Leading Children to Christ

Guidelines for sharing the Gospel with children and supporting them in their new life as Christians. Use the comments section below to share.

This article is from the Max7 resource library

Clearly Present the Gospel
The following concepts will help your children to understand the Gospel. It is a good practice to look for ways to bring out one or more of these points in every lesson you teach. Build a child’s understanding over time rather than trying to introduce all this information to them at once. This gives the Holy Spirit time to work deeply in their lives – convicting them of their need, revealing God’s love, giving them understanding of the Gospel and bringing them to a point of decision. Periodically bring it all together in a Gospel presentation which gives them an opportunity to make a personal commitment.
The verses given are for your information. Choose just a few key ones to share with the children.

  1. God
    There is only one true and holy God who is the creator and ruler of everything. He is always good. (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1)
  2. You
    You are God’s special creation. He loves and cares for you. (Psalm 23: 1,2; 139:13,14) He shows you the right way to live in the Bible. (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5-7)
  3. Sin
    You have sinned and done what is wrong – you have disobeyed God and failed to meet his standard. (Romans 3:23) This is a problem because sin must be punished (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27) and sin separates us from God so we can no longer be his friends. (Isaiah 59:1-2) There is absolutely no way that you could ever do anything good enough to win back God’s favor. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  4. Jesus
    BUT God loved you so much that he found a way for you to be his friend again. So he sent Jesus to earth to save you from sin. (1 John 4:9; John 3:16; Romans 5:8) Jesus was God and he never did anything wrong. (Hebrews 4:15) He took the punishment for your sin by dying on the cross. (1 Peter 3:18) God brought Jesus back to life and he is alive today. (Acts 2:32)
  5. Salvation
    There is no other way to be saved from your sin and to become friends with God. (John 14:6, Romans 5:8) You need to admit that you have sinned and ask God to forgive you. (1 John 1:9) If you believe that Jesus Christ is God, that he died to take the punishment for your sins and that he came back to life again, then God will cleanse you from your sins and make you his child. (Acts 16:31; John 1:12; Romans 10:9)
  6.  New Life
    He will give you the Holy Spirit to come into your life and help you to do what is right. (I Corinthians 3:16; 10:13; Philippians 4:13) He calls you to be his disciple (follower), living life to the full, making a difference in your world and being transformed to be like him. (Matthew 28:19,20; Romans 8:29; John 10:10) When you die you will go to heaven to live with him forever. (John 14:2,3)

Plan what you will say. Be careful of the symbolism and religious terminology you use. Children take things very literally. Practice sharing it as if you were presenting it to a group of children. Ask one or more outreach friends to listen to your presentation. Ask them to tell you one thing they enjoyed about your presentation and help you find ways to improve.

When you give an invitation for children to respond to the Gospel, it is best not have them do so in a public way – at least not initially. Suggest that they talk to you privately after you have finished your presentation. This will allow you to find out exactly what they understand about the Gospel and why they want to become a Christian. You will be able to correct any misunderstandings and answer any questions they may have.

Is the Child Ready?

Is he or she old enough? Consider a child’s age.

The Bible does not give a specific age when children can receive Christ. Jesus welcomed very young children into his arms. Jewish customs did not consider children accountable for their actions until they were nearly teens. In general, children need to do the following to make a serious personal decision to follow Christ:

  • Understand there is a standard for right and wrong (found in the Bible).
  • Accept that God loves them, even though God is invisible.
  •  Recognize their own sin (inability to live up to the standard of God’s law) and realize the eternal consequences of their sin. This requires development of a conscience, around ages 3-6.
  • Think and compare. Children must be able to compare their sin to Jesus’ perfection. They must be able to understand how he paid the price for their sin, and then accept this truth personally.

Is he or she ready? Consider a child’s readiness to make a decision.

  • Notice the child’s questions. Is he or she thinking seriously about gospel truth?
  • Notice a child’s facial expressions. Watch for signs that God is working in a child’s heart and mind.
  • Notice a child’s behavior. Some who seem to present discipline challenges are really searching for genuine love and attention … from Christ!
  •  Children are easily swayed by the wrong reasons to respond to the Gospel e.g. fear, peer pressure, desire to please the teacher or parent, wanting a present.

Principles of Counseling

After children respond to an invitation, they will need people to meet with them, talk with them, answer questions and pray with them. The process of coming to Christ belongs to the child and to the Holy Spirit. However, adults can help the “new birth” of a child into Christ’s family go smoothly.

