pastor's kids

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by TaterTot, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. TaterTot

    TaterTot
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    Lately my children have been expressing interest in the act of "getting saved". They have been to youth events and a Billy Graham crusade recently where this happened. At one of the youth events, one raised her hand when the evangelist did the "heads bowed, eyes closed, raise your hand if..." thing. She's 3 (soon to be 4) and I was assuming she heard him say to raise your hand if you know you have done wrong things and you want to go to heaven when you die. We discussed it, and I think she was just obeying. Then at the Billy Graham Crusade, she wanted to go "down there" with all those people. My 5 year old asked why we weren't going too. I told her that they were deciding to start loving Jesus tonight, and that the people in our group had already decided to do that. (I named names on perpuse, leaving off her and her sister's names to see if she'd say that she needed to do the same, and she didnt.)
    Then this morning during the altar prayer time, I was very surprised, when they came and joined me there. SO my question is...
    How do you know if/when the HS is leading your child without risking confusing them at such an early age?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    TatorTot,

    I am so happy that your girls are becoming curious about Jesus as a real person.

    I sort of know what my answer is to your question, but I don't want to give just "my opinion" on this matter. It's too serious just for "opinions".

    I am going to ask my pastor tonight what he believes.

    We had "Children's Day" at my church today and a few children between the ages of 6 and 11 came forward. I believe that some were sincerely called to be saved this morning, but were they all? I don't know. Our pastor counsels them along with the parents.

    But your pastor is the girl's parent! I guess that makes your situation unique. Who counsels the counselor's children?

    There was even an autistic boy who came this morning (he is 16, but has the physical body of a 9 year old and the mentally capacity of a 5 year old).

    A neighbor has been bringing him to church every time the doors are open for the past 8 years. God bless that neighbor!

    I'll get back to you tonight after I talk to my pastor and get my own thoughts clear.
     
  3. TaterTot

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    Thanks. I'd like to hear your opinion as well. (Come on, I can take it! [​IMG] )
     
  4. Pastor_Bob

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    My oldest son made a profession of faith when he was 5 years old. He and I went to the altar together and I explained to him what he must do to be saved. He did pray at that time and asked Jesus to save him.

    It is very hard to know for sure that our children understand because they have grown up hearing not only the questions, but also the answers. Therefore, they always answer correctly. I try to ask the same questions worded differently so at least they have to think about it a while.

    The last thing we want to do is give them a false sense of security by simply praying a prayer. Too often they depend on the prayer to save them, and when the Holy Spirit does begin to convict them, they convince themselves that are already saved because of the prayer that they prayed.

    I've even heard testimony of preacher's kids who remained in their lost condition because of the embarrassment of "getting saved again" as the pastor's child. They tend to be very concerned what their friends will think of them.

    My son, who made a profession of faith at 5 years of age, came to me after the service at camp one summer. He was 18 years old at this time. He told me that he didn't think he was saved. I didn't try to convince him that he was saved, I simply said, "Son, then you need to get that settled right now."

    We knelt down by the U-Haul trailer we rented for camp and he prayed asked Jesus Christ to come into his heart and save him.

    Did he get saved at 5 or 18? Only he and God knows that. I do know that God never minds one of His children coming to Him and getting assurance that they are one of His own.

    When are they ready? They are ready when they demonstrate a desire to be saved. I would take every situation very seriously. Never, never, never tell them to wait until their older. They may wait too long. Deal with them each time they bring it up. Encourage them to come to you any time they have a question about God or the things of God. Keep the door of communication open at all times and they'll come to you when the time is right.

    Don't worry, you'll know when they are ready. Remember, Jesus said that we must become as a little child to inherit the kingdom of God. When you see their faith and their desire to be saved, they are ready.
     
  5. standingfirminChrist

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    Amen, Pastor Bob!

    Wonderful advice. If a child expresses concern, share with Him the necessity of Christ.

