The Salvation Experience is one of the most important things we can pass unto our children. Passing our faith from one generation to the next is vital. Salvation is at the epicenter.
I believe parents are the spiritual leaders in the lives of their children, but does that mean we don’t provide opportunities in our children’s services for kids to respond and receive Jesus as their Lord?
I believe we need to do both, provide resources for parents and opportunities for kids.
So, as a leader it is important that we train our team how we want altar calls and salvation to be handled in our services, not left up to chance. I am a firm believer in training all of my team members to know how to present an altar call and how to screen and lead children in the prayer of salvation.
“I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
I believe that God designed childhood to be a time to receive salvation. Children’s hearts are open and moldable and receptive. Children are naturally believers. If you tell a child to look out the window at the pink elephant, they will run to go see the pink elephant.
Children do not need to be coaxed, coerced, or pleaded with to receive. I have been in adult services, where the minister presented an altar call, a re-dedication call, a healing call, a forgive your brother call, and we waited and waited and well, you know what I mean. I believe when presenting salvation to children we should be clear, concise and direct, giving step, by step direction on what we want the children to do. How do we want them to respond.
Screening – What does that mean? Whenever I prayer with children that have responded, I always screen them. It is simply asking them why they came forward, why did they respond? They need to give some indication about wanting to be born again, or asking Jesus in their heart. The children that have already prayed the prayer of salvation, I have them go to one side of my prayer room. (The main reason I do this is because I don’t want children to leave with the feeling that Jesus leaves us and they need to ask Him back in their heart again. Jesus does not leave us.)
The prayer. For children that are responding for the first time, I let them know that this is the most important decision that they will ever make. They are choosing Jesus as their Lord and they are choosing Heaven. Then I make it simple, clear, direct.
“If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
“Dear God, I ask you to forgive me of sin. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. I ask Jesus to live in my heart. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
What do you do if someone has prayed the prayer of salvation? If someone has already prayed, I do two things. I reassure them that Jesus will not leave them. Once we ask Him in our heart He stays. We can choose to leave Him, but He doesn’t leave us – if we are following Him. Then I lead them in a prayer re-affirming their salvation.
“Father God, I thank you that Jesus lives in my heart. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse my heart. I love you and will live for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
What about children who keep responding week after week? Think about it. What are they doing? They are responding. Their heart is sensitive. As a Christian, I have been in services where the preacher gave an altar call that was so anointed, so inspiring and so compelling that I felt like running forward to receive. Did I need to get saved again? No, that was the Holy Spirit. I was experiencing the anointing.
This may happen more often with young children. They may not understand what is happening, but their heart is responding. So again, I don’t pray the prayer of salvation again with them, I lead them in a re-affirming prayer.
I hope this helps you as you lead your team. I do have these same guidelines in a condensed pdf that you can share with them.
THE SALVATION EXPERIENCE Guidelines