I'm cutting into my study time to write this short post. Perhaps it will speak to someone who wrestles with the same truth.
It's VBS time in southern America. If you are not of the typical church culture, that stands for Vacation Bible School, which is a 5-day opportunity churches take to teach children of all ages truths from the Bible. Our church is particularly adept at creative ways of teaching. I admire how our teachers can do so much with so little.
Day 4 of the typical VBS week is evangelism day. Someone, often the pastor, sits down with the older children and shares the truth of the gospel, which has been emphasized all week long in the classroom teaching. The evangelist is there to reap a harvest brought on by all the seed-sowing efforts of those great teachers.
This is where I wrestle. This is where I have always wrestled. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” So we know we can guide these little ones to him. And we can conclude (not assume) that a child can believe. But how do we present the gospel in a clear and meaningful way? How do we avoid making "churchians" versus Christians?
First, I am grateful for the Holy Spirit. It is His work to convict of sin and righteousness and judgment. It is not mine. It is His work to show the children their lostness and illuminate their hearts to understand the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation.
That being said, I still tremble at the task of child evangelism. I know many, many people who have "believed" as a child, only to repent and truly believe later.
Today I had the help of two great workers. We acted out the gospel message, using as our main prop Evangecube's "Big Cube." It's a great tool, when used right. I quizzed the children at the close to see how many got the message right. Their answers were on target. Their readiness? I'm reluctant to declare them "saved."
I'm persuaded that some who listened today have already come to Jesus. I am equally persuaded that others will come to Jesus in time. But I did not and cannot be so persuasive as to coerce them into the church culture without the inward change that only Christ Jesus brings through the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit.
Some say never evangelize children. I think we need to leave that up to the Holy Spirit--especially in light of Jesus' command mentioned above.