    I often wondered about such a case where one makes a profession at an early age and later wonders if they are saved or not. 1 John 5 gives assurance that we can know without a doubt that we are God's children.

    Does the fact that your son doubted his salvation at the age of 18 mean that his profession of Christ at five years old was not a true profession? Possibly. It could also mean that satan was oppressing his mind at 18 and causing him to doubt his own salvation. At any rate, I believe he did the right thing by expressing his concern to you and you gave the best godly advice a father could ever give his son. If one has doubts at all, even if he or she has been living a godly life for 30 or 40 years, the best thing to do is talk with the Father. He is always willing to hear the cries of a broken heart.
     
  6. gb93433

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    The proof will follow. Kids and adults can be manipulated but the proof of the decision they made will follow.
     
  7. rbell

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    One thing I do in counseling very young children is get them to tell me (without any leading from my part) what happens to them if they die and haven't given their life to Jesus. I've found that most kids that aren't ready will answer something other than eternal punishment. That might not hold as true if at your church there's been a lot of preaching on hell (not trying to start a debate, just pointing out that many kids don't hear too much about hell).

    Anyway, I appreciate your wanting to handle this rightly. In my two decades of working with students, the one thing I run into more than anything regarding early childhood conversions is a great deal of doubting of salvation. Any time sin creeps into their lives, things get tough, or a pushy evangelist pulls the emotional manipulation card, these kids doubt their salvation...primarily because they might not remember all the details, or because a six year-old asking Jesus to be his/her Lord involves less "baggage" than a thirty year-old. Not trying to scare you off, just letting you know of what I've run into scores of times over the years.

    If they are ready for that great step, just keep this experience in front of them. Help them make a momento--a picture, plaque, or the like, memorializing the "day I gave my heart to Jesus." Talk about that day with them in the future. God's best to you.

    PS: A great quote for all of ya'll: "A child giving his life to the Lord is like crossing a river at its narrowest point."
     
  8. TaterTot

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    Thanks yall, these have been some great answers. I dont want to rob my girls of a true Holy Spirit encounter, and I dont want to make them have any excess baggage. They'll probably have plenty, as it is, lol. But then on the other hand, its hard to imagine a 3(and 3/4) year old ready to be saved. I know it will be a special event when the time comes, though. They DO know the right answers, though, and they want to please as well.
    They shoulda taught me this in seminary, lol.
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    TatotTot-

    You have gotten some good words here.

    My pastor said that he tell parents who have these burdens that they know their children best. He tells them that God's timing is God's timing and we can't second guess God.

    He says that to push them is wrong, but at the same time you should never discourage a child from coming whom you believe is understanding and sincere.
    ................................

    My thoughts are that parents should make sure that children can "explain" the gospel in their own little words to the peace of mind of the parents.

    If they can't, then continue to answer their questions, and discuss it whenever they bring it up.

    Continue to teach them, pray with/for them, sing with them and lead them.
     
  10. Gina B

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    Tater, I ask a few questions.

    What do you think about God?

    Who is He?

    Do you think we need Him?

    Why?

    What do you think about Jesus?

    Who is He?

    Why do we need Him?

    I don't look for "I know I'm a sinner and I don't want to go to hell".

    In fact, I'd prefer that they didn't bring up hell at all, unless as a sidenote. I want to hear that they BELIEVE, and that belief makes them care, that they want to start pleasing for spiritual reasons rather than selfish ones.

    That's an awful hard thing for a child. The majority of the time, they do good things because they get rewarded, or because they don't want to get punished. When that begins to change, the child has begun the process of understanding Christ.

    Certainly, do not refuse to allow a child to do what they think is right, but I also wouldn't tell the child he/she is "done" now.

    Maybe when your child wants to go up there with those people, ask her what she's gonna do. Ask her why she doesn't just do it at home and see what the reason is, and that should tell you a little more about it.
     
  11. Gina B

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    Oooh, sorry Tater, I didn't realize I was in this part of the board...where I don't belong!
     
  12. TaterTot

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    I dont mind, Gina! I like whatcha said.
     
  13. bobbyd

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    I went through the same thing with my little girl when she started questioning what it meant to be saved a couple of years ago.
    For me i based it on her understanding of sin, and understanding the cost of her sin in terms of Jesus dying for that reason.

    On a regular basis she would ask me to take her through the Evangecube, and as i went i would ask her if she understood...and if she said yes i continued and if not, i told her we'll start over later.

    We did this for about a year or more until she came to me one Sunday and said, "Daddy, i think i'm ready to accept Jesus"...and she was right.
    She was a little over 7 at the time and i baptized her in Dec. 2004.

    All of this though hinged for me on her understanding of sin. That is just me though.
    I did pass that by my evangelism prof at seminary and he agreed that the understanding of sin was a pretty good indicator.

    And if your child is not ready, don't be afraid to tell him or her that they are not ready. This is a decision that has eternal significance and neither you nor your child can afford to make a mistake.

    in HIS grip
    bobbyd
     
  14. John Ellwood Taylor

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    I think this article give a wonderful examination of Children and the gospel:

    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/12/970.html

    Here's the final paragraph:
    What we can do if our children profess faith in Jesus Christ



    1. Encourage them–encourage every sign of faith and use every opportunity to teach them about Jesus Christ and His gospel.

    2. Correct them–correct their behavior always pointing them to the need for the saving work of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

    3. Teach them–point them to the need of a Christ-centered life. They need to live a life of integrity. They need to make church life part of who they are and how they act.
     
  15. bapmom

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    Tater,

    One of the things Ive learned too is, later on don't insist that they were already saved. Our first came to us when she was around four and wanted to ask Jesus to save her. She had a very good clear understanding, so my husband prayed with her, she prayed, and we all went on. A couple years ago, when she was 9 or so, she had doubts, and she was dealt with after church by a church staff member. I think that was a very good thing, as she then did not feel as if she needed to please her parents with her answers. She still counts that night a couple years ago as the night she was saved. We were very careful not to insist she had "done it right" the first time, because maybe she hadn't.

    Our second daughter was about 4 also, when she came and talked to me and prayed. She is 9, almost 10 now, and she still says thats when she was saved, and she has no doubts.

    Since our kids have been in church all their lives, we've tried to be patient, answer all their questions, and let the Holy Spirit work.
     
  16. jshurley04

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    My personal rule to know if they are indeed ready is to quiz them about sin. Do they know what sin is, have they sinned, tell me about a sin they have done, why was this thing or action a sin, and most important, are you a sinner? If they demonstrate that they understand what sin is and why they are sinner and that they are a sinner then they are very close to being ready.

    I also try to make sure that they understand why they need to be saved and that salvation means more than just loving Jesus (no offense to anyone) because a lot of people love Jesus but they don't love Him enough to ask His forgiveness for their sins.

    My thoughts for you.
     
  17. MRCoon

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    Your right! Our love has nothing to do with it! God's love was enough (Jn 3:16, Rom 5:8)...we just need to believe on Jesus and what he did.

    Regarding Pastor's kids:

    I've had the privilege to have my kids ask me to show them how to be saved and I showed them the Bible but when it came time to deal with them and walk them through salvation's steps I let another adult man that I trust do it. I didn't want my kids to try to please me or have me 'bait' them through the process. I found it easier to deal with their decision as one set apart and not having any unneeded influence on it. Maybe I missed out on the joy of praying the 'sinner's prayer' with them but I'm more excited in their confidence of salvation. So if you wonder or doubt their ability to understand salvation and to truly accept it then maybe ask someone you know and trust to do it for you.
     
  18. jshurley04

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    Good idea, let another adult that you trust and that they know and trust lead them through the truth of salvation and give them the opportunity to accept without the parental influence. This decision is too important to mess up.
     

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