This month in our elementary environment, we've been exploring salvation - God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus, and if we believe in Him we can receive the best gift ever...salvation!
We made Conversation Cue Cards (based on resources from Orange and North Point) to help give parents a script of how they can talk to their kids about the topic. We also made a bookmark for the kids to remind them of what salvation is.
With my kids, I thought that all these resources are helpful for when they are ready, but how do you if and when they are ready to accept Christ?
Here's a few things I've noticed and believe with my kids about the topic of salvation.
I have to remember they're only just kids! I can't expect them to be able to verbalize salvation the way I am able to. Jesus said to have faith like a child. I don't know about your kids, but mine ask questions about EVERYTHING all day long. When our children come to salvation we have to remember, it doesn't mean they're going to have everything worked out. Do you as an adult have God and His plan completely figured out? Our kids are going to ask a ton of questions along the way while they're thinking though salvation daily and how it works. We can spend a lifetime seeking to understand God and He will remain a mystery.
I don't see in the Bible where age is an issue in salvation. Yes, they have to grasp the concept and want salvation, but they don't have to be a particular age. Our Emma was 6 when she prayed to receive Christ. Her younger sister, Ava, was 4 at the time. She could articulate salvation, and she said she was ready to pray to receive Christ. We kept putting her off because we worried she was too young. Finally, after several weeks of asking Ava said, "Why don't you want me to go to heaven with all of you???" Good question. She had the desire and the basic knowledge. I couldn't hold her back because of her age.
There's also many churches who have a policy about the age a child needs to be baptized. For me, I believe that would be confusing for a child. Telling a child to wait a couple of years because we're "waiting to see if it sticks" gives children the impression that the first time they prayed to receive Christ may not have been good enough. If they're old enough pray to receive Christ, they're old enough to be baptized. For kids under the age of 9 who are still concrete thinkers, baptism is an excellent visual for them to help them fully understand what salvation means.
Here's a couple of activities from the North Point curriculum we've been using that exhibits to kids what Christ did for us with salvation. They would be so easy to do with your kids at home during Easter!
1. Jesus and our Sin
Supplies: 3 glass jars marked "Jesus" with bleach and water, "Sin" with iodine and water, "You" with water
Script: This dirty water is like our sin. Sin is whenever we do something that we know we shouldn’t do. And the terrible thing is that we are ALL going to do things that are wrong. (Pull out the water jar labeled “YOU”). No matter how hard we try, unfortunately, we ALL sin.
(Pick up the iodine jar and start to pour it into the jar labeled YOU so that so that the water turns black. Pour the iodine continuously and slowly, so it’s clear that these are all examples of sin (we are sinful, period) not to imply that sins are cumulative.)
If we do something that our parents told us not to do… that’s sin. Whenever I tell a lie… that’s sin. Whenever you take something that doesn’t belong to you… that’s sin. Whenever we’re mean to someone… that’s sin. Whenever we do something that GOD tells us not to do… THAT is sin.
And here’s the deal… our heart is so full of sin that there is NO WAY we can get it clean by ourselves. I can’t get my heart clean and you can’t get your heart clean. And that means we have a big problem. We ALL have a sin problem.
Now, our problem just gets worse. Because, you see, God… he has NEVER sinned. He is perfect. He has never done anything wrong. His heart is perfectly clean. There isn’t even one tiny dot of sin. God is perfect, and we are not, so our sin… it keeps us separated from God.
We have a sin problem. But because God loved us, God had a plan – a plan to take our sin problem away.
But Jesus did not stay dead and buried in the tomb. No way! Jesus rose from the grave. He is alive! He beat, he conquered, death! So when Jesus died on the cross FOR us (pour liquid from JESUS jar into YOU jar) and God raised Jesus from the dead, God forgave our sin! (YOU jar should now be clear and you can hold it up). God forgave us!
Trying to be perfect and follow rules and always be good wouldn’t take our sin problem away. We needed a Savior. So God gave us Jesus to be our Savior.
(Pour more iodine into YOU jar) And no matter how hard we try, we still can’t be perfect. We will still disobey and yell at our sister, and talk bad about our friends. (Jar should still be clear) And we’re still forgiven because God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus.
That’s what Easter is all about! That’s what we believe! That’s why we celebrate today! God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus to take care of our sin problem!
2. Jesus Wipes our Sin Away
Supplies: Styrofoam plate, washable black marker, washable red marker, wipe
Script: (Ask your child to draw a picture of a heart on their plate with the red marker.)
What sin is? Sin is whatever we say or do that is not what God would want for us. When we lie, when we don’t obey our parents, when we take something from our brother, or we say unkind things about others; all of these things create sin in our hearts.
(Have the kids write these things on their hearts in black.) So, what do we do about this sin in our heart? We can’t do anything. But, God already did something.
What did He do? Right. He gave us Jesus!
What does that mean? He gave us Jesus to take away our sin problem. Wow. That means that we can take this cloth and wipe our hearts clean, because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
(Have them wipe away the black words in the center of the heart) Isn’t that amazing? That’s Easter, and that’s what we believe.