3 ways to help your child embrace the Great Commission

3 ways to help your child embrace the Great Commission

What do you remember about the day you brought your children home from the hospital? 

I’m (99 percent) sure you didn’t think about the war you just stepped into. But each baby placed into your care was an arrow.

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.” 
Psalm 127:4 (ESV)

You were given future warriors to train for battle. Biblical parenting is possibly the greatest mission you’ll ever be given. 

Those tiny mouths you wipe (and the bigger ones you may occasionally wash out with soap) are mouths our God will use to silence the enemy.

“Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies, 
to silence the foe and the avenger.” 
Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

The strongest defense against the lies of the enemy is an army sharing the good news. But if your enemy knows what your strongest weapon is, that’s where he targets his strongest counter-measures. 

So, maybe you could use a little strategy session as you plan for sharpening your arrows and preparing your children to engage in the great combat — that is, the Great Commission. 

Gather around for a little intelligence briefing. From one warrior-mom to another, here’s a little of what I’ve learned.

PK-Elem {Code Word: Share}

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” 
Romans 10:15 (NASB)

The single-digit years are full of opportunities to involve your child as you share your faith. Your child is the most willing to participate they’ll ever be. 

Since you likely have many activities to involve them in — instead of a list of more ideas — here’s inside intel on building a strong foundation to support those efforts.

Strategy: Motto Bootcamp

Every branch of service has a motto. New recruits recite it often, proclaiming the underlying principles of their unit. Here’s the overarching belief to instill in your children during this foundational period:

It’s God’s job to save. 
It’s our job to share.

Use these years to instill confidence in God’s power. If their courage is based on HIS Word, they will be less frightened by the inadequacies of their own words. 

This will be mission-critical as they grow into adolescents.

Training Tools

1- A Battle Cry that rhymes

Children love rhymes, so here’s one to use:

It’s up to me to care. 
It’s up to me to share. 
But it’s up to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
To take it from there.

2- The Salvation Poem

The Pocket Testament League’s Salvation Poem features another child-friendly rhyme. Get the MOST benefit out of this not-so- secret weapon:

A- Read the Verses from the Bible. 
On the back page, find the Scriptures that correspond to each phrase in the booklet. Read these verses from the Bible so your child connects the fun pictures and catchy phrases to powerful truth from God’s Word. 

B- Read the introduction about Helen Cadbury. 
The story of how she and her friends knew that others just needed to hear The Word is intriguing. 

C- Let your child carry and share. 
Who knows who they’ll give it to! God works in mysterious ways and He loves to use children.

3- A Verse with Vision (Rom. 10:15)

You can this verse and then make quips about pretty feet every time your child hands out a Gospel. Children latch on to visual images like this. 

Use it also to cement in your child’s mind that they can only be responsible for their part: feet that carry the Good News.

Adolescents {Code Word: Serve}

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” 
John 3:30 (ESV)

This stage is a roller coaster ride. The taller they grow, the shorter you will get on your knees in prayer for your children

They begin searching for significance and you’ll battle all that the world and their friends tell them is the source for their identity. They’ll suddenly begin to notice all they “don’t have.” 

I’ve been there. And I testify that you will get through this. 

So let’s combine a morale booster with a forward march in the Great Commission.

Guiding Verse

The verse for this stage took root within my own adolescent son. I’m not certain when he zeroed in on it, but he did. And this Word was active and living within him. 

This Scripture is especially applicable to this stage, cutting through all the lies swirling around your child during this time. 

Point them to it often and pray it over them constantly.

Strategy: Outreach Opportunities

Serving others will both put things in perspective for your child and give him a sense of purpose. 

If your church doesn’t have an outreach program, check with food pantries and similar ministries supported by other churches or faith-based nonprofits. 

By choosing to partner with faith-based efforts, you’ll likely be serving in arenas where talking about faith has been sanctioned, or at least is tolerated. 

At this stage, most pre-teens are hypersensitive to what others think. Recognize this as a stage and work within these parameters. Find safe places to serve where you can also help them grow their witness.

Training Tools

Prepare your child to share while serving. PTL Gospels are perfect for this step. 

Here are few suggestions for how to use the Gospels to both engage and prepare your child.

1- Read through a Gospel together

If you haven’t been using PTL materials and you’re beginning this process with a reluctant adolescent, see if your church will incorporate a walk-through the Gospel as part of a Sunday School or youth ministry small group.

2- Let your child choose the cover(s) to order

Seek your child’s opinion on what they think are the best cover options for the service opportunities you’ve chosen. 

