As I was making my kids breakfast yesterday, my nine year old, Jeremy, told me, "Daddy, I think Kailey's ready for you-know-what." At first I didn't know what he was talking about until he finally blurted, "To believe the gospel!"
I have explained the message again and again to my six year old daughter Kailey. I think she knows the words but doesn't quite get the tune yet if you know what I mean. So, I told Jeremy "you tell her."
As I was making oatmeal and eggs I watched my little boy at work. First, he tried to get her attention, a tough job. She was in one of her fiesty-meets-fun moods. Once he got her attention the conversation went something like this,
"Kailey, you know God loves you right?"
She giggles and plays with her toy cat.
"Kailey, put the cat down this is important."
She giggles again and keeps playing. Jeremy looks at me in frustration.
I interupt, "Kailey, put the kitty down and listen to your brother."
She complies and settles in with a wry, little smile on her face. Jeremy does his best to explain the gospel. My favorite part? When he tried to get her to understand what sin was and her answer was that it was "when the dog crawls underneath the bed after he's done something wrong."
He continued to share. She continued to giggle. But Jeremy persisted. He used illustrations she could understand. He focused on what Jesus did on the cross. When Jeremy got to the end he said, "Okay Kailey, if you are ready to trust in Jesus right now then raise your hand!" There was my boy doing an altar call in the kitchen. Enough to make an evangelist daddy proud.
I explained to Jeremy that what we didn't want was just to get her to raise her hand. We wanted her to believe in her heart and be saved. This frustrated Jeremy to no end and he kept telling Kailey, "This is serious" as she giggled and picked up her kitty again.
I think she's close but not quite there yet. It would be awesome if her big brother was the one to lead her to Christ. Stay tuned. In the meantime there's a few things we can learn from my kids when it comes to evangelism:
1. Just bring it up.
One of the things I love about kids is their propensity for forthrightness. Too many times too many adults try to be tricky when it comes to sharing their faith. They wait for someone to recognize their little light shining and avoid dropping the "J" word into a conversation. We, like little children, need to just bring it up.
2. Keep it simple.
As I watched Jeremy share the gospel I was impressed how he shared the gospel in a way that Kailey could understand. He shared illustrations she could relate with and embrace (although she was giggling instead.) Jeremy kept it simple.
The gospel is not a complicated message. At it's core the gospel is a love story. God loves humanity. Humanity breaks God's heart. God sacrifices His Son to heal the rift. And, to those humans who respond in faith, they live happily ever after.
Let's keep it simple as we share the gospel with those around us. Here's a simple outline that Dare 2 Share has developed to help you keep the GOSPEL simple:
God created us to be with him.
Our sins separate us from God.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life.
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
3. This is serious.
I end with Jeremy's admonition to Kailey...this is serious! There is no work more serious than the work of saving a soul. Why? Because it holds the solution to a person's earthly desperation and eternal destination. It provides forgiveness, restoration and transfomration through faith alone in Christ alone.
Sure, be careful how you bring it up, but bring it up. Be sensitive how you share the gospel, but share the gospel. Don't get them to just say yes with their words but yes in their heart.
Yesterday at breakfast I got reminded by my little boy about how serious this stuff is. Today, I hope that his story reminds you of the same thing.
Bring it up with someone today!