It’s the most exciting thing ever, but how do you talk about Salvation with your Kids? Read more to find out ideas and tips.
One day I was observing a kids’ rally at a summer VBS, and the speaker unintentionally gave an unclear call to respond. During the invitation, dozens of kids “responded” to salvation, thinking it was snack time! If there hadn’t been some discerning adults there to sort and redirect, we could have had a lot of false conversions that day.
That story is one of many that makes me realize how easy it is to persuade kids to say a salvation prayer. Many times, the “sinner’s prayer” is pushed on kids before they’re ready, or the gospel is presented to them as a way to go to heaven instead of hell. Unfortunately, professions of faith like these can lead to doubt or false confidence later.
Even though you want your kids to put their faith in Jesus, you are probably cautious about the issues mentioned above. When your child reaches an age where they begin asking questions about salvation, how can you thoroughly share truth with them without forcing them into a false profession?
Table of Contents
How to Talk About Salvation With Kids
1. Have conversations without expectations
We often want to present salvation to kids as a nicely packaged box of information, hoping they’ll listen to it and pray right away. You may be tempted to say, “Would you like to pray right now and ask Jesus to save you?” But this could pressure them into doing something they don’t really understand or honestly want to do.
As difficult as it is, wait for your kids to show interest in salvation on their own. Let them ask their questions, and provide your answers without demanding a commitment in return. If they don’t respond or their attention span runs out, move on to the next thing! Be willing to have short or infrequent conversations with no expectation of time, response, or frequency. You could share Scripture to answer their questions and say, “These are some verses for you to think about. You can talk with me again later if you have more questions.” If they initiate a conversation later, you’ll know it’s because THEY want to!
2. Ask open-ended questions to gauge understanding and sincerity
Imagine you sit down with a child to talk about what they want to be when they grow up, hoping they’ll become a firefighter. You show them pictures of cool fire trucks and firefighters dressed in uniforms. You tell inspirational stories about firefighters saving people. Then you ask, “Do you want to commit right now to being a firefighter one day?” You could probably convince just about any child to say yes to that. But when they get older and the novelty wears off, they may realize they don’t actually want to be a firefighter after all.
When we present salvation this way to kids, we get similar results. Rather than giving a promising sales pitch that demands an immediate response, ask them questions like “What do you think sin is?” “Who do you think Jesus was?” “Why do you think Jesus had to die?” Open-ended questions like these will help you gauge their understanding and sincerity. If they’re not ready to get saved yet, that’s OK! Continue to share Scripture with them and let God work in their heart.
3. Share the full beauty of the gospel
I like to say that salvation is SIMPLE but not EASY. While there are depths of salvation that theologians study and debate, the core principles of the gospel are simple enough for even a child to understand (Matthew 18:3). But even the most simple gospel presentation requires a challenging response because salvation means repenting of sin, trusting Christ as Savior, and committing to follow Him as Master. That’s a huge, life-long commitment!
When we present salvation as an easy prayer to go to heaven, we share a partial gospel that leaves out the cost of being a disciple (Luke 14:26–33). Don’t ask your kids if they want to “ask Jesus into their hearts.” This wording is never used in the Bible and can be very abstract and confusing to children. Instead, explain what salvation is, why it is necessary, and what accepting it means.
On a similar note, remember that you have the opportunity to parent in a manner that models the beauty of the gospel. Kids’ interest in what the Bible says may depend on what they see at home! In everyday life, show your kids their NEED for grace while also demonstrating what it feels like to RECEIVE that grace. Exemplify what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, and build your family’s values on the foundation of the gospel.
4. Show acceptance regardless of their response
A coerced decision is not an authentic decision. I remember praying a salvation prayer as a kid because I thought it would make other people happy. That led to a lot of doubt later on. When we talk to kids about salvation, our goal shouldn’t be for them to pray a prayer. Our goal should be for them to authentically place their faith in Jesus.
As you discuss salvation with your kids, help them understand that becoming a follower of Christ is their personal decision. You can’t and won’t make it for them, and they shouldn’t make it because of you. It can be heartbreaking when your kids hear the gospel over and over but don’t respond. However, as you talk with them, be careful not to show any frustration or desperation. Assure them that you love and accept them regardless of whether or not they immediately trust Christ.
5. Don’t assume you know what God is doing in their heart
Often, a child asks questions about salvation even though they already “prayed a prayer” when they were younger. One of the most dangerous things a parent could do in that situation is to try to convince a child that the child is already saved. Saying things like “I know you’re saved; I was there when you prayed” can give a child false confidence. You may think they’re saved (and maybe they are). But if THEY don’t think they’re saved, they need help finding assurance in God’s Word instead of in your opinion.
6. Rely on the Holy Spirit to do the work
This is the most crucial point because none of the other steps matter without it. It’s important to remember that the only one who can save your child is God, and the only one who can draw them to salvation is the Holy Spirit. Any amount of human coercion or pressure to “do” something to receive salvation will rarely result in authenticity or spiritual fruit. As difficult as it may be, ask God to help you allow the Holy Spirit to draw your child to salvation in HIS timing.
Resources for you
I’ll be honest—sharing the gospel with a child is one of the scariest things in the world to me! I want them to get saved, but I don’t want to be responsible for misleading them (Matthew 18:6). Maybe you feel the same. Even though you want to have gospel conversations with your children, it can be difficult knowing where to start or what to say. But the good news is we’ve made it easy for you! We wrote Rock of Salvation: The Foundation of a Christian Life to teach kids what salvation is, why they need it, and how it can change their lives. This study gives them a thorough explanation of salvation without pressuring them to respond, and it would be a great resource to help you begin discussing salvation with them. And when your child has made a profession of faith, we’ve created “I Have Decided“, a Bible study on exercising your faith.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.