Just the other day my friend shared about her husband’s one and only church experience when he was younger. The pastor pulled him aside and shared that the boy was probably going to hell because he was wearing baggy pants. For many years later, that is what the boy remembered and associated with church. Wow.
Suppose a kid comes to any of your ministries and has zero religious background. What are the most urgent things your ministry needs to help them understand? Sometimes we get caught up in the behaviors and the to-do’s and don’t-do’s. Here are a few basics that kids need to learn first.
1. God is love and He loves them. Before you can share the gospel effectively with any kid, he or she needs to understand this essential idea. An unchurched kid could have any possible view of God, formed largely from tv, movies, or bits and pieces they’ve picked up from other sources. Nothing matters more than that child understanding that the God of the universe loves him.
2. You love them. Before you can share much life-changing truth, you have to earn the right to be heard. All kids need to know that your ministry is a safe place where people genuinely care about them. It is through relationship that we have real opportunities to share the gospel.
3. Sin is real. We do unchurched kids a great disservice when we only tell them half of the story. Kids need to understand that we have a sin problem that we can’t fix on our own. Kids need to learn that our wrong choices are serious because they separate us from God.
4. Jesus. If God sends us unchurched children, and they leave our ministry without at least being initially introduced to who Jesus is, we have failed. Pizza is good. Games are fun. But we miss it if we don’t share with all kids as often as we can that God sent His only son to pay the price for our sin and to make a way for us to go to Heaven.
What do you say? Leave a comment below to add your thoughts to this important question. What do you try to emphasize when children visit your ministry for the first time?