Leaders! One of the greatest privileges of serving at SummerJAM is helping children become members of God’s family. Pray for the children you teach and ask God to prepare them to understand and receive the good news about Jesus. Ask God to give you the sensitivity and wisdom you need to communicate effectively and to be aware of opportunities that occur naturally.
Because children are easily influenced to follow the group, be cautious about asking for group decisions. Offer opportunities to talk and pray individually with any child who expresses interest in becoming a member of God’s family—but without pressure. A good way to guard against coercing a child to respond is to simply ask, “Would you like to hear more about this now or at another time?”
When talking about salvation with children, use words and phrases they understand; never assume they understand a concept just because they can repeat certain words. Avoid symbolic terms (“born again,” “ask Jesus to come into your heart,” “open your heart,” etc.) that will confuse these literal-minded thinkers.
1. God wants you to become His child. Why do you think He wants you in His family? (See 1 John 3:1.)
2. You and I and every person in the world have done wrong things. The Bible word for doing wrong is “sin.” What do you think should happen to us when we sin? (See Romans 6:23.)
3. God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross to take the punishment for your sin. Because Jesus never sinned, He is the only One who can take the punishment for your sin. On the third day after Jesus died, God brought Him back to life. (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 John 4:14.)
4. Are you sorry for your sin? Tell God that you are. Do you believe Jesus died for your sin and then rose again? Tell Him that, too. If you tell God you are sorry for your sin and believe that Jesus died to take your sin away, God forgives you. (See 1 John 1:9.)Â
5. The Bible says that when you believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He is alive today, you receive God’s gift of eternal life. This gift makes you a child of God. This means God is with you now and forever. (See John 1:12; 3:16.)
There is great value in encouraging a child to think and pray about what you have said before responding. Encourage the child who makes a decision to become a Christian to tell his or her parents. Give your pastor and the child’s Sunday School teacher(s) his or her name. A child’s initial response to Jesus is just the beginning of a lifelong process of growing in the faith, so children who make decisions need to be followed up to help them grow.Â
*Taken from Gospel Light's VBS leaders guide