I echo this observation that Starr Meade makes in her article, “Evangelism Starts at Home”:
My consistent experience has been that children raised in Christian homes and Christian churches do not clearly understand the gospel. Yet it is the gospel God uses to save people of whatever age. Our church children, like everyone else, must understand the gospel. Lest you think I expect too much of children’s capabilities, try asking the same children about their favorite sport or computer game. You may have to fish a little and you will need to use vocabulary they understand, but they will answer your questions in intricate detail. Why are our churches’ children so incapable of explaining the basics of the gospel? My observation is that Christian parents tend to assume that Christianity will sort of “rub off” on their children. They sign their children up for formal instruction in computer, sports, or music, and, in many cases, they insist that their children spend time practicing these disciplines. When it comes to Christian truth, however, we fail to provide our children with the deliberate, thorough instruction they receive for other things…
When it comes to evangelizing our children, I suggest that the best thing http://blog.childrendesiringgod.org/wp-admin/post-new.phpwe can do is to provide diligent, systematic teaching, both of redemption history (Bible stories) and doctrinal truth (what God meant to communicate through those stories). It will take years to evangelize children through such involved teaching—but then, God entrusts them to us for years, doesn’t he? Great trees require years to grow, but they stand strong, resistant, and fruitful through decades.
She then makes a case for teaching a “catechism” to children. She specifically points out the benefits of teaching the Heidelberg Catechism:
It provides a dictionary of terms used in the Bible for communicating the Gospel.
- It provides a tool through which the Holy Spirit can bring about a conviction of sin by its teaching of the Ten Commandments.
- It provides clear, concise definitions of the nature of God and the salvation that He has provided.
You may also be interested in “The Baptist Catechism”—with Commentary from John Piper available here.