Thank you for being patient with my random thoughts about faith development. Usually when doing a series like this, I’ve got a plan and a place I’m trying to take the reader. This time; however, I’m just emptying my head of many different thoughts I’m trying to sort through.
Education + Evangelism = Responsible faith development.
There is a certain amount of education that needs to happen regardless of a hearers age, but it seems that this is even more essential for kids. Let me explain.
When communicating salvation to adults, the emphasis seems to be more on persuasion. It’s crafting the message in such a way that combined with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, a person wants to give their life to Christ. Again, there is some education involved as the story and situation are created, but the crux of the opportunity is in the ask.
When communicating salvation to kids, it seems like there is more emphasis on education. Kids are eager to learn. They need to learn about how the world was created, how sin came into the world, how this created a problem, what God’s solution was and then how we can make things right. There is a lot of stuff a child needs to know. Like I said yesterday, the emphasis doesn’t need to be on persuasion. Why, because it’s really easy to persuade a child. They’re sponges for information and their very trusting and willing to be persuaded. In this case, we need to educate them on what salvation is and how the scriptures teach this and what it means for our lives. When a child understands this, then it’s very easy for them to take the next step and choose to follow Christ.
I can easily call for a decision at the end of a message or have an evangelist come in and tell kids that they can choose Christ and tons of them will. However, are we taking the time to build in a layer of understanding through education before persuading kids to make a decision.
Again, this goes back to my reason for wanting kids to attend a baptism class before being baptized. I can quickly persuade a child to receive Christ before jumping in the pool with them, or I could take an hour and build in a layer of understanding. When I do this, then kids get baptized within that foundation of understanding, something their new faith can sick to.
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