New Christian Class Provides a Sure Foundation
A new Christians' class can help children move with confidence from knowing they have become a Christian to learning more about being a Christian.
As a seven-year-old I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior. I was blessed with caring parents, a loving church, and a weekly routine that included Sunday School, Church Training (at that time), Sunday morning and evening worship services, and Wednesday night prayer meeting. I attended GA's and later Acteens and Vacation Bible School every summer.
As a young adult, I faced some heart-wrenching doubts about my salvation. During one of those bouts with doubts, my mother gave some wise advice, "God is not the author of confusion. Pray until you get an answer." I followed her advice and God brought me through with renewed confidence in Him.
Because of my experiences, God has placed in me a strong conviction to make sure children in our churches who make professions of faith have a sure foundation as the first step in their discipleship.
Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and mission organizations are wonderful parts of a child's Christian education. These ministries help many kids realize their need for salvation in the first place and the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus with others.
However, providing a child with an opportunity to reaffirm his salvation experience requires a somewhat different setting. It helps if the teacher-pupil ratio is small enough to allow plenty of time for each child to express himself. A new Christian class provides an opportunity to check for a child's understanding and to reinforce the genuineness of the experience.
For the past several years, our church has used the I'm a Christian Now resources. Inside the Leader's Kit you'll find step-by-step teaching plans for four one-hour meetings. (Topics include: Becoming a Christian, Baptism, Lord's Supper, Church, and Starting a Quiet Time.) Plus you get four free teaching plans on missions, stewardship, and what we believe as Southern Baptists. There's also a CD-ROM with clip art, posters, songs, games, and much more.
Each time through, we make adaptations to meet the needs of the particular class. The focus of the class is to begin at the beginning and make sure the basics have been clearly understood; for example, addressing the questions
- What is sin?
- How do I know that I am a sinner?
- What does it mean to become a Christian?
- How can I know that I am a Christian now?
Through writing, drawing, and talking, boys and girls have an opportunity to express in their own ways the decision they have made. This is one of the best ways to help children firm up their Christian foundation. As they verify to themselves that their experience was genuine and real, they can move with confidence from knowing they have become a Christian to learning more about being a Christian.
Parental involvement is strongly encouraged in this journey. Their participation benefits not only the child, but also the parents whose own relationship with Christ can be strengthened as they cover the material with the child.
While we do our best to cooperate with family wishes, we really like it when we can schedule baptisms at the completion of the course and present the child with a certificate. The decision to follow Christ is the most important decision of a child's life, and it is appropriate to treat it with celebration and honor.
Mark the event in some way. Make a memory box with their testimony, pictures of their baptism, their first Lord Supper's cup, a picture of who counseled them, and other memory markers. Having these concrete markers to look at will help children remember this most important decision.
Investing the time and energy to disciple a new Christian is well worth the effort. It is exciting to see children who have trusted Jesus become teenagers who take a stand for Christ and, later, adults who continue to share the message of Christ with others.