Monday, March 23, 2009

Sharing your faith (with your five year old)

I always have been a little nervous with sharing the gospel with kids. Why? Because I want to be certain that they understand what is going on. I have seen a few presentations of the gospel that ended with 20 four-year olds who were prepared to "ask Jesus in their heart" so that they could "be with Jesus (and their mommies and daddies) forever" and so they wouldn't spend forever "burning in hell." The result: 100% buy-in by the scared-out-of-their-wits four year olds. I thought, "Surely there is a better way."

...And then I had my own kids. And the pressure to do a good job of sharing Jesus Christ and the message of the Cross seems to have gotten a lot more personal. I realize that I have 4 little eyes watching me to see if I look like the Jesus I profess (intimidating thought)!

So, in thinking through what to say (and what not to say), and how to say it (and how not to say it), my wife and I have worked through some ideas. I want to think through a couple of those, and maybe save some for another time.
  1. This privileged parental responsibility of sharing the gospel has caused us to humbly rely on the Spirit to do His work. That's never a bad place to be (understatement of the year). Crying out to God for people to believe in the message and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. So, if you are a parent, a grandparent, a friend, a teacher, a Bible study leader, maybe this could be a reason to cry out to God that he would save that person who is so special to you. God surely enjoys hearing our prayers, and we are assured that He delights in people coming into the knowledge of the truth.

  2. Although we feel very imperfect and inconsistent at doing this, we do have a beginning point for gospel discussions with our son. We try to remind him that God is the boss of everything. God made it all and He is the king. He is the one in charge (not us). He rules the world. We want our son to have that burned in his heart.

  3. But, I don't feel that you can stop there. I think it is also our responsibility to share with our kids that God is a GOOD king, not a selfish king. God made us, God made parents, God made a beautiful world, and he placed them in it. All these things point to God's goodness. "God is really a good God, isn't He?" I hope my kids hear me say that 1000 times in a week.

  4. We also try to regularly draw out the connection that because God is king we ought to do what He says. And where do we find what He says? In the Bible. By doing this we are trying to connect God's rule over everything with His goodness. We also want them to see that God's rule over everything and His goodness means that we should obey Him. We also want a connection made between God's loving authority and His perfect, infallible meant-to-be-obeyed Word.
So, that is the starting point of parents who feel inadequate, but still called to make disicples (Jesus lovers and followers) of our children (Matthew 28:18-20). It is work to teach those kind of things to a young boy who has the attention span of a five year old. But, I also stay encouraged by realizing that those truths can sustain him for eternity. I can't wait for my daughter to be able to process the good God that she was made to worship.

We start there, and I (Lord-willing) will share more at another time.