level, but we also need to be very wise in what they’re asking and what they’re feeling, and see where they are with that. Here it says, “Children learn through their senses.” So we wanna incorporate what they see and what they hear and what they experience. And distractions are everywhere and so as much as you can, eliminate distractions. So deal with each child individually. We just went through Vacation Bible School and we do present the plan of salvation in each class with that group of children, but then each child, if they indicate that they want to know more about following Christ, they are met with individually. And we don’t do a big push in a large group to respond. So use a visual if it’s available. I already talked before about having a Bible and having it marked with the scripture you’ll share, having a tract. And there’s many different kinds of these, this is just the one that I picked up today, “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Salvation.” I have several under. Let me see this one’s right here. So you probably have seen Lifeway has come out with a big poster and it is, I don’t know which way to hold it for there. So the Gospel presentation where it talks about God rules and we sin. God provided, Jesus gives, and we respond. And so down here is the admit, believe, and confess, but you have unpacked what it means to admit who we are and what we believe and how we are to confess. And so that’s another way to share the plan of salvation. And then use your testimony if appropriate. Now, you know if it’s not appropriate for children you don’t need to be sharing that. But if it’s something that you can talk about when you were younger and this is how the Holy Spirit dealt with you and how you responded, if appropriate share that. And then I don’t know if you’re familiar with the EvangeCube. I brought the giant one. EvangeCubes come in anything from a very small, little piece that you can hang on your backpack if you go on a mission trip to one the size of a Rubik’s cube. And then the one I brought tonight to the house to show is this one that is gigantic. And so if you’re not familiar with EvangeCube, what it does is it’s just a good visual way for you to be able to share the plan of salvation. So we talk about how this represents God and in Him is all light and everything is perfect. It represents Heaven. And in Him, there is no sin or darkness at all. And then this represents mankind, everybody on earth. And he’s surrounded by black and that represents the sin. And you would share there Romans 3:23, that we all have sinned and we all fall short of the glory of God. And then when you open this up, the next thing it shows is that Jesus died on the cross for their sin. And so they would see this huge picture of Jesus and that He’s the only one who could take our punishment for our sin, because He lived a perfect life, He never sinned. He didn’t deserve to die. Now, a lot of times right here with a child, I’ll talk about you expect someone to be punished who’s done something wrong to you. And they’re always very much in agreement. If they’ve been wronged in any way, then they want that person to be punished. And then we’ll talk about, “Well, none of us are perfect and we’ve done wrong things, “and we deserve punishment too. “But Jesus, God loved us so much that He sent Jesus “to take our punishment for that sin “and that He died on that cross.” And then you come to the next part of it and you show the tomb and not have it upside down. Let’s do it this way. And so you show the tomb and how they laid Him in that tomb. They put soldiers there to guard Him. They sealed the tomb because they had known that Jesus said, “I’ll rise again from on the third day.” And they wanted to make sure that He would not escape, but that God’s power is bigger than anything that man could have. And so on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. And I’ll talk about Easter right here. And I’ll talk about how that’s why we celebrate Easter. That because Jesus rose from the grave and that they could not, He could, He overcame sin and death and He’s victorious. And so at that point, this opens back up and I use John 14:6 right here to say that Jesus says, “I’m the way and the truth and the life “and no man comes to the Father except through Me.” And the only way that we can have salvation is to ask Jesus to forgive our sins, to place our faith and our trust in Him. And when we do that and we turn to God, then we will be saved. And so at that point, we go to the decision. And you’ll see here on the decision, I talk about how God is in Heaven and He is perfect and that we can ignore that message and that in the end, there is the flaming fire of Hell. But if we feel that the Holy Spirit is asking us to become a Christ follower, that we would reach up to Him and take Him as our Savior and as our Lord and ask Him to forgive our sins and to come into our life, and say, “We want to live for Him.” And this part right here of your EvangeCube would be your decision time. Do not rush this, do not gloss over it. This is the part where if there is conviction from the Holy Spirit that they will at this part make that decision to either reach out to God or to say, “I just don’t understand that right now.” But always leave that door open for further conversation if it is a, “Not right now,” answer from them. But this is the part where you would bring that up. And so then it brings you back to your beginning part. So if you’ve not seen the EvangeCube, when you get that, they come with a little pamphlet that tells you how to get through it. Right. Be careful with emotions. We can’t just rely on emotions of, oh, they cried like a baby, or whatever to understand if they really did have