Our evangelism and discipleship of children is too public
“What is the best way to respond to children who want to accept Jesus? Should this be public or private to prevent ‘peer pressure’ to accept Jesus?”
The possibility of “peer pressure” or “group mentality” is very real. Peer pressure could be a good thing if it encourages a child in the right direction; but, a commitment to Jesus that lasts the whole life must be made personally, and not be made in order to “fit in.”
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Mark 8: 34)
It is important for you to align the CM perspective on evangelizing and discipling children with the overall church perspective. Does the church offer “altar calls” or invitations for people to accept Jesus during the adult service, or are visitors simply encouraged to “connect with God” on their own?
If the children in the CM are offered a specific invitation to become Christians, is that against or in line with the church process? What do you personally believe about large group invitations for children to accept Jesus? What do you believe about including parents in the process?
It might be important for you to focus the CM plan for evangelizing and discipling children on the concept of being “light” and “salt” to the children, instead of focusing on each week being a children’s “crusade” with altar calls. If your CM plan focuses on being “salty” around the children, then each CM team member should be sensitive to the children’s comments or questions about Jesus. In this perspective, a child’s desire to accept Jesus becomes a personal encounter with the CM team member instead of a large-group altar call.
Jesus welcomed large groups. He often preached to large groups and challenged them to “follow Him,” but He regularly emphasized the importance of personal choices. If you have large group gatherings in your CM, you can use the energy of that large group in your favor. If you publicly challenge or invite the children to make a commitment to Jesus in a large group, you can “balance” the large group appeal with personal connections in small groups, or via one-to-one discussions. This is the style of Jesus. If He did encounter large groups, He also personally challenged people face-to-face. For more help on this challenge, click on the APPENDIX link below.