VBS training; Leading children to Christ

As I prepare to teach during our VBS leader training today on how to share the Gospel with children, I want to share some of the thoughts here so that I can think through more thoroughly. This is important because we need to be prepared to share with children in a way that they can understand and lead them to make their own decision about following Christ, based on knowledge of the Word of God instead of manipulative skills. I say that because, over the past 13 years of working with children and teens, I have encountered many, many kids and teens who have “gotten saved” multiple times. When talking with them, I usually quickly discover that they do not have a basic understanding of the plan of salvation or even what salvation actually means. On a side note, I have encountered adults who were “saved” when they were children but they, themselves admit that they did not understand what they were doing and made a decision based on emotions instead of knowledge. In the parable of the sower and the seed, the only soil that produces fruit is the one that hears the Gospel and understands it. The other 3 soils hear but do not fully understand. Many times, when sharing with children, we are so quick to seal the deal and get them saved that we miss the teaching that Jesus laid out about understanding the Gospel and then making a rational decision. In the parable of the sower and the seed, the second and third examples accept the Word at first but then turn away. How many times have you heard adults say, “I accepted Christ when I was young, then as I grew up I turned away. Later I really understood the Gospel and then started living It.”? I have heard that many, many times and it breaks my heart each time, especially when compared to Matthew 13’s parable of the sower and the seed.

I. Christ wants us to lead children to Him

In Mark 10, Jesus uses children as an example of genuine faith. Some of the people listening to Christ mocked Him because of their self-righteousness. They did not think that they needed to be saved. They were good with God, in their own eyes. Jesus rebukes them with the children’s example. The children wanted to come to Christ but the disciples would not allow them. The self-righteous people needed to come to Christ but they would not humble themselves to do it. Jesus rebukes the disciples and teaches us that we must bring children to Him. Bringing the children to Christ is not the end goal though, it is part of a larger process explained to the disciples, and to us, in the Great Commission of Matthew 28. Do you do all that you can to lead children to Christ or do you hinder them? Are you an example for children in your walk with Christ? If kids look at your life (and they do) do they see Christ in you, day by day, moment by moment?

II. Keep the process of the Great Commission in mind

Many times we are so quick to seal the deal and get people saved, like it is the end goal of sharing the Gospel. According to the Great Commission in Matthew 28, getting saved is not the end goal. Actually, getting saved is just the beginning. God calls us to make disciples, not converts. Conversion is just part of the disciple making process. It is extremely important but not the end goal. God wants us to teach people how to be Christ followers by showing them our own examples and teaching them how to do it via the Word of God. There are 3 main steps in making disciples, according to Matthew 28:

  1. Teaching
  2. Conversion
  3. Practical application

In order for children to get saved, we must take the Gospel to them and teach It to them so that they can understand It and make a rational decision based on knowledge and not emotions. Once they understand the message, they have to make a decision to be converted to Christ. He becomes their Lord and Savior. The  next step is learning how to walk with Christ daily, as a disciple who produces fruit for the Lord. This is what teaching them to observe Christ’s commands. When sharing the Gospel with others, do you keep the full plan in mind or just getting the deal sealed by having the person “get saved”? Do you play on their emotions or do you make sure that they hear and understand the message of the Gospel? The disciples understood Jesus’ message and applied it when they planted the church

 III. How to share the Gospel

  1. Admit that you are a sinner
  2. Believe
  3. Confess

In order to admit that you are sinner, separated from God, enslaved to the power of sin, you must first be convinced of that. Jesus gives a great example in the Sermon on the Mount. He pulls from the 10 commandments. Everyone knows that murder is wrong, a sin. A sin means going contrary to what God’s Word clearly teaches. Most people would claim that they have never murdered anyone and would be partially correct. Jesus says that if you hate someone (playing our murder fantasies in your mind) then you are just as guilty as actually sticking a knife in a person’s heart. If you have ever degraded another person with words or thoughts then you are just as guilty of murder as the person who sticks a knife in another person’s heart. Why? Because your thoughts and desires lead to actions. Another of the 10 commandments is not lying. Jesus develops this further. If you have ever not kept your word about something then you are guilty of lying. When you say you will do something then you have to do it. If you do not do it, or, if you do not do it they way that you said you would, then you are guilty of not keeping your word, or lying. Like the old saying goes, “a half truth is the same as a full lie”. According to God, you are a lying murderer and guilty before Him. What is worse is that you cannot stop doing these things even if you try. You are a slave to sin and need to be set free. This is what the Gospel can do for you. In order to accept it, you must see yourself as you truly are. Once you admit your situation, you must understand what the Gospel does to you and for you. Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. You can be forgiven for all the bad that you have ever done. The second part is that Christ rose from the dead to set you free from your slavery to sin. You now have the power to say “NO” to sin and temptation. You are no longer a slave. You will still be tempted but now temptation and sin are toothless lions, having a loud roar but no bite. Once you understand what the Gospel has to offer, you must confess Christ as your Lord and Savior. The Biblical meaning of confess means “to agree with God”. When we confess Christ, we accept Him as our Lord (Master) and Savior, choosing to follow Him every single day of our lives. Christ does not just become another part of our lives, He becomes our lives. We order our lives, plans, goals, futures, daily activities around His plans. We become His. Is this the way that you view your walk with Christ? Is He the center of your life or just something that you added in to your already super busy schedule? Do you understand what the Gospel is and what It offers? Has your slavery to sin been broken? How has your life changed since coming to Christ? I want to end with a quote that I saw yesterday. I do not know the author or who the author is but it is a fitting quote to end on:

Believe no man’s gospel which he claims has changed his eternity when it clearly has not changed his present.

