When you hear the phrase child evangelism, what comes to mind? Images of little ones attending Vacation Bible School? Memories of a Bible teacher sharing the gospel during a Sunday school class?
For most people, child evangelism involves scenarios where adults are telling children about God. And this is a good thing.
When I think of that phrase, however, I picture children telling other children about God. And this is a great thing.
Too often, churches consider younger generations to be “the church of tomorrow” and fail to realize the implication of this statement. “Tomorrow” equals “not now.” I believe that children are our church now and, therefore, are valuable members of the body. We are raising a generation of people who can, right now, be doing the work of an evangelist.
When we equip children to share the gospel with their peers, we also create a powerful expectation in them—the expectation that the grace they have been given must be given away. I call it an expectation for lifelong obedience to the Great Commission.
Photo: Rick DeGirolomo. Simple silicone bracelets in five colors become a tool that any child—or adult—can use to communicate the gospel with friends.
The gospel story is simple—so simple that a child can understand it . . . and tell it. In our ministry, we took several important steps to ensure that this would take place and have had wonderful results. Briefly, here’s our story:
During our Resurrection Sunday worship services this past year, we brought all the children forward and told them the story of God using the “Wordless Book” framework1, which utilizes colors to highlight the crucial concepts of the gospel.
We gave each child two silicone wristbands incorporating these colors, with the instruction to give one to a friend and tell them the story of God when they do. As a result, the gospel was shared more than 600 times by children, some actually leading friends to Christ. One of our fifth-grade girls reported, “I wasn’t sure how to tell my friend about Jesus, and I don’t think I would have told my friend about Him, but when she asked about my bracelet I did—and she prayed with me!”
We had also prompted parents and several other adults in the church to help with follow up: Whenever they saw a child wearing only one wristband, they asked to hear his or her story of giving the second one away. We taught them that they were obeying Jesus’ Great Commission when they told His story. More importantly, the children had great experiences evangelizing and continued to tell God’s story even when the wristbands ran out.
I get excited when I see our children making important strides in their spiritual journeys and will continue to search for ways to help them connect the principles of discipleship with their everyday lives. Because these children are the church of today.