What does true faith look like in kids? Sometimes, it’s tempting to believe that since a kid goes to church, has Christian parents, or is well-behaved, they’re truly Christians. In those cases, it’s easy to assume that there’s no need to keep sharing the Gospel with them. And yet, if you want to learn how to help your child grow in their faith, you need to first learn how to talk to your child about their faith, understand where they are in it, and recognize the signs that your child is a Christian. You need to learn how to discern where kids are in their spiritual position with Christ, before you can know best how to help kids grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Here are 5 ideas on how to recognize Christian faith in your child and gauge their understanding of the Gospel.
1) Your Kid Knows What Being a Christian Means
The best way to pick up the signs that your child is a Christian is to run a diagnosis. Rather than diving right into telling kids what they need to know about being a Christian, why not begin by asking them what they think being a Christian means? If they consider themselves to be Christians, ask them to finish this sentence: “I am a Christian because…” If they finish the sentence with phrases like “I’m a good person,” “I got baptized,” or “I go to church,” they’re likely cultural Christians and have not come to a saving faith or have a personal relationship with Jesus.
They may also wrongly assume they’re Christians because they know Christian phrases, wear Christian t-shirts, or because their parents are Christians. If the answer is vague, ask follow-up questions to see how much they understand the Gospel. This will help you see what they believe and can help you know what areas to focus on in future conversations as you learn how to talk to your child about their faith. It’s up to you to help guide kids to a biblical understanding of what being a Christian means.
2) Your Child Wants to Grow in Their Faith
The second tip on how to recognize Christian faith in your child is to look for a desire to grow in that faith. Becoming a Christian isn’t just a one-time event; Christians are saved and daily transformed by God’s grace. Every day, God, the Holy Spirit faithfully works in the hearts of believers to shape them into the image of Christ, and this includes the hearts of young children. As He works in hearts, He produces fruit and our lives should be a reflection of that heart change. One evidence of that fruit is the believer’s desire for growth.
Kids who come to know Christ as their Savior will start to show this desire. They’ll take an active part with you in discovering how to help your child grow in their faith. For signs that your child is a Christian, think: do they ask questions about God and the Bible? Are they excited to go to Sunday School? Do they read their Bibles or devotionals without prompting from adults? If so, these are all signs the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts and creating in your child a desire to grow in their faith. You may also be able to discern their attitude toward growth by talking with your child about their faith and asking them what they’ve learned about God recently.
3) Christian Kids Have Fruitful Lives
The third sign your child is a Christian is to look for fruitful lives through your child’s actions. The Holy Spirit works in the believer, moving them to act, speak, and think in ways they never would as unbelievers—something that’s true regardless of the believer’s age. The famous Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians chapter 5 is not limited to adults only. Kids, too, who truly believe in Jesus will start to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
You will know how to recognize Christian faith in your child by how they behave, such as taking swear words out of their speech, serving their next-door neighbors, humbly admitting to wrongs, or kindly confronting sin in another young believer’s life. When a kid does this out of supernatural joy rather than an attitude of obligation, that’s a good sign that your child is a Christian!
4) They Have a Conviction of Sin
The fourth sign that your child is a Christian is to look for conviction of sin. You can tell that a kid is truly convicted when they confess to sins that were done in secret. Often, unsaved children will only say sorry to avoid punishment or to make an adult happy, while the good things they do are done out of a desire for a reward or because of their own pride.
However, a Christian kid will hear the Holy Spirit’s voice gently and firmly confront their sin. The result will be a sincere confession to God and to any others who were hurt, as well as repentance, a turning away from that sin, and choosing to do what’s right instead. Do you see this kind of fruit in your Christian child’s life? Remember that any conviction of sin is the work of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to talk to your child about their faith and speak to them in ways that others can’t, convicting them to confess sins and grow in their faith.
5) Your Child Understands the Gospel
Finally, the last strategy on how to recognize Christian faith in your child is to share the Gospel with them frequently and ensure they have a clear understanding of it. If you find that a kid misunderstands what being a Christian means, then God has opened the door for you to share the Gospel with them.
Even if you already believe your child to be a Christian, it’s never a bad thing to share the Gospel—for evangelism or for growth! Even people who have believed in Jesus for years still need to remember the Gospel and their reasons for first falling at the feet of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to talk with your child about their faith and share how the Gospel continues to help you to grow in yours. Lastly, in all your conversations, remember to ask them open-ended questions and listen to their responses. You might be surprised by the answers and the simple faith of a precious child of God.
CEF Resources Can Help
Want more help on how to talk to kids about their faith and engage kids in conversation about Jesus? Child Evangelism Fellowship has countless resources that can help you guide children into an understanding about the Gospel and what it means to be a Christian, as well as how to help your child grow in their faith.
For a variety of resources you can use to share the Gospel with kids, go to cefpress.com for fun Christian tracts, books, games, songs, lessons, activity plans, and more. You may also access our most popular evangelistic tool, the Wordless Book, or check out our free, kid-friendly YouTube channel full of Gospel-affirming content at U-Nite Kids.