How do we communicate the gospel to kids?
I’m no expert. But I am an experimenter. Here’s the latest:
I’m working with two of my grandsons, age 11 and 9. I love them both! They’re growing up in a strong Christian home.
My main thesis is that they (and many kids) need a why for the faith. Simply a “what” won’t do. In other words, they need reasons to believe, reasons that go beyond blind faith or simply that they grew up in the church.
Our first apologetics session was about why believe in Jesus as a historical figure as recorded in the Bible.
The second session was about creation and evolution. Is the creation account of Genesis 1 meant to be read as a “young earth” or an old earth story? A short creation or a long one?
The third session was about what happens to people around the world who’ve never heard the gospel. We created a fictional character from India named Darsh. The boys wrote his story: seven years old, plays soccer, hangs out with his friends, lives in a village in India. He’s never heard of Jesus. Then, tragically, he drowns.
What happens to Darsh after death?
I laid out the doctrines of heaven and hell — kid friendly, of course. Then we examined the character of God. Can God be trusted to treat Darsh fairly?
I’m not here to tell you the answer to the question of Darsh’s fate. If this were college students I’d lay out three main theological options and not necessarily give my opinion.
But these are my own grandsons. I didn’t keep them guessing about what I think. As a starting point, no one is saved outside the cross and resurrection of Christ. And salvation requires a humble heart . . .
Here are some temptations to avoid in delivering apologetics for kids: getting preachy, shooting over their heads, sharing too many points, making it a sermon. One-way communication is not good.
I recommend getting them involved in discussing the issues. Draw them out. Let them express themselves. Don’t lecture. Less is better (15 minutes at most).
Use concrete images: “Darsh” is a boy like you. He loves soccer! Hell is a lonely place. Heaven is like coming home to a loving family.
Folks, how are we teaching our kids the gospel of Jesus Christ? And why should they believe it? Do we merely hope that they find their faith? Hope, of course, is not a plan.