Thoughts on Sharing the Faith

Jason K. Allen, President of Midwestern Baptist Seminary, recently shared a blog entry that I found quite good, first because it was very simple and quite practical and second, because it didn’t use a lot of technical theological language which seminary presidents and professors are often want to do. The title of this article is 10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ, and although I thought it gave good guidance for the parents of young children, I also think that his 10 tips can be applied more widely – to grown-up children, to grandchildren, to friends and others as well.  Let’s take a look:

Point #1.  Remember, children do not have to become like adults to be saved; adults have to become like children. When Jesus made this point in Matt. 18, he was not referring to spiritual innocence. Rather, he commended a spirit of humility, dependence, and deference – virtues which are common in children and essential for whoever would follow Christ.  (This is an important point that is not always easy to get across when talking to adults – the need for us to allow God to be in charge and to recognize that He is in control and that we need to come before Him with an attitude of dependence and humility.)

Point #2.  Remember, you are responsible for your child’s spiritual formation, not your church, your pastor, or your children’s minister. Be faithful to teach them the Word, to shape their hearts, and, yes, to indoctrinate them. Even if your church is healthy enough to outsource your kid’s spiritual formation, do not do it. It is unbiblical, and it robs you of some of life’s greatest joys.  (I think it is important to remember here that although our children may no longer be little ones that we still have a responsibility to share with them the Word and to help them in their spiritual growth.  We have the privilege of impacting our grandchildren as well, without seeking to take over the parenting role, but in such a way as to assist with their spiritual formation.  The same is true for other friends and family members who allow us to be involved in their lives and who look to us for spiritual discernment and guidance.  God uses the relationships of our lives to share the Word – never think that the time will come when we will no longer be responsible for the sharing of the faith with someone else.)

 Point #3.  Remember what conversion is. Conversion is more than intellectual. We are looking for more than our children’s ascent to biblical facts about Jesus. My children have known the broad contours of the gospel since preschool, but that is not enough to save them. Be looking for the affective as well as the intellectual. Have an ear for confession, repentance, faith, and submission to Jesus as Lord. Ask yourself, has Jesus changed their life? (He’s right, the Christian faith is much more than simply knowledge about the Bible and agreement with some set of biblical facts about Jesus – it is also about more than “going to church.”  Attending worship or Bible study may be a sign of faith or it may simply be compliance with some expectations of others.  Listen, really listen, to what others say about their “faith.”)

 Point #4.  Share your testimony with your children. Do your kids know how much Jesus means to you; how he changed your life; and when and how you became a Christian? Sharing your testimony with your children provides a natural context to discuss what God is doing in their lives too.  (I can’t tell you how many funerals I have had over the years for people who lived a life of great faith and were “saints” in the Biblical meaning of the word, i.e. they were truly disciples, followers, of Jesus Christ – but whose children and grandchildren simply thought that the “church” was important to them or who called them “very religious.”  How sad that, for whatever reason, their children and grandchildren never really came to know that they weren’t just about “church” or “religion,” but instead their lives were really about Jesus.)

 To be continued…