By Pamela Enderby
Children are one of the largest mission fields in North America. Researcher George Barna states, “Of the 51 million children under the age of 18 who live in the United States, more than 40 million don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
Over the years I’ve learned that elementary age kids are naturals when it comes to evangelizing. They possess time and talents to spread God’s love. As on mission Christians how can we help our children reach their peers? Consider these ideas:
1. Cultivate an evangelistic heart. The adage, “you can’t give away what you don’t have” is pertinent and should encourage on mission Christians to pray for and pursue their own children’s understanding and acceptance of the gospel first. Then, out of gratitude, worship and compassion we pray daily, “Lord, open our hearts to share your love with friends and neighbors who need You.”
2. Role-play. Practice introducing friends to Jesus. Discuss ways to illustrate words like “grace, sin, faith, saved, repentance, etc.” God’s grace is sufficient to speak clearly through a child’s simple, ordinary words.
3. Give generously. When allowances are doled out, teach your child the importance of giving to someone in need in your community.
4. Overcome evil with good. When children talk about their friends cussing, lying and gossiping, consider ways they might use these occasions to teach their friends about God’s love and kindness. However, before “sending them out,” discuss how to handle rejection. Children can be ridiculed for being “religious.”
5. Serve others. Children discover the joy of serving others as they make cards for their sick friends, offer free pet sitting or help with homework.
6. Prayer releases power. Collect names of classmates and neighborhood kids. At bedtime, guide your child to pray for one person of his choice.
7. Plan a party. Holidays offer timely opportunities to invite your kids’ friends into your home to play Christ-centered games. Get your kids involved writing party invitations, preparing snacks and selecting games.
8. Seek and Hide. Collect wicker baskets from thrift stores or garage sales. After your child decorates them with colorful tissue paper, add homemade cookies and attach a tag that says, “Jesus loves you.” One at a time, your child drops a basket on their friends’ doorstep, rings the doorbell and runs. The suspense of not “getting caught” fuels this activity. Include a note saying, “A surprise gift from your friends.”
9. Rehearse on mission questions. Oftentimes kids don’t know how to start a spiritual conversation. Present and discuss these questions. “Who do you think Jesus Christ is?” “Is there a heaven?” “How do you go to heaven?” “May I tell you about my church?” “May I tell you what I learned at church?”
10. Lead a kids’ Bible study. All you need is a willing heart and helpful resources. Always let your kids help you choose skits, crafts and Bible lessons.
God knows our children’s extraordinary potential to extend His kingdom. With minimal adult assistance, He is ready to work His purposes through them.
Pamela Enderby is a writer in Shawnee, Kansas.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC