Leading a child to the Lord is like cultivating flowers. Growing beautiful flowers takes time. First, you must prepare the soil. Next, you sow the seed and water it. Later, you will nourish the little plants with fertilizer. When needed, you pull weeds.
Then, as you watch them grow, you marvel at what God has done. Leading a child to the Lord is similar. Daily, you guide the child with the Word of God and your encouragement.
Who Is God?
God wants to relate to us. But we get to choose if we want His friendship. The Lord made us to know Him and to relate to Him. Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.’” Animals, plants, stars, and planets are not made in God’s image; they cannot relate to God as we can. Only people can relate to God with worship, with conversation, and with love.
Since God made us His highest creation, we have a special position. Our special position allows us to thank the Lord, to obey Him, and to serve Him. Our special position also places a special responsibility upon us. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48). It is our responsibility to choose our response to God.
Think About It
God is our creator.
I am His special creation.
Read Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 45:6, 7, 12; and Psalm 8:1, 4, 6-9.
God is almighty and eternal.
I can live with Him forever.
Read Psalm 23:1-6 and Daniel 6:26b, 27a.
God is holy.
I am a sinner.
Read Deuteronomy 32:3, 4 and Romans 3:23; 7:19, 20.
God is our father and judge.
I can accept or reject Him; I will be judged.
Read Psalm 96:10; Hebrews 12:10, 11 and Romans 6:23.
What’s a Relationship with Jesus?
Once we understand who God is, we can develop a relationship with His Son, Jesus. Jesus wants us to respond to His grace (Hebrews 4:7) and follow Him (Matthew 16:24, 25).
Think About It
Jesus wants me to know Him.
I can listen to Jesus in Scripture and talk with Him in prayer.
Read Philippians 4:6 and 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
Jesus wants to take my sin.
He can trade my sin for His righteousness.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:13, 14; Acts 4:12; and Ephesians 2:8.
Jesus wants me to repent.
I can turn and make Jesus my Lord.
Read 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 2:38; and Romans 10:9, 10.
Jesus wants to live in me.
I can believe in and obey Jesus; I can let Him live in me.
Read John 3:16, 17; Mark 16:16; and Galatians 2:20.
How Do I Keep in Step with the Spirit?
It is important to understand what happens after we accept Jesus as Savior. Christian faith is a life-long adventure here on earth. With Jesus as Lord of our lives, we build a life of submitting to God, following Jesus, and keeping in step with the Spirit.
Think About It
The Lord wants me to grow with Him.
I can form a daily friendship with the Lord and grow to have Christlike attitudes.
Read Micah 6:8; John 15:5-8; and Galatians 5:22-26.
The Lord wants me to rely on Him.
I can escape from temptation.
Read Psalm 20:7; James 4:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 10:13; and Philippians 4:6-8.
The Lord wants me to be a servant.
I can grow a servant heart.
Read Ephesians 2:10 and Mark 10:42-45.
The Lord wants me to enjoy Heaven.
I can look forward to Heaven and lead others there.
Read Revelation 21:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20; Galatians 6:9, 10; and Colossians 3:1-4.
Where Do We Start?
The process begins in earnest when you prepare the soil—when you build a relationship with the child. Before you try to develop a child’s relationship with the Lord, develop your interaction with the child in other areas.
Talk about the child’s favorite topics before you talk about God. Let the child choose something to do with you before you begin a Bible study with that child. You need on-going, joy-filled involvement with a child before you can help that child build an on-going, joy-filled relationship with the Lord.
After a relationship has been established, you can plant the seed and begin to nourish the child’s growing faith with numerous discussions about Scripture. When needed, you will root out improper thoughts and attitudes.
Each time you meet, talk and listen to the child. Remember, you are teaching a child, not just a set of stories or verses. Listening to the child helps the child think. Listening also helps you know where you need to correct the child’s ideas.
Use the selected Scriptures in this article to guide the child toward a relationship with the Lord. But don’t limit your conversations to session times. Talk, text, or e-mail about the Lord as often as you can.
Generally, 3rd to 6th grade children are the most fertile soil for accepting Jesus as Lord. A child should be able to read and look for answers in Scripture. He or she needs to be able to connect Scripture teaching to his or her own life. A child who has developed these skills is capable of having his or her own relationship with God.
Watch and Pray
As you watch and pray, you will see the child develop independent daily contact with the Lord.
Who Can Do This?
The most natural relationship for passing on faith lessons is between parent and child. “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
However, not every child has a parent who is prepared to lead him or her to the Lord. In those cases, faith grows out of a loving relationship between the child and a Sunday school teacher, minister, or other interested adult.
Whatever your relationship to the child, know that you can do this!
- Set a special time for studying selected Scriptures together. This will help the child look forward to a time to be just with you.
- Read through each Scripture ahead of time. This will help you feel like you know where you’re going.
- Write down your own thoughts and questions about the Bible verses.
Ask What If …?
What if at the end of your study together, the child does not commit himself or herself to Christ? What do you do then?
First, don’t worry and don’t push. You can’t shove a child to Heaven. He or she must accept Jesus’ offer personally. And each person must come to faith in Christ on his or her own schedule.
Second, devote yourself to the Lord and pray. Your example of living with Jesus and your continued prayers can influence the child. Your best teaching tool is your life.
Third, talk about the Scriptures again. Whenever the opportunity arises, ask what the Bible says about following God and having a relationship with Jesus. (See the questions and Scriptures listed in this article.) Continue to talk about these matters until you see spiritual growth showing in new behaviors, patterns, and attitudes.
Fourth, if you feel you need some help, ask another Christian you trust to talk with the child about his or her faith. Sometimes, a new perspective will produce new thoughts.
Questions You Can Ask
Here are some questions you can use to lead a child toward the Lord. If the child’s answer to a question shows a lack of understanding, talk together about the verse(s) after the question to help the child gain understanding.
- What is God like? (Numbers 14:18)
- How is God different from us? (Deuteronomy 32:4)
- What makes you a sinner? (Romans 3:10-18)
- What trade did Jesus make for you? (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- What is God offering to give you? (Romans 6:23)
- What will happen if people do not take God’s offer? (John 3:18)
- How do you take God’s offer? (John 3:16)
- What happens when you repent? (Acts 3:19; 8:21, 22)
- What happens when you accept and trust Jesus? (Proverbs 3:5, 6; 1 John 4:15, 16)
- Why are people baptized? (Acts 2:37, 38)
- How do people live for the Lord? (Galatians 5:24, 25)
- What do you need to do about all of this? (Only the child can answer this question.)
This Is Important!
There are many things we teach children. We teach them the basics of life—to brush their teeth and eat healthy foods, we teach them how to work and how to play, and we want them to know how to get along with others and how to be successful in life.
But in the end, all of these teachings will mean nothing unless we lead our children to Jesus. Every other thing we teach will come to an end, but a relationship with Jesus lasts forever.