a valid profession of faith. So don’t just use churchy language. Speak in clear terms so that they understand what you’re saying. I don’t know if you grew up Baptist and it’s just so normal for you to talk about walking down the aisle or accepting Christ, but these kids don’t have the amount of experience you have. And then a lot of times you talk to children who, especially if it’s Vacation Bible School, who maybe haven’t been to a church week after week after week, and so they don’t know churchy terms. And so we need to make sure that language that we’re using is very clear to them and concise. Wisdom is needed. Children don’t need to understand all theology to be saved. They need the conviction that they have sinned. They need to understand that the punishment for that sin is death and that spiritual death that we would be separated from God. And then they need to know that there’s a way to ask Christ to forgive us our sins, and that we’re placing our faith and our trust in what Jesus did, not in anything that we can do, but that we now trust Jesus to be our Savior. So Jesus’ words, I love these in Matthew 18:3. It says and Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, “unless you turn and become like children, “you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” And there’s just something to be said for that childlike faith, that knowing that if this is what the Bible says, then I can trust that, I can believe it. I can trust in Christ to be my Savior. So some scriptures to use. And I picked a lot of scriptures from the “International Children’s Bible.” And I believe that it’s written in a way that a third grader can understand. It says: “I say this because I know what I’ve planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. “I plan to give you a hope and a good future.” And so they can see there that Jesus wants that best life for them. And then we talked, I already mentioned this many times when I talked about marking your Bible. Romans 3:23. Everyone has sinned, no one measures up to God’s glory. And even people who won’t readily, like, say, “These are sins that I’ve done,” they know they’re not as glorious as God is. They’re not. They don’t have His glory. And then Romans 6:23, the payment for sin is death. And I like here that it changes the wages of sin are death because children don’t earn a wage yet. But we’re gonna talk about that. The payment for sin is death, but God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus, our Lord. So if you’re using and I’ve memorized it as the wages of sin are death, and it’s very, and I don’t know that I could just say it by saying the payment for sin. I would have to be reading it from that version because we understand wages. So help them understand what a wage or payment means that if their parents have a job and they get a paycheck that that’s their wage. Or they may get an allowance and they may do different chores and then be rewarded with some money for that. And so they have to understand that all sin does deserve to be punished and that death refers to separation from God. I’ve had a lady one time tell me when I did the wages of sin is death, she’s like, “I’ve sinned and I didn’t fall over and die.” And so we talked about that separation from God, that it wasn’t immediate physical death but that spiritually, she was separated from God. So the topic of Hell may come up and don’t shy away, but just don’t also make that where you just scare a child into salvation. I had a lady in my class recently that said all she had was fire insurance, that she did not have a personal relationship with Christ. So scriptures, another scripture to use is Romans 5:8. But here is how God has shown His love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now, how many people have you talked to that have said, “Oh, when I get this straightened out “or that straightened out in my life, “I will become a Christian.” And that’s not what this scripture says. It doesn’t say that we have to get ourselves straightened out first. It says, “While we were still sinners.” And so focus on the fact that God loves everyone even when they sin. And God knows about every sin. And so God promised to send a Savior who’s gonna take the punishment for that sin. And so then ask, “Do you know who that Savior is?” Because they need to understand that there’s nothing they can do on their own to undo the sin, that we need that Savior. So then the scripture, of course, everyone in the world that has been in this has done John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. Anyone who believes in Him will not die, but will have eternal life. So let them know that Jesus died for us, that He’s the only one who can save us because He’s the only one who lived a perfect life. And Jesus rose from the dead so that we could have eternal life. They have to really understand that He had the power over death. And a lot of kids believe in superheroes and they’ll sometimes interrupt and talk about superheroes. I just go right back to this and I would say, like, “This came from the Bible and it’s real.” And then Romans 10:9 and 10. Say with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord.” And I talk there about Jesus being the master or the boss of you. And believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead then you will be saved. Because it’s with your heart that you believe and are made right with God. It’s with your mouth that you say what you believe and so are saved. And I’ll talk sometimes about how sometimes we say things we don’t mean, especially like in anger or in excitement, but this is a very serious decision and we’re not gonna say these things unless we really mean them with all of our heart and if we understand