When it comes to faith decisions for children and just how crucial children’s ministry is, the matter is often one of life and death. It’s easy for us to expect children to live full lives, to never go through loss or trauma, and to stay innocent and protected until they grow up to be adults. But the reality is, life is unpredictable and tomorrow is never promised to either of us. We can’t guarantee anything for children, but we can introduce them to the One who can.
Jesus is the only One who can help children go through hard times, provide healing after loss, and give kids a peace that will sustain them through life and death. When you teach kids how to have a relationship with God, you provide them with hope for the future—whether that future is on earth or in Heaven.
Teach Kids the Benefits of Knowing God
Salvation decisions are about more than just accepting Jesus into your heart. It’s a matter of life and death, while great benefits come with knowing God. Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” What are these benefits? Let’s consider three of them and just how vital they are for helping kids go through anything.
1. Freedom from Sin and Death
When Sarah hosted a CEF Christmas Party Club for non-Christian families for the first time last year, fourteen-year-old Jamid caught her attention. He was a great helper; gathering the children, watching them to ensure they behaved well, and helping to give out gifts. Throughout the party and in the months after, Sarah prayed Jamid would accept Jesus as his Savior. However, in May, he suddenly experienced severe pain in his legs. The doctor’s diagnosis was bone cancer—terminal bone cancer. Come June, “day camp” of that year was held at his home so Jamid could participate, and while he lay on the sofa listening to the lesson, Jamid believed in Jesus as his Savior. Although doctors say he will likely die from the cancer, Jamid still has hope knowing that he has eternal life in Jesus!
As Verse 4 of Psalms 103 says, God “redeems your life from the pit…” Jesus broke the power of sin and death when He died on the cross for our sins. When children believe in Jesus as their Savior, they don’t have to fear death because they will have eternal life with God in the perfect place He has prepared for them. In both life and death, we are free because of Jesus.
2. A Place in God’s Forever Family
Leah’s life changed when she found out her Mom was expecting a baby, that new baby was diagnosed with special needs, and her stepdad was deployed to Iraq. But that’s also when she began attending a CEF Good News Club®, and for three years she enjoyed singing about Jesus, learning Bible verses, and letting those scriptural truths penetrate her soul. “Will you pray for Mom?” was often her prayer request as things at home continued to spiral downhill—especially after her stepdad returned home with severe PTSD. Then, the unthinkable happened. Leah’s stepdad killed her mom and then himself in a tragic murder-suicide. When faced with incredible tragedy and loss, Leah knew she could turn to God for help to go through it.
Psalm 103, Verse 3 tells us God forgives all your sin. When children believe in Jesus as their Savior, their sins are forgiven, and they become part of God’s forever family. The Bible tells us neither life, death, or anything in between can separate us from God once we’ve joined that forever family. No matter what might happen to our earthly family, or what sins we—or others—might commit, we can always find forgiveness and a loving home in God. With Him, we are never alone.
3. The Strength to Go Through Anything
Jim listened as the news reported yet another shooting. Four had been killed, with an eleven-year-old girl who had been shot multiple times as the lone survivor. When asked by detectives how she survived, she told them she played dead and prayed. “Who taught her to pray,” Jim wondered. None of the articles mentioned a church. Later, he found out this girl had been attending a CEF Good News Club® since she was nine. There, Mrs. Pam taught her about the one true God, how much He loves her, and how He listens when we pray to Him. In the midst of this terrible, unspeakable wrong, this girl knew she could turn to a God who cares for her to help her go through it.
Psalm 103, Verse 4 goes on to say that God “crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” God cares deeply for His children, and kids should know they are loved by God. He is always with them and can help them go through anything, even in the toughest times. No matter where we are or what we go through, God listens to us when we pray to Him and promises to stay by our side.
Knowing God is Life and Death
Kids can learn to stand strong in their faith when you teach them the benefits of knowing God. One way you can do this is by regularly and audibly thanking God that you have eternal life with Him, that your sins are forgiven and you’re part of God’s forever family, and that He cares for you and will help you go through even your darkest moments. Encourage kids to pray these things as well and instill gratitude in their hearts for these truths. The more they believe them, the more they will feel encouraged to call upon God and the benefits there are to knowing Him, right when they need His help the most.
Unexpected things happen in life. But when children learn to trust God, they can go through anything when they know Who to turn to in difficult times. Let’s treat teaching kids about the gospel and the benefits to knowing God as the matter of life and death it is. For more stories about the lives of children impacted by knowing God, check out our free IMPACT Magazine at cefonline.com/impact.