Possibly the most important thing for a Christian parent to do as a parent, is talk to their kids about salvation. If you are serious about your faith, then of course you hope that your kids will eventually share it. No chapter of the Bible gives step by step instructions on how to lead your child to Christ. However, there are many guidelines that can help! Deuteronomy 6 makes it clear that our faith should be included in every part of our lives. The mere fact that it is a part of everything in your life speaks to your kids. But sometimes it helps to have a few practical starting points.
It’s a Process
Talking with your kids about salvation shouldn’t be a one time event. This is a process that starts from the time they are babies. The first books you read to them can be Bible story picture books. The songs you sing speak of God. Before you eat, take the time to pray to thank God for your food. Read more about how to help kids grow spiritually here.
As they grow, so do the ways that you can incorporate this into your lives. Find a good children’s Bible and read a story each night at bedtime or at the dinner table. Now that my oldest are in upper elementary, my husband reads a section from the Bible each night at dinner. I wasn’t sure how this would work, but they love it. In fact, my youngest is often asking him to read before we can even all sit down at the table.
It’s also important to include your faith in your day to day life. When your family is faced with a decision, pray about it together. Mention that you want to honor God with your choices. When kids ask questions, tell them what the Bible says when you answer.
It Takes a Village
Attend church regularly. No excuses. Find a church with children’s teachers who love children. Then make sure that you are there more than you are not. Yes, the occasional thing crops up on a Sunday morning (or whenever your church meets). But if something routinely takes you out of Sunday School or church service, you are communicating to your children that that thing is more important.
Notice I mentioned Sunday School? That’s because both experiences are important for your kids. They need to receive age appropriate teaching, AND they need to see you worship and have a chance to worship along side you.
Children’s church is fun, many kids love it, and it gives parent’s a chance to relax and worship. But it also makes us miss out on some important experiences. It takes away the chance for families to worship together. It gives the impression that worship is always entertaining and age specific. Kids need to learn that its not always about them. They need to see the times that worship moves you to tears, or to raise your hands.
It Takes Flexibility
Conversations with kids are often fly by night. They may be completely focused one second and the next second ask for a snack. Many times I have thought that a conversation with one of my kids was about to be super sweet and spiritually deep, then suddenly they were off on something else. That’s okay, just be ready every time and sometimes it will be meaningful.
It Takes Engagement
Ask your kids about what they learned in church. Ask them what they think the Bible might have to say about a situation. Lead the conversation to spiritual matters. If they are the only ones who ever bring it up, they might start to think that you don’t welcome these discussions. Be aware of how receptive they are, and be ready to change the subject again, if it’s not a good time.
What to Include
I think one thing that intimidates some people is the fear of leaving something important out. Don’t let this stop you! For one thing, this will be an ongoing discussion. If you talk with your child because they are interested in salvation, you don’t have to get every word exactly right.
Take Romans 10:9 and break it down. Make sure they understand all the words. Confess, and Lord might be things they aren’t familiar with. Its all right in front of you that way and the Bible is the outline of what to discuss. They may have questions that come out of the talk, and you can deal with those as you go.
Don’t Ask Leading Questions
When you talk to kids about salvation it is important not to use yes or no questions. Kids become detectives at saying what their parents want to hear. Don’t let your desire for them to make a decision drive the conversation. Have them explain why they want to be baptized or whatever sparked the conversation. It’s fine to help out, but let them take the lead. It might be helpful if you have a tract with pictures, or a children’s Bible that they can look at to help them describe why Jesus came to earth. Ask them why someone needs Jesus to save them. Ask what happens when someone is baptized, what does the water do?
All these questions will help you identify misunderstandings on their part, such as that baptism can save you etc. Just because they have misunderstood something, doesn’t mean that they aren’t ready. They may want to talk about it more and then make a decision, but it may be that they need more time. You have to put aside your feelings and excitement and be willing to let it drop.
You got this! If you want to have more spiritual conversations with your kids, but you feel like you need to strengthen your own walk with Christ, I highly recommend that you try my course How to Study the Bible. It is a very easy to follow course that will help you learn how to study the Bible for yourself.