When Preschoolers Ask About Salvation
Guiding children to take those first steps toward faith can be the most rewarding opportunity of life for parents. Parents who have growing relationships with Christ can create an environment for a child to be introduced to Him from the first days of life. As a child grows and matures, his knowledge of Jesus will grow. By laying foundations for spiritual conversion, parents become partners with the Holy Spirit as He prepares and calls a child to accept Jesus as Savior.
Jesus as “Friend”
From the first days of life, your child should begin to associate Jesus’ name with positive feelings. During the preschool years, a child needs to associate Jesus with the Bible, church, family, and self. The goal is to lead preschoolers to understand Jesus is a friend who loves them.
- As a young preschooler, your child can understand that Jesus was a special baby. As a boy, Jesus had a family and worshiped God. Jesus grew to be a man. Jesus helped people because He loved them. Jesus loves all people and wants people to love Him.
- In the middle preschool years, a child begins hearing Bible stories that emphasize Jesus as God’s Son. God sent Jesus to the earth. Jesus studied and learned. Jesus did things that people cannot do. Jesus wants people to love and help each other.
- For kindergarten-age children, concepts are enhanced in content and meaning. Jesus is God’s One and Only Son. Jesus performed miracles and healed the sick. Children can grow like Jesus – in mind, body, and their relationships with God and others. People should follow the example and teachings of Jesus. Jesus died on the cross. God made Jesus alive again. Jesus is in heaven.
Jesus as “Savior”
As a child matures through the elementary years, he moves from the stage of knowing Jesus as friend to an increasing understanding of Jesus as Savior. For a child, becoming a Christian happens both in “bits and pieces” over the years and in one “big event.” Parents work with the Holy Spirit in the “bits and pieces” process, laying the foundations that introduce the child to Jesus as friend.
- The Holy Spirit in the “big event” calls the child to accept Christ as Savior. Part of the Holy Spirit’s role is to reveal to the child his personal sin. A child must realize that he is lost before he can be saved. This process requires time and patience.
- When a child begins to ask questions, it may only signal the early stages of acquiring more information.
- Both the child and Holy Spirit should be in the driver’s seat, setting the pace and course for discussion.
- The “big event” occurs at different ages for individual children since each child is unique in his relationship with God.
There is no separate gospel for children. The child must understand and be convicted of his broken relationship with God. Parents must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work. Where there is no conviction, there can be no real change and spiritual conversion. Decisions that last a lifetime are decisions based on conviction and conversion.