Done With Diligence

Do Your Kids REALLY Know the Gospel? A Simple Way to Be Sure

Open Bible with light shining on it. words say The Gospel

We’re in trouble, Christian parents. Big trouble.  According to research from Lifeway, about 70% of young people who attended church regularly leave the church in adulthood.  The number of churches in America is decreasing each year.  Less Americans report attending church. And less and less Americans identify themselves as Christians (source).

We have to ask why.  We don’t want our kids to fall into these numbers.  We want them to stand firm in the faith that we’ve shown them. So let’s talk practically.

First Things First

Before we dive in, let me make it abundantly clear that we CAN’T save our children.  Their salvation isn’t dependent upon what we DO or DON’T do as parents. Ephesians 1:4 reminds us that God chose His people before the foundation of the world. And John 18:9 reminds us that Jesus won’t lose a single one that the Father has given to Him.

But, in God’s mysterious way, He DOES choose to use parents as part of His plan to save His people.  That’s why He commands us in Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  And in Ephesians 6:4 He commands us to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  We clearly have a role to play, and because our Lord has commanded parents in this regard, we must seek to obey.

So, Why are So Many Kids Raised in Christian Homes Leaving the Church?

What is going on here?  Why are they leaving the church? At least one explanation may be that they just don’t get it.  Most kids don’t see the Gospel truth as real and valuable.  Remember the parable of the treasure hidden in the field…the man who discovered it sold everything he had to buy it (Matthew 13:44).  When you see the value of what is in the Gospel, you grasp it more tightly. You don’t dismiss the treasure.

While it is true that some may leave the flock for a time, that is not what we are discussing here.  We are focusing on making SURE our kids fully see the treasure of the Gospel. We want to show them exactly what the treasure is and where it is, so there can be no misunderstanding of the Gospel’s foundational truth.

empty pews in church

But I Take Them to Church…

If you are taking your children to church regularly, PRAISE THE LORD! That is wonderful!  But it’s not enough. 

Every other year, Ligonier Ministries publishes a report called “The State of Theology”.  They ask questions about basic theological truths to a general population of Americans and also to self-proclaimed Evangelical Christians.  The results are always so shocking.  Even among the Christians, there is much confusion and misunderstanding about the Gospel.

For example, the very starting place of the Gospel is understanding WHY we need it.  You can’t appreciate the Good News unless you’ve heard the bad news.  When the Ligonier survey asked Evangelicals if people are born innocent in the eyes of God, 65% said yes.  So, right off the bat, we see that at least 65% of Christians don’t understand the Gospel.  (See Ephesians 2:3 where it talks about “by nature children of wrath”)

Likewise, when presented with the statement “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God,” 43% of proclaiming Christians agreed. Though they claim to be Christians, these 43% are not disciples and do not believe the Gospel.  As Ligonier puts it, “Such a belief is contrary to Scripture, which affirms from beginning to end that Jesus is indeed God. (John 1:1; 8:58Rom. 9:5Heb. 1:1-4)”

So, with an abundance of confused, misguided, professing Christians around us, let’s remember that WE, the parents, have been called to train our children up in the Truth. While we are incredibly thankful for the volunteers and teachers in children’s ministry and youth ministry who pour into our kids, at the end of the day, we are the ones responsible.

Here’s a Test You Can Do on Your Children

Are you fairly confident that your children know the Gospel?  Here’s a quick test.  When you are alone with one of your children, simply follow this script.

MOM: Hey, Little Joey, why did Jesus have to die on the cross?

LITTLE JOEY: (probably in his most serious voice) For our sins.

MOM: But WHY did He need to DIE for our sins?


If Little Joey goes silent when you ask about the why, he probably doesn’t know the Gospel.  He’s been to church enough to know that God sent baby Jesus, and Jesus grew up and died on the cross for our sins.  But that’s all he’s got. 

