Getting your child to God by gently leading him to see God at work in their life is the most exciting aspect of parenting—filled with the joy that comes from telling them about the great adventure of walking with Him, and then seeing them grab onto that truth for themselves.
I am all about evangelizing, and I know it’s possible for young children to experience true salvation (I did), but as parents, we need to be careful in how we present the gospel to our little ones. A child can make an emotional profession without true conversion. Our goal is to get them to God, but I encourage parents to lead (not push) their children to Jesus—and then allow the Spirit do the work of conversion.
I caution parents to allow God room to work and not pressure children to “make a decision” or run ahead of His work of grace in their lives.
By getting your children to God, I mean showing them what He’s like, pointing out His work in your life and theirs, exploring His nature and Word together, presenting spiritual concepts through stories and real life examples they can observe.
Getting them to God starts before they’re even born and is a process that continues, morphs, and grows, as they mature. From the earliest days in the womb we were praying for our little ones, asking God to capture their hearts. My husband even read Scripture to them in utero. But babies need more than audio Scripture saturation. They need to hear, see, and feel Him through your care for them.
As your children grow, they need to see you expressing the character traits of your Heavenly Father in your interactions with them and others: integrity, graciousness, mercy, faithfulness, benevolence, joy, strength, and wisdom. As they grow older, they will begin to understand the association between your actions and your relationship with God.
Your Children are watching you and that gives you the opportunity to model for them what the Heavenly Father is like.
The concept of a faithful and loving Heavenly Father will be appealing to them because of your loving care for them as an earthly parent.
Explain to your child (in an age appropriate way) what an orphan is and what adoption means. Then tell your child the story of creation and explain the loss of relationship between Adam and God. Let them know that because of Adam’s disobedience, we’re all “spiritual orphans” at birth and need to be adopted by our Heavenly Father. Follow through by explaining the Father’s great adoption plan and include your own conversion testimony.
Don’t present the gospel to them by placing pressure on them to respond or make a decision. Lay out the gospel in small bits as opportunities naturally present themselves. Remind yourself that God is the initiator of the adoption process—it is not your job to make that happen.
When the Spirit begins drawing your child to respond to His invitation, you won’t have to wonder whether this is a work of God or the result of you “convincing” your child to “make a decision.”
[box]We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
That the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments; (Psalm 78:4, 6–7)[/box]
How are you getting your children to God?