by Mark Entzminger/ January 2, 2017
Was the Great Commission for a select few people? Are only people who are “called” supposed to share their faith? I think we would all agree that the challenge to take the gospel to the ends of the earth transcend gender, culture, and yes, even age.
So how do we equip kids to share their faith and help them understand the task to “go into all the world”?
The following three insights may help clear up some misconceptions as you help kids become confident and effective as they take their role in the Great Commission.
Now that I have your attention… let me help correct the misconception. If we teach children that sinners are the people who need the gospel, we are setting them up for an us versus them mentality.
The truth of the matter is the gospel is for EVERYONE. Yes, even those who have knelt at the feet of Jesus in repentance are still in need of the gospel. There will never be a time when we are not in need of the power of the gospel. We must daily show our dependence upon His grace in our lives.
We share our faith with others in hopes that we can all journey together to the foot of the cross. We are all broken. We are all depraved. None of us are good. But God loved us ALL while we were yet sinners—enemies, in fact.
That is the grace that makes the difference in your life, in my life, and in those who have yet to place their trust in Christ.
By now I’m sure you figured out this post: The gospel is for ALL places.
If your church is like most, we often share stories of missionaries doing great things in faraway places. This is great, and it’s an important part of helping to raise missional-minded followers of Christ.
But don’t miss the stories of people coming to faith right in your own community. In fact, make sure to celebrate the times when people come to Christ within the church, and when people lead others to Christ right in the community.
Help kids also see that the gospel can be an expression of love and compassion in addition to sharing a story of faith. Involve kids in thinking of people who have needs, and ask them to pray about ways their family or the church can minister to those people.
Please don’t misunderstand this one—this is a biggie. I believe every church should have a strategy to share the gospel and have people respond for prayer on a weekly basis. This is a critical moment! You never know who or why people may be showing up to church on any given week. If your children’s ministry does not have a regular routine of asking people to respond for salvation, you may want to prayerfully consider how to make that happen.
The point of this section, though, is that we should not be focusing all of the attention on the children inviting people to an outreach and miss equipping them to share their faith with people at home, school, on the sports team, and in their neighborhood.
Let us never give kids the impression that asking a friend if they would like to have Christ in their life is only for trained professionals. I hope every child fully understands his or her role in standing firm in the faith, in sharing the gospel in words and deeds to their friends, and can explain the plan of salvation to a lost and hungry soul.
Maybe you are thinking, yeah Mark, I already knew all of this. May I then challenge you to evaluate the way you are modeling, mentoring, and messaging the challenge of the Great Commission to children? Is the way your ministry is programmed set up to help kids flourish as they fulfill the Great Commission? If so, in what ways?
We’d love to hear about it.