 In full transparency, I celebrated 20 something Christmases and Easters before I ever truly understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I would have told you I was a Christian.  And I attended church every time the doors were open.  But I had not heard the Good News of the Gospel.

If you complete the test above and don’t like the results, don’t fret.  Instead, thank the Lord for revealing to you an urgent need in your Christian parenting.  Then roll up your sleeves and fix it. The first time I did this little test with my oldest, I was shocked. I though he understood the Gospel. I was wrong!

What EXACTLY is the Gospel?

Here is the most basic version of the Gospel, straight from scripture.

1. We are all sinners.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  -Romans 3:23

R.C. Sproul explains WHY the Gospel is good news.  He says the following:

“The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: 

God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. 

And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another.”

How to Make Sure Your Kids Know the Gospel

You know I’m all about practical ways to make sure the most important things happen.  That’s why I’ve created these Know the Gospel Cards for your family.  When I was looking for Gospel resources, I couldn’t find the most basic, simple tools.  

Yes, I found sing-along videos and more than one children’s book, but that wasn’t going to do the job.  If we want to be sure we are hiding the truth of the Gospel in the hearts of children, I think it’s best that we cut the fluff and get down to business.  Those things are great extras, but that’s not where the meat is found, ya know?

Know the Gopepl set of 5 cards

You can purchase these Gospel cards HERE. If cost is a concern, please email me for a free download.

So, How Can You Use These Cards?

You can use these cards in many ways.  Print multiple copies.  Bind them with a ring clip and give each of your kiddos a set to use as a bookmark.  Hang them on the bathroom mirror.  Keep them in the car and quiz your kids while you are waiting for the train to pass.  Review them during Family Worship time. You can use them in SO many ways.  The options are really endless.

I find that there is no better time for these conversations than when you are all riding in the car.  You have a captive audience!  Every so often, I’ll turn the radio off. And I’ll start with my oldest son and ask, “Whitt, what’s the Gospel?” Then I’ll move down to my next oldest and repeat the question.  I’ll probe deeper and add points to their answers.  I can’t count how many times we’ve had this same conversation, but its a conversation we’ll never finish.  The best way to ensure that they know it AND that they know how important it is is to simply bring it up over and over again.

Why are You Harping on the Gospel So Much?  What about Everything Else in the Bible?

Yes, the whole Bible is important.  But the Gospel is central.  I’m a gospel-centered parent because that’s where salvation is.  

Again, you can’t change your child’s heart.  That’s the Holy Spirit’s job, but you can make sure they know these 4 points.

As Derek Thomas from Ligonier Ministries reminds us here, the Gospel matters “[…] because eternal life and eternal death and Hell are in the balance here.  It is vitally important to understand the Gospel […]  If you get that wrong, everything goes wrong.  If you get that wrong, you’re not saved.  If you get that wrong, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you want to be certain that you will spend eternity in the presence of Jesus forever and ever, you HAVE to understand the rudiments of the Gospel.”

The stakes are that high, Mama.  No matter what the world tells you.  The stakes REALLY are that high.

A Word of Warning

Don’t be fooled.  It doesn’t matter how many Bible stories they know, how many Veggie Tales episodes they’ve watched,  or how much Christian music you play in your home…there is no substitute for having Gospel conversations with your kids.  Family devotions are great, but you have to make sure you are zeroing in on Gospel truths. I’m warning you because, until a mentor mom put it to me just this bluntly, I didn’t understand. I’m so very thankful she showed me the difference.

Even little children can begin to understand the Gospel.  When young children hear their parents and older siblings repeating its message over and over, it starts to stick.  Is it in their hearts yet?  Probably not.  Only the Holy Spirit can give them new hearts that can fully comprehend and cling to the Gospel.  But I can make SURE they’ve heard it and can verbalize it.  My heavenly Father commanded me to teach them diligently.  So, I will seek to obey.

And I’ll trust the the Holy Spirit will cause regeneration of their hearts in His perfect timing.

Want more Christian parenting ideas? Visit my Raise Them with Diligence page!

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