Several years ago, a missions team organized a weeklong backyard Bible club for kids. At the end of the week, the kids were gathered together to hear the final version of John 3:16. The group presentation was evangelistic and included all the essential elements of the gospel. At the end of the lesson, the teacher asked the children, “If you would like to trust Christ right now, just raise your hand.” Some of the children raised their hand immediately while others did after looking around. In the end, every child in attendance raised their hand in response to the invitation.
How many of those decisions were genuine? How could we possibly know?
Here are some key things to keep in mind whenever sharing the gospel message in a group setting:
- Keep the presentation simple, clear, and biblically accurate to avoid confusion.
- Never let a physical action (raising a hand, standing up, praying a prayer, walking an aisle) be confused as part of salvation. Coming forward to talk to someone is appropriate but make it clear that it is a way to find out more – it is not how the person is saved.
- Do not lead a group prayer of salvation. This may lead some to believe that the prayer has the power to save.
- Give specific directions on who can help them if they want to learn more. Also, tell them specifically when they can talk to that person and where to find him/her.
- If you are a designated counselor to receive people who respond to a presentation, remember to first establish why the person is coming to talk to you. Your first question is, “Why did you come to talk to me?”
- Present the gospel to children on a regular basis. Do it often – individually and in groups. Remember: group presentations should always be followed up with one-on-one interactions with children who respond.