When Children Don’t Understand Salvation

When Children Respond to a Gospel Invitation But They Don’t Understand

When a child walks the aisle or responds to an invitation for salvation, we have a responsibility to help him or her understand the gospel. The child may or may not be ready to say “the sinner’s prayer.”  It is our job as children’s leaders to be discerning in this. Sometimes it becomes obvious that a child has responded but either does not understand the gospel or is just not mature enough to know what he or she is doing. This must be approached prayerfully because only God knows the condition of children’s hearts. But we must bear in mind that repeating a prayer, any prayer, is not going to save someone who does not understand what he or she is saying.

If a Child Needs More Time To Process the Gospel

So what do you do if, after asking the child a few key questions, you decide that he or she needs a little time? This is a very delicate matter, and you should be very careful so as to encourage the child and not make him or her feel like something is wrong.

What to Say to a Child Who Doesn’t Understand the Gospel

Be excited! You might say something like this: “Johnny, I am so glad that you came forward (or raised your hand, etc.) today. You know why? Because that shows me that you are learning about God. And the more you grow and understand about God, the better that will be for you in your life. I want you to keep on learning and coming to church and praying. I feel sure that one of these days really soon you will be ready to ask Jesus to come into your life and be your Savior. Will you come back again and visit me really soon?”

Check Back With a Child Who Has Responded to the Gospel but Doesn’t Understand

At this point you can set a date in the future to check back with the child.   Note: I did NOT say that children must understand every fine point of Christian theology before being saved, but they do need to understand a few things. Those things are: what sin is, that they are sinners, who Jesus is and what he did, and what the Bible says about how to be saved. Until children understand these things and fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they are spiritually safe in the arms of God.

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