Pastor Jason Yon and his wife Amy have been my friends for years. I’ve had them in my home and love this precious young couple. Recently Pastor Jason had the priviliege of leading his young son to Christ and the salvation experience. It was so moving I immediately asked him if he would share it as a guests on my blog. He agreed. Here’s that conversation.
I understand you just led your son in accepting Christ as his Savior. I was moved to tears when you told about it on facebook. Would you share it with my friends?
– My son, Jayden (5 years old), had been having a difficult week that week obeying his teacher at Pre-K as well as my wife and I. Last Thursday, he had a particularly rough day doing things he knew he wasn’t allowed to do and lying to his mom once and then lying to me that he didn’t lie to mom. Poor kid. Anyway, I knew he had lied to me when he did it because my wife told me what happened earlier in the day. So, when he did, I called him on it and his heart broke. It was Easter weekend and so it was a perfect opportunity to talk about what Jesus did for him. We talked about Jayden’s sin, how bad he felt about it and that God wanted to forgive his sin. We also knew what the punishment his mom and I were going to give him for his disobedience and lying, so I used to opportunity to illustrate to him what “Grace” is. I told him that he deserves to be punished for what he did wrong, but we were going to give him grace just like God gives us grace. He then decided that he wanted to pray and ask Jesus to forgive him and be his savior.
Leading a child to Christ is really important stuff. It’s the most important decision they’ll ever make. Shouldn’t I leave that job to the professional—the children’s pastor?
– You are correct, leading a child to Christ is not only really important stuff, it’s the MOST important thing in anyone’s life. And because it is so important, it SHOULD be the parent who should lead their child to Christ. God gave parents the specific responsibility to train their children spiritually and to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. (Deut 6) That relationship begins with Salvation and I believe parents are the best person to help children begin that relationship. The job of the children’s pastor is to come along-side a parent, to help them lead their child to Jesus, train them how to have the conversation, give them tools to assist them in the process. The day when a child accepts Jesus as their Savior is the most important moment of a child’s life. That moment should be shared with and cherished by their parents.(Luke 2:51-52)
So does that mean you, as the children’s pastor never offer opportunities for children to accept Jesus at church or special events?
– Absolutely not. Our goal as a church is to help every parent to be the best spiritual leader for their family in their home. However, we have some children that visit our church or attend one of our events who do not have Christian parents at home and we do not want to miss the opportunity to lead them to Christ. However, as a church, we are doing everything we can to inspire, equip, and assist parents to lead their own children to Christ at home BEFORE we offer the opportunity at church.
Can I really lead my child in making a decision for Christ? What if I make a mistake?
– You certainly can lead your child in making a decision for Christ. You don’t have to be a “professional” (Or a pastor). It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can begin by sharing your own personal story with your child of when you accepted Christ. They need to understand they have sinned, that sin separates us from God, and Jesus died so that we could be forgiven for our sins. The way we accept Him as our Savior is to simply ABC- Admit, Believe, Confess. Admit you are a sinner, Believe Jesus died for your sins, Confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
How do I know if my child is ready to accept Christ? How important is timing in this talk with my child?
– I believe timing is somewhat important. This is also why I believe it is best for the parent to have the conversation rather than a children’s pastor. No one knows your child’s heart better than you do. A few weeks ago, my son and I were on our way to school and he was asking a lot of questions about sin and salvation and I could tell then that he was getting close to reaching out to Christ and understanding his need to pray the prayer. I considered keeping him out of school to continue the conversation, but I just felt in my spirit that he was just not quite there yet. But I knew he was close and that I needed to keep my spiritual antenna up for my son to capture the right moment or situation and seize that opportunity to lead him to the Lord. So, on that Thursday night when I knew Jayden had a rough day of sin in his life, I seized that “God Moment” and sat down with him and talked about what he had done, what Jesus had done for him, the gift of grace, and prayed with him.
What if they don’t want to pray that prayer with me?
– If for some reason your child does not want to pray with you, I would suggest going with your child to their children’s pastor and talking through it together. This should be a shared experience and you need to be the one to continue and encourage your child’s spiritual growth after their salvation experience with the help of your child’s children’s pastor.
I would like to add, don’t push them. Don’t feel like you failed. They may not be ready or they may not fully understand. The Word of God is seed and it may take some time to come up in their hearts. Continue to pray for them. Plant additional age appropriate seed as you see the opportunity.
What kind of follow up have you done with your son since he accepted Jesus that day?
– The first thing we did was celebrate at home. Jayden went upstairs and told his mommy and his sister what he had just done. We then called his grandparents and celebrated with them over the phone. I posted the news on Facebook and I showed Jayden everyone’s comments a day later. Jayden is also learning to read and he is really beginning to love it. (Praying that continues better for him that is did for his father). So we bought him his first full Bible (NIRV). And we have been reading it together every night. We also make sure that he shares with other adults that are close with him that he has accepted Christ – his teacher at school, his children’s pastor and Sunday School teachers, close friends of our family, etc.
Just to clarify the NIRV is the New International Reader’s Version easy to read and understand. Thank you Pastor Jason. I appreciate your ministry to children so much. I’m absolutely thrilled that you had the opportunity to lead Jayden to Christ! Wow, what a privilege. I love both you and Ms. Amy so much!
Pastor Jason Yon
Maybe you’ve led your child to Christ. I’d love to hear your story as well.