what we’re talking about. So as I read those verses and ask that child what he thinks they mean. And say, “Would you like to be a Christian today “and start living for Jesus?” And this, again, is that part where we’re getting down to decision time, where they’re making a decision on their own without manipulation. Help them understand that they both say it with their mouth and they believe it in their heart, and help them understand the difference between things that we just say and we’re just kidding around or tricking you. This is a very serious decision that they’re making. So then let the child pray. Don’t put words in the child’s mouth. If you’ve explained this and they understand that they need to ask Christ to forgive their sins, that they need to tell Him that they’re putting their faith and trust in Him to be Savior, the Spirit will give them the right words. So when the Spirit leads, those right words will come. And you follow up when once that child prays and asks Jesus to forgive their sins and to come into his life, and he tells Jesus he wants to trust Him as their Savior, then you follow up with a prayer of thanksgiving. There’s nothing more exciting at this point than knowing that that child has made that profession of faith. And so a lot of times I’ll tell them that they, I’ll ask them when their first birthday is. And they’ll tell me whatever they were born and then whatever I’m using, whether I’m using a tract or I’m using the Bible, I’ll say, “Now this is your spiritual birthday.” And we’ll write that date down. And we’ll say, “This is the day “that you became a child of God and followed Jesus, “you know, as your Savior.” And so we’ll talk about how exciting that is to have a spiritual birthday in addition to their physical birthday. So Romans 10:13 says: Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And that is a promise. And you know, many times we as adults, if we based how we felt on feelings, we would go back and forth and waffle on where we were with this. But this is a promise from God. So make sure they understand that faith is, is what saves them. It’s not joining a church, it’s not getting baptized, it’s not doing good works, trying to be a better kid, but it’s their faith in Christ is what saves them. And then we can follow up with baptism and you let them know that become a Christian comes first and that public recognition is not the motivation to be baptized. Now, there’s some children I still have that they’ve already accepted Christ but they’re not ready to be baptized yet. Just that shyness. We don’t go into big church a lot up through fourth grade in our church, so they haven’t seen it over and over and it’s still a little bit of a mystery to them. But let them know that public recognition is not the reason to go. And then we’re gonna use scriptures where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and show them that we’re following His example. We’re gonna talk about it in Matthew 28 where it says: Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So that they’ll see that there’s the spiritual precedent for baptism and why we do it and ask for that. So their assurance of salvation. 1 John 2:3 says: We know. And we can know this. We don’t have to base it on feelings or anything else, we can know that we’re following Christ. And then Jesus says, “I give them eternal life and they will never die.” So you can do the John 10:28, that no person will ever snatch them or pluck them out of His hand. And let them be assured that once they’re saved, they are saved. So we’ll see their changed life and their improvement in character. So I think our time is getting close and you may have some things that you put in the chat or have questions that you want to ask. And so we can stop here at this point of assurance for salvation and see if you have questions.
– Thanks, Cindy. You did an awesome job. I don’t think there’s any questions in the Q and A so if you would like to continue on and share maybe the rest of what you have, especially with the resources at the end.
– Yes, I’ll do those resources.
– That would be great.
– We’ll get back to that. Okay, we’ll get back to them. All right. So once a child makes a profession of faith, we wanna follow up with that. So following up with family and discipleship materials is one of the things we’re gonna talk about. And I meet with parents if they’re not present when the child has prayed and give resources. So I wanna show the first ones that I always turn to is, “Growing in My Faith.” And this is 90 days of devotions and it just really cements that decision that the child has made. And it’s fun for the child. Everyone that I have given this to in the past year has been real excited to have it. So it starts with what it’s about and then a note to the parents. But every day, the child just gets to do a fun activity, whether that might be a fill in the blank or a crossword or all sorts of fun things. And it’s 90 days, so it’s three months worth. And then I mark on my calendar, like, the day that I give this to a child and then I follow-up. And the next one that we do is another 90 day, the same format, called, “The Life of Jesus.” Because what could be more important than cementing the decision that we made and then following up with here’s who Jesus is? And so this all is another 90 days, another three months of activities, and a way that that child can be in their Bible every day. And then I had this on my shelf and I’d forgotten about it. And when I watched the webinar earlier this week that was about families in the Word, I was like, “Yes, I now remember. “Thank you, Greg Dawson for talking about this.” So this is, “Foundations for Kids New Testament,” and it’s a year. So this one right here is