One of the things I love about children’s ministry is how eager children are to tell you about their lives. They love to share things that are important to them. I often start a kids’ church by asking what exciting things have happened in the last week. I get all sorts of interesting answers. Children love to share the things that matter to them.
This raises the question: how do you encourage children to include their faith in the list of important things they’re sharing? What can you do to help them share their faith with their friends?
Here are three things that will help you to encourage children to share their faith with others.
Engage their hearts with the gospel
This is the first step and perhaps the most difficult one. The motivation to share Jesus with others will never come from simply being told we should do it. This is true for adults too. We all know we should be sharing Jesus with those around. This is, after all, the very task Jesus left for his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
But simply telling children to do it is not the best or most effective way to encourage them to share Jesus with others. Instead we need to engage their hearts with the joy of Jesus. Show them who Jesus is and why we need him. It’s understanding this deep need that leads us to love Christ above all things. It’s understanding that everyone needs Jesus that leads us to share the good news of Jesus with others.
A child who understands sin and who knows that following Jesus is more than just going to church on Sunday is also a child whose faith is being deepened. This is the kind of faith that can’t help but be shared. The more we engage children with the joy of the gospel, the more they will be prepared to share their faith with those around them.
Teach them how
Once we engaged the hearts of children with the gospel we need to teach them what it looks like to share their faith with others. This can include anything from telling a friend what they learnt at kids’ church to inviting someone to come along with them.
For children and adults alike, sharing your faith happens in lots of different ways. It’s our job to help children work out what it might look like for them at school, at weekend sport, at after school care or in any other situation they might face. Ask them who they know that they can share their faith with. Talk about the different conversations they can have about their faith. Pray with them and for them as they do so.
Show them how
You’ve probably heard the expression ‘See one, do one, teach one’. It’s a helpful principle to have in mind as we think about encouraging children to share their faith.
Children are highly influenced by the people around them. This can be a bad thing but it can also be a really good thing. They are much more likely to share their faith with others if they regularly see others do it too. For parents this means sharing your faith with others in front of your children. Letting them see and hear you talk to your friends about your faith will give them a model that they can copy with their own friends.
If you’re a children’s ministry leader or an adult invested in the lives of children around you, think about the opportunities you have to show children how they can share their faith. Tell them stories about when you’ve shared your faith with others. Invite them to come with you to welcome a visitor at church. Encourage them to sit with the new child in kids’ church and help them look up Bible passages or answer questions.
These are just a few things we can do to encourage children to share their faith. Why not try one of them this week?