“I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” Spoken by a child, those may be the most treasured words of any loving parent or teacher. While the process of planting the seeds of the gospel and cultivating the right atmosphere of biblical teaching can be a long one, the reward of being able to see a young person commit their life to Christ is worth all the effort.
That being said, itʼs important for youth workers and parents to know how to correctly guide a child through the process of salvation. There are several things to be cautious of when a child approaches you with questions.
First of all, make sure that you are letting them make this decision. Even though it is very exciting to see a young person come to Christ, we cannot make that decision for them. Ask them what it is exactly they are wanting to do. Encourage them to explain why it is that they feel the need to be saved. Even though being saved from the punishment of hell is a huge motivating factor, it should not be the primary reason to commit oneʼs life to Christ. We arenʼt selling fire insurance. The reason to become a Christ follower is because we are sinners and cannot redeem ourselves.
Initially, the child needs admit that they are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot save ourselves because of our sins. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASB) The consequence of our sin is death, but God provided a sacrifice on our behalf, Jesus. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB)
Next, they need to know what being a Christian actually means. Being a Christian means having a personal relationship with God. Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (NASB)
If the child knows that they are a sinner, separated from God, and agrees that they are ready to commit their life to serving God, they are ready for this decision. Remember that while the “sinnerʼs prayer” is an important step in the Justification process, the prayer is not what “makes you a Christian.” Itʼs the sacrifice of Jesus and the commitment of oneʼs life that seals one into the Kingdom of God, not the prayer. John 1:12 says, “but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” Lead the child through a prayer of commitment and acknowledgment that Jesus is the one true God and worthy to follow for the rest of their lives.
After they make the commitment, discuss with them about how to live out their decision. Going to church, fellowshipping with other believers, serving the Body of Christ, confessing sins are all part of being an active Child of God.
There are many verses that describe how to live, how to worship, how to glorify God, etc and it can be all very overwhelming at first. The key part to being a Christian is to live oneʼs life according to how God called you to live. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [things we worry about] will be added to you.” (NASB)
Finally, encourage the child to tell their parents about their decision and try to connect the family with a church if they havenʼt already found a supportive Body of Christ to fellowship with.
Sunday School Idea:
A good way to help children understand about why they need Christ is to have them make booklets explaining the process and having them take it home. This gets their parents involved and gives them time to think about what they need to do. Have you ever lead a child to Christ? What was your approach? We would love to hear from you!