Evangelism IS child’s play

Kids_playing I am no expert on child evangelism. My experience lies more with young adults and adults. But I have notice a number of things with my own kids and local kids which I think are worth pondering.

Firstly, my kids are far ahead of most adults in our church in understanding just how post-Christian our surrounding community is. Hindus and Muslims are not a statistic in a census form, they are their school friends whom they mix with daily. And they care that they ‘won’t see them in heaven’ as they put it. So, somewhat ironically, they’re far more primed for sharing their faith with western Hundus and Muslims than many of the more ‘mature’ in the faith.

Secondly, as with many adults, story and symbol connection seem to be important. I recently suggested to my kids that John the Baptist was the Obiwan Kenobi of the Bible and I instantly had their wrapt attention, which created an opening to share more about the God we know through Jesus and how faith was the real ‘force’ that moved mountains in this world.

Thirdly, and somewhat related to this, I think there’s a need to question the bible story / bible verse cherry picking approach that’s popular in mainstream Evangelicalism and focus on the lordship of Jesus, the call to discipleship and the spiritual disciplines, K.I.S.S. style. We’re living in a post-Christendom context where we can no longer assume that our culture will support our faith, or that church kids are growing up in Christian families, or that they will be attending churches over extended periods where they have time to pick up the big story by osmosis.

Finally, we have to give up the idea that ‘invitational’ styles of outreach are a panacea. The truth is, no matter how well we structure invites to church events and Sunday services into our kids programs and mums groups, some mums and families are never going to accept those invites because it’s just a bridge too far. So sadly, many families could be coming to our kids programs for years and never hear the gospel if invitational style outreach is the only thing we know or care about practicing. Our post-Christendom context requires that we embed faith sharing into the very way we do kids programs and mums groups. Moreover, we need to train and encourage our kids and our mums to share their faith in the communities they’re moving out into, completely beyond the walls of the church. Welcoming is good but we need to be more than welcomers (in Christian territory), we need to be ambassadors (in non-Christian territory). Our kids have the potential to be God’s greatest ambassadors.

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