Sit with them and look at the PTL resources page together. Ask for their thoughts on different covers and get them to tell you what they like or don’t like. Give them a budget and let them follow through the entire order process. 

Ownership. It’s a powerful thing at this age. 

And remember, it’s a Gospel ~ there are no bad decisions.

Practice Drills

Finally, practice what to say or how to present the Gospel as a gift. Keep it casual. 

Reinforce the concept covered above: it’s simply an act of obedience. God will take it from there. 

You may need to model giving it as a gift during a few service sessions before your child will be ready to hand it out themselves. 

If your child is still reluctant, try this: 
Before going to serve, ask your child to place the Gospel(s) in THEIR pocket. When the opportunity arises to share, YOU do the talking and then turn to your child to pull out the Gospel and present it.

Squad: Teens {Code Word: Send}

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes …” 
Romans 1:16 (ESV)

Let’s begin by acknowledging that parenting teens is not for the faint of heart. This is where the war often rages. Don’t lose hope. The groundwork you are laying will NOT be in vain, but it may take time for you to see the tide turn.

Marching Orders: I am not ashamed

Romans 1:16 guides our efforts for this age: I am not ashamed. 

At this stage, you still battle the enemy’s neutralizing ploy of peer approval. This verse is as much a guide for your tactics as it is for your child’s heart. 

Ask God to show you how to help your child NOT be ashamed of the Gospel and simultaneously FILLED with the awareness of its power. 

Before a teen is willing to share and be “sent,” they must first be “not ashamed.” And preparation for “going into all the world,” is best accomplished by “going into THEIR world.”

Strategy 1: Connect with power-filled Gospel “send-ees”

In Parents’ Guide to the Spiritual Mentoring of Teens1, there’s a list of “Seven Ways to Help your Teen Become a World Changer.” The first item on this list is this: 

“Invite people who are pursuing God’s vision into your home. Ask them questions about what God is doing around them.” 

This is a macro strategy that casts a vision for both “sending” and for going out in courage. When you connect your teen with “send-ees,” your child will hear stories of God going before the individual to prepare the way. 

They’ll hear of the life-changing power of the Gospel in both the recipient and the messenger. 

Be the first to sign up to host missionaries in your home and keep an eye out for camps, conferences, or adult mission trips that you and your child can do together.

Strategy 2: Create a plan that mentors your child to go into the middle of their friends

This is the micro strategy that helps your child put what you’ve taught into practice while still in your home.

1- Discuss

Talk with your teen about their friends and identify one or more whom they believe is not saved and is someone they may be called to witness to.

2- Plan

Craft a plan with your child for inviting those unsaved friends to strategic events. Set a budget to fund whatever is needed to make this happen within your means. 

This may include church events or things you plan individually. 

There are some high-quality Christian movies in theaters. One month the budget might include a few movie tickets, with snacks back at your house afterward. Another month the budget might allow for renting a movie and serving pizza in your home. 

Here are three movies recommendations:

  • The Case for Christ (currently in theaters; releasing on DVD July 2017) 2

  • God’s Not Dead (1 and 2 are on DVD. 3 will be out Spring 2018) 3

  • I’m Not Ashamed (on DVD) 4

3- Follow through

Continue the conversation with your child about the friends and their responses to events or messages. 

Gently guide your child to taking the next step of saying something to share their faith. If they are hesitant, ask them why and let them talk through their fears. Offer to pray with them and let them know you’re praying for them. 

Suggest they use a PTL Gospel to start the conversation. I especially like the “Who’s in Control?” cover for teens. Check it out and see what I mean.

Never Surrender!

Whatever you do or however it progresses at any stage, hang in there, mom and dad. 

Remember how this post opened? There’s a reason I reminded you that this is a battle. If you are committed to training your child to embrace the Great Commission, EXPECT the great combat in the process. 

But always remember this: it’s a battle worth standing in. 
And really, that’s all YOU are called to do: stand. Your Commander-Creator will take it from there.

1 Focus on the Family Parents’ Guide to Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. 
2 http://caseforchristmovie.pureflix.com/ 
3 http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/ 
4 https://imnotashamedfilm.com/

Written by Christi Gee

Christi Gee writes and speaks so others know they aren’t alone. As the mother of three launched children, she has written many parenting articles filled with hope for those coming behind. She also teaches on seeking God’s will and writes about faith through the challenges in life. You can find her at ChristiGee.com and from there connect on all major social media channels.

A Godly Mother’s Highest Honor

A Godly Mother’s Highest Honor

National Day of Prayer: Sharing God's Word today.

National Day of Prayer: Sharing God's Word today.