When a child begins to ask questions about faith, conversion, and what it means to follow Jesus, we hope this guide will equip you for the conversation.
Words Can Be Confusing!
If you have grown up in a church setting, you have probably heard the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” a thousand times. This is a way to talk about the decision a person can make to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, when talking about salvation in this way, the emphasis is often on a one-time prayer a child can pray instead of a deliberate pattern to follow Jesus with everything they’ve got. While we do agree that there is a moment of conversion, we don’t want it to stop there. That is just the beginning of the life Jesus invites us to enjoy!
What A Life of Faith Means:
If a child thinks they are “asking Jesus into their heart” so they can go to heaven, then that’s great! What an exciting moment! However, this is just the beginning. God doesn’t want someone to pray a simple prayer in order to “check the box.” Instead, God longs for us to know Him and follow Him throughout all of life.
What Kids Understand:
- God is perfect and He created everything. That means God made you! Since God created everything, He is in charge. (Genesis 1:1)
- People are not in charge. God asks us to trust Him! But we choose to do it our own way. That is called sin. And we do this over, and over, and over again. (Romans 3:23)
- This means we are in big trouble. We deserve a big consequence—being sent away from God. Being separated from God means we should also be separated from everything that is good. This is really bad news for us. (Romans 6:23)
- But God wants us to be with Him. God’s love is personal. He knows every person individually and loves us personally. So, He began his rescue plan. He left heaven and came to us. He did this in the form of a person named Jesus. (Matthew 1:23)
- Jesus showed us how God wants people to live. He showed God’s love to others—the rich, poor, sick, healthy, and everyone in between. But there’s more…
- God really does want us to be with Him—not separated from Him! Jesus made a way for this to happen. He stood in for us and took our punishment. He died so that we didn’t have to be separated from God and all that is good. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)
- But Jesus didn’t stay dead! In fact, he came back to life and invited his followers—and you!—to follow him. When you trust and follow Jesus, he leads you back to the goodness of God—the relationship you were designed to most enjoy! And one day, he is coming back to make everything new and good again!
- He invites you to trust Him and experience His love for you.
God Living in You!
The best part is this: When a person chooses to become a Christ-follower, God promises to fill this person with His power by living within him or her! (1 Corinthians 3:16) While we might not see Him or feel Him, He promises to be with us every moment of the day, giving us the power we need to follow Him! The really good news is not that we accept Jesus but that he accepts us and invites us back to him to join in the work of restoring the world which He has made.
There might be a moment when your child “gets it,” or it might be a gradual understanding that is gained in time. There is not a one-size-fits-all conversion experience. No matter what your child’s experience looks like, we encourage you to invite your child to follow you as you follow Christ.