I think one of the reasons “ask Jesus into your heart” remains such a popular staple in home discipleship is that many parents feel ill-equipped in the spiritual arena. After all, if you can’t cogently share “the gospel” with the kids the temptation to fall back on church lingo is immense. We instinctively recognize the benefit of lingo-learning discipleship: (1) it “simplifies” the message by reducing it to a soundbite (2) the lingo is so self-explanatory that even a child can understand it (3) the lingo method is widely accepted by churches in the continental US.
But there is help for parents who desire to do more than just throw around some Christian slang in the hope that it sticks. First let’s affirm that the Scripture–in conjunction with the preaching/teaching ministry of your local church (of which you’re an active member, right?)–is the primary source for equipping you to evangelize & disciple your children. But building on that foundation I would highly recommend two books:
What Is the Gospel? (Greg Gilbert) This read is for any Christian but parents need it because you can’t explain the gospel to your children if you’re not certain of it yourself. I was so appreciative of the book when I read it that I’ve since bought additional copies to give as gifts.
Big Truths for Young Hearts (Bruce Ware) I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s essentially a theology book for kids which is read aloud by the parent with their kids. Each chapter concisely covers a specific topic–God, man, salvation, the church, etc–and includes review questions to reinforce the reading.
Any other helpful resources you’d recommend?