Salvation takes place when a person decides to place their trust in Christ for eternal life. This is the most important decision a person will make. Though it’s extremely simple, it is not to be taken lightly. It is important for parents to talk with their child and ensure they understand the decision they are making.
In this milestone, we want to help you have some guided conversations with your child about what salvation is and how to accept Christ as Savior. Once your child is ready to make this decision, we will give you suggestions on how to celebrate. Finally, you will find next steps of helping your child grow as they begin their new life in Christ.
Pray before each conversation with your child that God would give you wisdom in what to say, how to answer questions, and for the heart of your child to be open. Take time to talk with your child one-on-one to help them understand what salvation is and answer any questions they have. Use age appropriate language. You know your child best, so talk with them as you would in any other conversation. Gage their readiness to make their decision to trust Christ, but never press them beyond their understanding. It’s the Holy Spirit who draws people toward Jesus, so you don’t ever have to be pushy. You can simply recognize His work and ask Him for wisdom to move at His pace.
Most of the time, a child is not ready to trust Christ when they begin asking questions. You’ll notice a curiosity about heaven, or hell, or sin, or Jesus. They’ll begin to put the pieces together slowly and your initial goal should be simply to encourage their curiosity and provide answers where you can.
As you talk with them, don’t rush to provide them with all the answers. Sometimes continuing the conversation is as simple as saying “Wow, what a great question. I love that you’re asking me about something like that. What do you think the answer might be?”
As your child is beginning to learn, ask questions, and express interest about what Jesus has done for them, here are some of the important concepts for them to grasp:
God Rules. – The Bible tells us that God created everything, including you and me, and is in charge of everything. He is perfect and good, and says that to have a relationship with Him, we have to be perfect and good too. (Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17)
We Sin – Sin is anything that goes against God’s rules. The things we do that we shouldn’t, and the things we should do that we don’t. All of us choose to disobey God. Sin separates us from God and deserves God’s punishment of death. (Romans 3:23, 6:23)
God Provided – God made a way for us to be right with Him forever by sending Jesus. Jesus never sinned but died on a cross to take our punishment and rescue us. We could never rescue ourselves. Jesus alone saves us. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)
Jesus Gives – Jesus offers us forgiveness for our sins through His death, and offers us eternal life with God through His resurrection. Because Jesus gave up His life for us and rose from the dead, we can be welcomed into God’s family for eternity. It costs us nothing. Jesus already paid for the entire gift and offers it to us for free. This is the best gift ever! (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18)
We Respond – God asks us to trust that Jesus alone saves us through His death and resurrection. Just like we trust in a chair to hold us up when we sit in it, we respond to the gospel by trusting that God will forgive us and give us eternal life like He promises. God also invites us to tell others that we have put our trust in Him. (John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10)
As you talk through these concepts with your child, look up the Bible verses together and use them as a point of reference in your discussions. You could even ask them what they think the verses mean, then provide clarification, explanation, or affirmation as needed.
Once it is clear that your child understands and is ready to respond to the gospel, it is time to ask them if they’re ready to put their trust in Christ. If they say “No,” be sure to affirm their honesty, and ask if there is anything they don’t understand or need to keep thinking about. Again, do not pressure them or push them. If they say “Yes,” It might be good to talk back through the Gospel, especially if it has been a while since you talked about it. Then, invite them to pray, telling God that they are putting their trust in Jesus.
Remember, it is not “praying a prayer” that saves a person. Prayer is simply our way of telling God that we are putting our trust in Him. As a result, there are no magic words or formulas to getting the prayer “right.” Simply encourage your child to use their own words to tell God what they are doing, but feel free to give guidance as needed. Here is an example of a prayer that reflects what a person believes: "Dear God, I know I am a sinner and that I don’t deserve a relationship with you. But I believe Jesus died to forgive me of my sins. I now accept Your offer of eternal life. Thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to follow You for the rest of my life because I’m so grateful for the gift You have given to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Accepting Christ is the most important decision in a person’s life, therefore, take the time to make memories you can look back on and remember. Sometimes doubts and fears about our salvation may come later in life so having these markers can help provide assurance. The following are suggestions of how to celebrate this milestone in your child’s life.
Baptism- Now that your child has decided to trust Christ, help them share their story through the picture of baptism. For more information, refer to the Baptism Milestone.
Personal Growth- Developing in Christ is vital to your child’s spiritual growth. You will want to explore with your child such topics as prayer, reading God’s word, growing in a community of other believers, and giving. Many churches offer a class for young believers. For Doxology attendees, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the “Jump Start” class.
Ask four significant people in your child’s life to write a letter of encouragement and blessing to them. Give them one of the letters at the end of each of the four experiences. You can provide the questions below as a guide if needed: