When I started in children’s ministry years ago, I was passionate about seeing kids step across the line of faith and become followers of Jesus. Each time I had the opportunity in a large group setting, I would lead kids in a prayer of salvation.
26 years later, I’m still just as passionate about seeing kids enter a relationship with Jesus, but my approach has changed. I no longer do large group salvation prayers with kids.
- When you do large group salvation prayers with kids it’s hard to determine if they understand the decision they are making.
- When you do a large group prayer with kids most of the time their parents are not involved.
Over the years, I have shifted to the following strategy and found it to be more effective.
- We share the Gospel on a regular basis in our children’s ministry large group settings.
- We invite kids who want to know more about following Jesus to raise their hand.
- When their parents come to pick them up, we let them know if their child has expressed interest in making a decision to follow Jesus.
- We invite the parents to bring them to a class called Starting Line.
- Parents attend the class with their child. No drop-offs. We want parents involved.
- We clearly share the Gospel in the class.
- After the class, we talk with the parent and child to access whether they are ready to make a decision or not.
- If the child is ready, his or her parents lead them in the salvation prayer.
- If the child is not ready, the parents continue the conversation at home.
- We provide parents with follow-up materials.
Once the child has stepped across the line of faith, we have them write out their salvation testimony and they are invited to a baptism class where baptism is clearly explained.
With this strategy, we have seen thousands of kids step across the line of faith and…the cool thing…we regularly see parents step across the line of faith as well. When parents get in the class and clearly hear the Gospel, many of them realize they need to make the decision as well.
Here’s an example…just a few weeks ago we had 17 kids who had attended the class follow Jesus in baptism…and 7 of their parents as well.
I would encourage you to consider this approach. Below is a sample of the testimony sheet from the class and a video explanation. You can order the class curriculum at www.resources4kidmin.com.
Example of Testimony Sheet Kids Write Out
Tell Your Story Page by dalehudsoncm
– See more at: http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2016/03/why-i-stopped-doing-large-group.html#sthash.dyBLWeXV.dpuf
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- Intergenerational Ministry Beyond the Rhetoric | Fuller Youth Institute
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- Positive Peer Community & Child Discipleship
- What Is a Rite of Passage Experience?
- Thinking Again About Large Group Salvation Prayer
- Shalom – God’s heart for children
- Respond With Compassion (Helping children learn to serve)
- We are what we sing – children, song and memory
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