a Bible. It says it’s a New Testament, a 260 day Bible reading plan for kids. And it’s something that parents would help with. And so this is by Robby Gallaty and Kandi Gallaty. And this says with Melissa Swain. But it’s also just full of fun things for the child to do. It’s short enough that they still focus on it. And what more can we ask for that they would be in their Word every day? And then I love that there’s another one by the Gallaty’s called, “Foundations for Kids.” And it’s another 260 day, which is a year if you took off your weekends, because they’re in the Word. Way that they can stay in the Word every day. So these resources to me are invaluable and I always have just started with, “Growing in Your Faith” and then “The life of Jesus.” But now that they have reminded me about these “Foundations,” I know I have some kids who would be really excited to be in the one that’s a year’s worth. When we start having children in the preschool years sometimes at four, four year old and five-year-old’ll start asking questions about being a Christian and what it means. And there’s some good books. This one’s called, “When Can I?” And it really talks about the doctrines of when we can be baptized and what it’s about. And so this is a good book too. And then the “John 3:16” book, if you’re not familiar with this, it makes my OCD a little crazy ’cause she’s upside down. But the “John 3:16” book really is a very good book that teaches what it means to be a Christ follower through following a little girl that really wanted to go to a field trip with her school that was gonna cost $100 and how that was gonna be so out of reach and then brings in the plan of salvation. And then once we have children who have made a profession of faith, there’s the kit, “I’m a Christian Now!” You can see this is a big box kit. I’ve always done four weeks in church as a class. It’s worked best with just doing it when kids are already there. So if you already have them there for Sunday School for the four weeks after they make that profession of faith, maybe just offering this two or three times a year so you get eight to 10 kids in that class. And we talk about things like writing your testimony, understanding the decision you made, what baptism is, what the Lord’s Supper is because some of them have not really seen the Lord’s Supper, understood what that’s about. And then how to live a Christian life in the world. And… So the one more resource I wanted to bring up was “3 Circles.” And I got this from the North American Mission Board, and you can see down here NAMB, and that would be namb.net. And they will send you this. But the North Carolina Baptist Convention has a great resource in Cheryl Markland and she has done “3 Circles” for children. And I know they’re gonna put that in the notes that you can be able to find how to just go right there and click on that and find the “3 Circles” for children so that you can have a way that’s probably maybe six minutes long to draw those circles and to use the information in here in a language a child would understand to be able to respond to. And so if you have any questions about those resources or need me to go through them and tell you who it’s by, or how to get ahold of those, let me know. But basically, like, you know, your Bible, your EvangeCube, your “3 Circles,” the whichever tract you feel is the most appealing for children. And then there’s follow-up discipleship books so the kids will get an award once they make that profession of faith.
– Thank you, Cindy.
– So the one last thing I would say is it’s important then to schedule baptism. Like, you can just let it hanging or leave it open-ended and let the parents come to you when it’s time. Or you can say, “Now, each church may do it differently.” They may say, “We baptize during this time or that time, “or we may do it when your family is all able to travel in,” but don’t just let it hang where it just… If you don’t. You know, you always have these good intentions of I’ll do this and I’ll do that, but you never really get to it? So you do need to try to schedule those. You’re welcome. Thank you.
– Thank you. We really appreciate what you’ve done tonight. And it was, you did a fantastic job.
– Thank you.
– And I hope that those that watched will share with others and those that watch this on video, you can, or on our webinars, you can access that at pinnaclealabama.org at any time and it would be a great resource to use with your Sunday School teachers or mission’s leaders, anyone who serves in children’s ministry, and even with your senior pastor, if you would like to do that so that they can be more equipped and know exactly how to share the plan of salvation with kids. We thank you again for joining us and let me close us in prayer. Our dear gracious Heavenly Father, we just, again, thank You for the time that we’ve had and to share about how to share the most wonderful gift of salvation with the children in our charges. Lord, I especially thank You for Cindy and the wonderful job she’s done and all the resources and just how well she explained how to do that. Lord, I do just pray ahead of those children in our ministries, that You will, the Holy Spirit will be guiding and directing them, and You will open their hearts to listen and learn about how to know You as their personal Lord and Savior. I thank You again for this night and this evening and this way that we can share together. And we just ask You, Lord, to be with us tomorrow, through the weekend, as we do come in contact with minis who do need to know You. Help us to be bold in sharing the Gospel with them. In Your name I pray, amen.
– Thank you all. Y’all have a good night. Thanks, Cindy.
– Thank you. All right. I appreciate you. Bye-bye.