The new birth is very supernatural. It involves an act of God the creation of a brand new self within those who are redeemed. So I really think it is much too complicated for a young child to understand. But kids can still get saved without understanding every single detail. And they can get into the habit of praying and talking with God while still very young. Here is how Cliff has evangelized kids at church; and our own son as well.
Before I met Cliff in a big Baptist mega church in San Diego, he attended a small community church in La Mesa California where he assisted a teacher who was in charge of a Sunday school class of four-year-olds. Cliff helped them out with their art work and usually prepared a simple gospel blurb to go along with it.
Well, one week a little boy in class lost his grandmother; who was a Christian. So Cliff took advantage of the opportunity to tell all the kids that Jesus is in charge of heaven and if the little boy wanted to see his grammy again, Jesus was the man to see about it. Cliff told them the little boy was going to have to ask Jesus to let him come to heaven some day and be with his grandma.
The class was all quiet as a padded cell while Cliff talked about death and that little boy's grammy. Later that night, while his mom tucked him in, the little boy told her what he learned at church. It was the first time anyone had ever told him that not everyone is going to heaven when they die. His mom was so glad that Cliff told him because her husband was an airline pilot and was away from home a lot so the little boy's spiritual life was pretty much upon her own shoulders.
Cliff did it again when we substituted for a second grade Sunday school teacher some years ago. He set up a little mini black board, with the kids all in a group, and begin to list some things that are not in Hell. Things like drinking fountains, parks, snacks, and birthday parties. One little girl right in front became very frightened and covered her face and prayed into her hands while Cliff continued speaking to the rest of the class.
We did the very same thing with Nate. When he was in the first grade, Nate began to understand the concepts of Heaven and Hell and got scared. So we just told him to cover his face with his hands and ask Jesus to remember him when he died and take him to heaven. It was so cute. There was Nate on the couch with his little hands covering his face and praying right in front of us.
Today Nate is moving towards his 23rd birthday and still doesn't really comprehend the new birth, nor does he even care to. Some day he will want to know. But for now; it's enough that he's on friendly terms with God, and knows where he's going when he dies.
Cliff taught Nate a lot of guy stuff over the years but it was me who taught him how to pray and to share his life with God. He is much braver to face life with an Almighty friend. We have a pretty simple prayer philosophy; explained in: The Best Way To Pray.
MuLan's Reflection (Matthew Wilder and David Zippel)