  • Find out what the child already knows. Let him or her tell you about Jesus, talk about heaven and tell you why sin is such a problem for people. Listen carefully to his or her answers.
  • Realize your role is to guide a child to a decision. He must make the decision himself without manipulation. You get to help provide encouragement and love. Watch the Holy Spirit do his work of convicting them of their sin and its consequences, the reality of God’s love and the greatness of His salvation.
  • Use the Bible to read scriptures. Avoid using too many and overwhelming a child.
  • Use simple language a child can understand.
  • Do not frighten the child about going to hell.
  • Avoid a long, emotional appeal. Kids may not be ready or may respond just to make you happy.
  • Accept any child’s interest as sincere, even the very young.
  • Some children will have a strong emotional response to the Gospel; others will not. Allow each child to respond in their own way.
  • Emphasize this as the beginning of a forever relationship with God who will never leave them
  • Celebrate a child’s decision to receive Christ. Send a certificate, give a Bible. Reinforce this new commitment.

Questions to ask

As you counsel with children for salvation, remember that you are having a conversation together. Open-ended questions (questions without a right, wrong or one-word answer) like the ones below will help but allow the direction to be decided by the child and rely on the Holy Spirit to help you to address his/her issues. At any point, you may find that as you listen to their answers, children require more time or more help with understanding – or that they have come with a different agenda.

  • Why did you come?
  • Have you ever received Jesus as your Savior?
  • Why do you think that you need Jesus?
  • What did Jesus do to take the punishment for your sin? Do you believe this?
  •  What will Jesus do for you?
  • If you decide to follow Jesus, what difference do you think that might make to you?
  • Would you like to receive Jesus now? (pray together)
  • Where is the Lord now? How long will he stay?
  • What should you do if you sin?
  • How can you grow as a Christian?

Praying with the child

Explain to the child that prayer is simply talking with God. There are no “magical words” they must use in praying to receive salvation. It is best if you encourage them to use their own words so that they will express what is on their heart and begin to develop their own relationship with God. You might pray first and then ask the child to pray in his or her own personal prayer to God. If the child is not sure what to say (and wants your help), you may say a phrase, then invite the child to repeat after you. In the prayer, thank God for sending Jesus, ask for forgiveness, commit your life to Christ and ask for help to grow.

Assurance of Salvation

  •  Assure the child that once they have accepted Christ’s salvation and become a part of God’s family, nothing can ever change that. Some children may respond to the Gospel message over and over again because they no longer “feel” saved when they sin. Encourage them to simply confess their sin and believe that God will keep his promise to forgive them. (1John 1:9)
  • Children’s understanding of the Gospel in all its richness will grow as they grow. At key times during their development they may want to reaffirm their decision to follow Christ based on their new understanding of what it means.


What do new believers need to know?

  • Your life is new and different. When Jesus comes into your life, he makes things new on the inside. You begin a new life of following him.
  • Jesus is always with you. You may not see him or feel different, but Jesus has come to live in your life forever. He will never leave you. He will always love you. His Holy Spirit lives in you and will help you grow in your life with Jesus.
  • You are a child of God. You are now part of God’s forever family, along with many others around the world.

As part of God’s family, you can:

  • Talk to God as your Father, anytime, anywhere. Thank him, tell him what you are thinking or ask for his help. He loves to hear from you.
  • Get together with others who know Jesus. Talk about him, learn about him and grow to love him more than anything else.
  • Grow to be like Jesus. As a new child of God, you will start learning to live in new ways. God’s Word, the Bible, can help you learn more about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will help you to understand the Bible, do what it says and overcome the temptation to sin.
  • Become someone who shows others what God is like by the way that you are changing

Create opportunities for new believers to grow

  • Can you invite them to Sunday school?
  • Are parents open to meet with you?
  • Does the child own a children’s Bible? Can you give him or her one? Is it possible to work through a simple Bible study with them?
  • How about a correspondence course for kids? By e-mail?

Help kids choose a good church or faith community where they can grow.

Where families are not supportive of a child’s decision, be prepared to find other ways to offer discipleship. NOTE: In some areas of the world, there is only one church choice available in each community. Adjust your advice to match local realities.

  • Teach students that there are all kinds of churches. Some do not teach about Jesus. Challenge them to pray that God will lead them to a good church in which they may grow in their knowledge of Christ.
  • Tell them to find a church that believes in the Bible as the true Word of God and that Jesus is the only way to God.
  • Also, find a church that cares about kids and plans lots of activities for them. Find a church that parents also like.

Are you aware of other guidelines like these – let us know in the comments below. We wanted to broaden the reflection on this important subject

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