As with anything, our children follow our examples--for better or for worse.
While I’m certain the Lord holds adult believers to a higher standard, it does not excuse our children from fulfilling the great commission. If we want to see our kids impact their generation, we need to set habits in their lives now.
The level that you prioritize soul winning will influence the level your child prioritizes telling their friends about Jesus. When we are passionate, our kids follow suit. However, when we treat sharing our faith as something to be put off--until we have more time or a better testimony--we pass that attitude on as well.
Kids take in everything we do. When we speak roughly when we’re mad, they will follow suit. When we fail to keep our promises, they learn it is okay for them to do the same. Even if you teach your child to respond the right way to anger and do what they promise to do, your actions will speak louder than your words.
So, if you and your church teach your child that praying for unsaved friends and loved ones is important, but all of your prayers are about your own family and your own needs, your children will learn that their faith is for them, to make their lives better. While we absolutely trust God will meet and exceed our needs, we are called to be a light to a lost and dying world! Our lives are not our own, and our prayers should reflect that.
Even something as simple as praying for the lost can help your child learn about the importance of soul-winning. Then, your child is not only learning what you tell them, they are seeing what you do. As you begin to pray out loud for your friends and family members that do not know the Lord, you child will follow suit in their prayers. They will begin praying for the same people, and eventually, their own friends that have not received salvation.
Showing--not just telling--your child the importance of spreading the good news about Jesus is a necessary part of raising Godly children.
Think about your day-to-day and week-to-week life. How often do you take time to actively witness to someone about the goodness of God? Your child can be raised in church, attend all the best summer camps and youth conferences, but if they never see a positive example of soul-winning, they will not become soul-winners. And when they do finally catch on to God’s will, they will have lost many precious opportunities to win their friends and coaches to the Lord.
Think about something your family prioritized when you were younger. For me, one of those things was football. Every Sunday after church we would watch football, and even now I find watching football on a Sunday afternoon to be a very natural, relaxing thing to do. Why? Because it is what I saw as a child.
So, in addition to praying for your friends and family, actively reach out to them and the community. Talk to your friend about God in front of your child! Go on a soul-winning outreach with your local church family and bring them along. What you prioritize, your child will prioritize.
One of the best things about a child’s faith is that it’s pure and undefiled by the world. They heard that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for them, and they believe it. They want to tell everyone because it is so perfect to them. By tapping into their love for the Lord now, we are providing them opportunities to witness to people who are also very open to believing in God. Children who, if they were able to see the goodness of God from a young age, will have great potential to remain Christians their whole life.
A study in 2013 revealed that 94% of adult Christians made their decision before the age of 18. Another study suggests the best age for someone to become a Christians is between the ages of 4 and 14, where 84% of people in the study received salvation. This is where your child comes in.
See, this is the audience your child is around all the time. They spend countless hours in school and at sports practices with these kids. Yet we often inadvertently discount their attempts to evangelize their friends. We just talked about your child’s advantage: their pure, simple faith. But their biggest disadvantage is their lack of autonomy. When you want to invite a friend to church, you can pick them up, even offer to take them to lunch. Your child, however, is limited to the time they have with them.
And that big disadvantage is coupled with another disadvantage--your child is still learning how to communicate. While they may love God fully and understand salvation in their heart, it can be difficult for them to explain it to others in a way that they can understand.
Your child needs to see your love for souls result in action. They need you to support their efforts and follow up with their friend’s parents. Offer to pick up their friend for a play date Sunday morning, or have a sleepover Saturday night.
In the same way that your actions in your own life speak volumes to your child, your support (or lack of support) in theirs does as well. When you support your child’s efforts to evangelize their friends, you show them that they are not alone in sharing their faith. You show them that you value their efforts--their desire to see their friends know Jesus is a priority to you. And as you continue to prioritize evangelism in your own life and in your child’s life, their confidence and desire will grow.