spiritual-dots2

Connecting Spiritual Dots – Part 1: Say What?!

Leadership / Spiritual Formation //

When a child believes that Christ is who the Bible says he is, it changes everything. How do I know? My own story as a child is one of untold millions.

To put it mildly, I was born into a home that was skeptical of God. Faith was dismissed. Church was irrelevant. My family was familiar with the name “Jesus” but it didn’t matter in daily life. By God’s hand, I experienced a big shift on multiple fronts when I was eight years old. My mother and I moved to a new town, I started a new school, and I was enrolled in a church’s afterschool program. My mom, an atheist at the time, would have turned tail and ran if she realized it was an outreach ministry! It was in this start-up children’s ministry that I first heard the gospel shared clearly. My initial reaction was disbelief, “Say What?! Could these stories from God’s Word about His Son, my sin and the gift of salvation really be true?” Questions flooded my mind and poured into the room week after week. I’m so grateful that Mrs. Anderson’s patience level with us kids stayed on par with her passion for sharing the gospel. My life, and my family’s trajectory, was changed forever because one kid-influencer spoke the gospel clearly to help me connect spiritual dots between what the Bible says and who Christ is.

Did you know that God can use you can be part of experiences like this too? Whether you serve children at home, church, school, or somewhere in between, you can communicate the gospel with words (and actions) that challenge kids to respond to Jesus for themselves. Here are four questions and verses that will remind you to speak clearly and help kids connect spiritual dots.

1. What?! Aren’t there lots of ways to get to heaven?

The perception that many roads lead to God is a common view in our culture. Families don’t have great answers for kids so they often send them to church to sort it out. While you could get into elaborate explanations of all religions, you could just as easily share the words of Jesus. In John 14:6 Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s not an easy truth to accept, but that doesn’t make it false. Let God’s Spirit lead kids to wrestle with the Lord’s very words on the matter.

2. Who?! Is there someone who can help me know God?

Ask kids what they think of God; they will tell you. Many will say he is perfectly good and lives on a cloud in the sky somewhere. And, they will talk about trying to get to him for one reason or another. It’s human nature, however sinful, to long to be reunited with our Creator. When children start asking “Who?” questions, talk about the only “Who” that really matters. Speaking of Jesus, his follower Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

3. Why?! Does it really matter what I think about Jesus?

Christ was direct with people he met. He wanted to know if they were for or against him because his identity as God was important. Kids generally love listening to Bible stories about Jesus walking on water, healing the sick, and rising from the dead. But remember, hearing them or reading them is not the same as believing them! Philippians 2:9-11 shares the big “Why” when it comes to Christ: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Everyone, without exception, will one day face the truth about Jesus’ identity.

4. How?! If I want to follow Jesus, what step do I take?

Answering the question about how to follow Jesus is where things get unclear fast. Some people talk about choosing, doing, earning and so on. Others use picturesque metaphors to aid kids in understanding how God cleans people’s hearts or comes to live inside them. Sometime such explanations make sense, but it’s not what Scripture says. Simply bring things back around to a verse like Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Obviously this is more than intellectual knowledge. It’s heart transforming to the core and impacts everything – thoughts, emotions, actions, relationships, and more over the course of a lifetime!

The next time kids in your sphere of influence look at you with a “Say what?!” expression on their face or ask similar questions, you can help them connect spiritual dots between what the Bible says and who Christ is. You can share the gospel clearly by speaking words that come right out of the pages of God’s Word about his Son. It’s important for you to know that the gospel is more than what’s said; it’s also the example you set by how you live. But, the clearer you can be with your words, the easier it is for kids to get their questions answered and connect spiritual dots so they can believe in Jesus Christ for themselves.

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About the Author

Dan Lovaglia | Awana® Director of New Ministries & Parent Engagement As Director of New Ministries and Parent Engagement at Awana, Dan Lovaglia and the team he leads are finding fresh ways to equip kids, families and ministry leaders to know, love and serve Christ. He brings 15 years of discipleship ministry experience to the table and a passion for life-changing teaching, training and team-building. Dan and his wife Kate live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with their two fantastic middle-school-age sons and dog Wrigley. Follow Dan’s adventures on Twitter and Instagram @DanLovaglia.