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.
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. Here's a picture of one of the families.
Example of Testimony Sheet Kids Write Out
More About Starting Line