Bringing Your Baby to Jesus (Originally Published May 2, 2006)

I had no problem teaching her how to blow bubbles in her milk through a straw, or how to perfectly dip a double stuffed Oreo; but when it came to teaching her about salvation, I was totally intimidated. What if I get it wrong? What if I make her think she is saved when she really isn’t? Will she remember her decision when she is older? How do I know she is not just telling me what I want to hear? What if she wants to be baptized just because she has seen other kids being baptized? How do I know when she is ready? Is she ready? Probably the best question is, am I ready?

If you are a parent you have probably experienced this same anxiety when it came to helping your child understand the gospel. So what do you do? Here is what I have learned about being a parent and sharing your faith with your child.

1) Stories - Kids love stories, all kinds of stories, especially Bible stories. The more magical and fanciful they are, the more children love stories. Not to say that the Bible is a fairy-tale, but as an adult it does seem we lose some of our awe of the Biblical record. Not kids! When it comes to parting the Red Sea, walking on water, or rasing from the dead, these are stories your children will love to hear over and over again. It may be helpful to buy a children’s Bible with pictures to share with your child. So instead of a steady diet of Dr. Seuss, why not read a Bible story before sending the kids to bed?

2) Believe - It is harder for adults to believe, but children understand better than anyone what it means to believe. With children, the challenge is not getting them to believe, but to discern. Children believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus. One of the greatest ways to help your child see the difference is by leading them in prayer regularly. Let them see you talking to Jesus. That is the greatest way to show them reality. Show them that you actually know Jesus personally, that you have a relationship with Him.

3) Faithfulness - There is no substitute for faithfulness in the Christian walk. Kids learn by routine and repetition. Sadly, those are two things greatly lacking in most homes. Your faithfulness to church, to Sunday School, to Bible reading, prayer, and giving is your greatest asset in showing your child the importance of Christ to their lives. If you can’t show them you are committed to Christ, how can you expect them to do likewise? Also, having your kids under the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God is priceless. How can they hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14)? If you are inconsistent in church attendance and Christian disciplines, then Jesus might as well be on the same level as Santa and the Easter Bunny, just someone nice to have around when its convenient.

4) Time - It takes time to win a child to Chris. It takes time to win anyone to Christ. You should start witnessing to your child from day one. Winning your baby to Jesus is not a planned event, like a Doctor’s appointment. Her mother and I have daily prayed with our daughter that she would be saved at a young age. We didn’t start telling her Bible stories and talking about Jesus when we thought she was “ready.” We started these things, especially prayer, from the day she was born. Also, you must give time for God to work. Not all children will be saved at the same age. Furthermore, once your child says they are saved, again, give it time. There is nothing wrong with testing the sincerity of their profession with time. If they seem to “lose interest”, don’t worry, God will stir them up again when He is ready. You may be “ready” for your child to be saved, but God may not be. I had to come to the realization, God would save my daughter despite myself.

5) Verses - There is nothing greater than helping your child to memorize and understand Bible verses, especially verses that deal specifically with our need to accept the gospel. If you want Jesus in their heart, first hide the word in their heart (Psalm 119:11). Help your child memorize and understand verses like John 3:16, Romans 10:13, Ephesians 2:8, 9; Acts 16:31. The AWANA program is a great tool for you as a parent. The kids can’t drive themselves!

I found my greatest concern was not my daughter’s faith, but my own. When it came to her faith, it really came down to my faith. I had to be faithful in my witness, but I also had to trust God to do the one thing I could not do for her. I could teach her how to down an Oreo properly, but I could not save her soul, I had to trust God. I felt so much like Nicodemas in John 3 trying to understand the work of the Spirit. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Despite my fears and constant questioning, God did something in my daughter’s life I could not control, something only she could really understand. My job as a daddy; be a witness.

As a suggestion also read Patricia Palau's article "Leading a Child to Jesus" in Scott Dawson's "The Complete Evangelism Guidebook."


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