Last week a mom and missionary shared how to teach kids to overcome for the sake of the gospel. Read part two of her post on training children to recognize opportunities for sharing the gospel and encouraging a lifestyle of readiness to serve Jesus.
The next lesson that the Lord had to teach me was that my children do not naturally recognize “gospel opportunities.”
In February of this year, we went on a family vacation. Before leaving, a young couple in our church handed each of our daughters a fifty-dollar bill and challenged them to use it to share the love of Jesus with others during their travels. We dubbed it “The Gospel Challenge.”
Being a bit of an overbearing mother, I determined that I would not intrude. I prayed faithfully every day that the Holy Spirit would enable each of my girls to meet their task. Day after day, nothing happened. Opportunities were going by unnoticed.
I began to get a little anxious and wondered if this experiment was going to be an absolute failure. I started to ask God what to do. A particular phrase settled in my mind: “… and have their senses trained …” (Heb. 5:14).
It suddenly dawned on me that my children need to be trained to see and hear openings for the gospel. My stomach sank at the realization of my failure. What a lesson to learn so late! Nonetheless, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has revealed this while there is still time to work at correction.
Rather than blindly going about our days, we are beginning to train our girls to be watchful for open doors for the gospel. We are teaching them to observe body language and actions that tell much about what may be going on inside an individual.
We are coaching them to listen to people, as their words reveal the contents of their hearts (Matt. 15:18). They can gather this information and then start to ask questions.
A Lifestyle of Gospel Readiness
We have begun to teach gospel awareness primarily within the context of our home. As our girls encounter various difficulties and troubles with their sisters and occasionally with visiting friends, we delight in directing them to God’s Word for counsel.
As they grow in their knowledge and understanding of the truth, they will be able to apply it to these opportunities on their own. Sometimes we teach this by dissecting quandaries we have encountered or by pausing a movie we are watching.
We discuss observable “gospel-clues” and whether or not the situations are being handled appropriately. We are very careful not to take on a condemning attitude. Rather, we are setting our girls up to recognize the openings that the Lord brings to us as heralds of good news and to act accordingly.
Perhaps raising up the next generation of missionaries isn’t as overwhelming as the enemy would have me believe. “Making the best use of the time” (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5) is the training goal we keep in view as we develop mission-mindedness in our children.
Practice a lifestyle of gospel readiness and awareness with your children that will prepare them to do the same. The Word of God in text, in flesh, and in power is the solution to the universal problem of sin and the trouble it causes.
If your children have been properly equipped with an understanding of God’s Word and have had their senses trained to distinguish the need, then they will be able to fulfill the calling God has on their lives. His grace will supply their every need as they go wherever He should lead them—just as He does for me!
For resources to provide your children with a global vision and equip them to serve Jesus, check out the Heroic Life Discipleship Curriculum, which includes lessons on countries around the world, inviting kids to step outside the limits of their own lives and explore what God is doing across the globe.