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14 comments on “VBS training; Leading children to Christ

  1. As the father of three grown children I found this post very disturbing. Teaching children statements such as: “If you have ever degraded another person with words or thoughts then you are just as guilty of murder as the person who sticks a knife in another person’s heart…. If you have ever not kept your word about something then you are guilty of lying…According to God, you are a lying murderer and guilty before Him.”

    How awful to teach innocent children that Jesus is the “Thought Police” and that you will burn in Hell for thinking bad thoughts. This kind of indoctrination is child abuse, plain and simple. I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

  2. Children are not innocent. That is your first mistake. How does a person commit murder, on the spur of the moment? I don’t think so. Anger first takes root and then that anger consumes until the act eventually follows. When you hate a person, or degrade a person, who was created in the image of God, you actually hate God and try to degrade Him. You do not have to teach children to lie, cheat, and steal. This is part of their nature, the nature that they received from the parents, who are also sinners. If you have children, did you have to teach them to lie or not to lie? I did not have to teach my children to lie. It was inborn in them because they inherited my sin nature from me. I have to teach them not to lie.

    • It’s really a shame that in our country right now, someone with your warped view of children would be allowed unfettered access to those same children.

  3. I countered all the arguments in my August 24, 2013 post on your “Homosexuality is dangerousfor your health” post, so I don’t think we need to re-hash it here. I just wanted to refresh your readers’ memories and I just needed to say something that I felt needed to be said again.

    • I opened the link. There are so many things wrong with the post that I do not even know where to start. Yes, God created Adam perfect and Adam sinned. Adam’s children were born in his (Adam’s) image and not in the image of God. Please continue reading Genesis.

  4. Hi Xavier what you think about the truth that said about in Roman 2:23? Romans 3:23New International Version (NIV)

    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, i have read the website

    • Hi, Agnes.

      I’m thinking, only the term is wrong, we are not “born sinners” but “bound to sin” inevitably, mainly and probably only because of our human governments, our socio-cultural environments, said in Scripture to be totally under the grip of the devil, with temptations ALL AROUND the course of our lives..

      Addressing this particular verse you are asking me, hmm.. I believe we all deserve death, separation from our Holy God as sinners sooner or later, and it is only His GRACE to offer adopting us as potential children, through self-repentence and faith in Christ’s blood.. That is the Gospel and way to Redemption as I can understand and experience it.

      Certainly, only Jesus-Christ born again in a Christian allowing His Holy Spirit to live again through themselves is acceptable to God, any self-effort to please God by our “old nature” of ego-centric beings is in vain, as self-interest in disguise, only leaning on our LORD for only source can we truely live as God is calling us to live.. Amen.

  5. Thanks so what you think about the children that died in early age? That not yet heard about Jesus and not yet confess all his/her sin?She had quarrel…lie etc. What you think about her/his salvation? What David said in Psalms 51 that he has sin while in his mother womb? What u think dear bro Xaxier and Erik?

    • Hi, Agnes.

      Psalm 51, good question.. From what I understand, this is King David’s plea for God’s forgiveness about his adultery with Bathsheba, and the terrible sins he commited to get her, planning her former husband Uriah by sending him to a certain death at war….

      I think this context explain the awful grievousness of his sins, and his begging to god so far to his mother’s womb.. dismissing this as an authentic inspired revelation but King David’s emotional response.

      About children dying in early age, they had no awareness of morals to sin intentionaly, so they die without sin, or God knows best, what else can I say.. For people of different religious beliefs and “god(s)”, or people not knowing Jesus during His time, now by Scripture or before He came to us.. It is written those who die without the Law will also be judged without the Law, and those who die having the Law will be judged by the Law.. This does put in perspective the Biblical truth, God does judge one person according to that person’s knowledge of His Word, thus resting on our personal responsability to study if we are aware of its existence, their will to obey or disobey its statements about right and wrong as they are revealed by Scripture for us to keep and to live, NOT arguing and trying to interpet it in our favor to not give up our sin(s) of choice.. for people who genuinely never heard of God’s Word to consider it,..or as Paul says by the Holy spirit, the “Gentiles”, they were doing what is right in God’s sight by “nature”, by the person’s own “heart” knowing God’s Law even without knowing it as written on stone tablets and taught by prophets, their “natural” moral values were just according to it, the Mosaïc Law is called Natural Law for this reason, too, I believe..

      This tells me God’s Law is then actually “inborn” to the human person as “morally right” by default, making my point of us not being born sinners as already guilty and unable to do any good, but fatally drawned to sin by living day to day with pressuring temptations within a corrupt society of reigning individuaism..

      Living to serve God is the opposite to this all too common ego worship, it ison the cotnrary to live for others instead of self, seeking the best interest of self like of others is the real meaning of “loving your neighbor as yourself”, true love is “agape” love, a sacrificial kind of love.. From what I know, this one TRUE, Godly love has only one way to go, by loyal and faithful devotion and very few ways of expression, either by serving others as a celibate just like Jesus did, with the announcing and spreading of the Kingdom of God for only focus, or by serving his / her spouse in Holy Marriage for main focus, a choice blessed by God and Christ nonetheless, joyfully living the conjugal life and eventually, hopefully “filling the Earth” by God blessing the couple with children, and participating in sharing the Gospel and charity when possible and needed.. Amen.

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