So much of everyday life is passed on from one generation to another. In the simple things of life we pass on ways and habits. Think of how you do the dishes or if you make the bed immediately upon crawling out (or not!), how you cross the street when walking the kids to school. Do you cross at the lights or with a crossing guard, or do you dash quickly across the busy streets because you are in a hurry? How we drive and what is said about others while on the road passes on to the next generation all kinds of thoughts as to how we act, how we treat others and how we respond in times of stress or busyness. Even how we engage a stranger on the street is a lesson being taught to those impressionable young minds who are with us. They watch and listen, paying attention to our every word, move and motion.
As adults, parents and leaders, do we engage the stranger in a manner much like Jesus would have done? Do we engage in conversations about the weather, the price of gas, or do we choose to go more personal, asking them how their day is going? Would we dare to even take time to comment about the spiritual things of life, believing that the Holy Spirit will guide our conversation as we simply open our mouths and choose to be His vessel that He can use.
Recently, a 10 year old girl at church asked me in the set-up time for our Sunday School class when we were going to teach again on how to share our faith with others. Interested in her question and the reason for it, I asked her why she was inquiring. “Well, I go to a Christian school, and I don’t get much of a chance to share about Jesus with kids at my school. I want to make sure I am ready”, she responded, “for when I meet up with someone my age who doesn’t know Jesus. I want to get it right!”
That beautiful response that day got me thinking. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having a scripted speech. But it is about knowing what God’s Word says about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus. It is about understanding sin, recognizing and acknowledging it. It is also about understanding forgiveness, and being humble enough to acknowledge it and ask for forgiveness. It is about obedience and sacrifice, realizing that having a relationship with Christ is the most important thing we could ever do with our lives. I began the mental checklist, ensuring that as a church we were preparing our children to understand the steps to faith in Christ, not only for their own sake, but so they were also prepared to share it with others. We tackled learning the Roman’s Road— those key verses in the book of Romans that walk a person through the steps to faith in Christ. We set the verses to rhythms and songs so Scripture could be easily memorized. In just a few weeks’ time, kids were telling me of how they were sharing the songs with friends at school, teaching them they key principles to faith in Christ through those catchy songs.
When children are young, we prepare them in countless ways for all that they will face and encounter as they grow and mature and spread their wings. In the book, Before You Say Goodbye, you will find “HERO” stories of those in their young adult years who are doing incredible things for God, sharing their faith everywhere they go. On page 9, Laura Bronson shares the story of how she began “Keep It Real” because she had a passion to share about Jesus in creative ways. Years ago she was the young kid who came to our local PAOC church, skateboard in hand, and nobody really knew what to do with her. She had tons of energy. She was creative. She was an outside-the-box thinker. She loved graffiti. Today, Laura travels and speaks to hundreds of youth annually. Check out what she does at www.ikeepitreal.ca. Laura has determined that sharing about her faith in Christ is what she does… rain or shine, east or west, daytime or night. Bible in one hand and skateboard in the other, Laura continuously looks for the kid standing alone, or seeks to draw a crowd to challenge the next generation to consider having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As parents, teachers and pastors, we impart the Truth of God’s Word into young lives, and we don’t always see where it goes, or how it sounds. Sometimes we hear back. Recently, after a long and hard day, I received one of those encouraging e-mails. You know the kind! The ones where you sit, read and realize that all that is being taught at home and in church is getting into the heart and mind of a younger generation… and they are taking it with them wherever they go. Here’s the e-mail:
Hannah has some exciting news to share with you on Wednesday night, but to give you a little heads up, Hannah's class has been discussing celebrations and traditions and today Hannah presented her choice of celebration to her class. She chose Easter. I made sure she discussed the meaning of Easter and that it isn't all about chocolate, bunnies, etc. She wanted to take her God’s Not Dead CD from your kids’ musical with her to school. She played “God’s Not Dead” and “We Believe” for her class as part of her presentation. The gospel message couldn’t have been any clearer! Isn't that exciting! She may have spread the gospel message to a few children who might not have heard about God before, or Jesus Christ for that matter. She was excited to come home and tell me all about her presentation and how well it went!
I know she’ll tell you all about it. I told her you would be happy to hear what she did! I was proud of her. She was a little unsure about whether she should share about her faith with her class. She thought her teacher may not like it. I told her she's not there to preach, but rather she's there to explain the meaning of why Easter is important to her and to us as a family.
Thank you to you, and to our church family for all you do to help instill faith in the hearts of my children. May God continue to bless you!
Let’s be intentional in doing all we can to plant seeds of faith deep into the lives of a younger generation. Let’s pray that God would provide opportunities for them to share boldly of their faith in Christ. Let’s disciple them well, and release them to share the Truth of God’s Word and the gospel message with their generation, in the places where they meet. Jesus may not be taught in our public school system, but He does show up there every day in the lives of children who take Him to school. And who knows, they may even be given a chance to talk about Him!
Check out “The Way of the Master For Kids: Teaching Kids How To Share Their Faith”. Available at www.Wordcom.ca