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If you’re cautious when your child says they want to be a Christian, you’re not alone


Our nearly-ten-year-old is an interesting kid. She’s thoughtful, helpful, a little snarky, kind… and the other day said she wants to be a Christian. That is pretty cool for me and Emily, and we affirmed her that we would love for her to be a Christian, but we also want her to know what that means.

So we asked her what she thinks it means to be a Christian. She hesitated for a moment. Then, “That we believe in God and that Jesus is God.” (There may have been a hint of a question mark at the end of this.)

We affirmed that, yes, this is true, definitely. But we also told her that there’s a little bit more (though not a lot). We believe Jesus is God, yes. We believe that Jesus died for our sins as well. So being a Christian means that we trust that Jesus has saved us, and live out of thankfulness for that, knowing God through reading the Bible and prayer, and loving others because God loves us. But as far as people are concerned, only she can say for that she believes that. And if she does, she needs to pray to God about it.

As far as age-appropriate descriptions, I think that one’s okay (I hope).

There’s part of me that is anxious about it, though. Neither of us desire to crush her possible (yet unconfirmed) faith. But at the same time, Emily and I are cautious. We don’t want her to pretend to be something that she’s not just to make us happy.

Chances are, if you’re a parent, you’ve probably been in the same boat (and if you’ve got older kids, let me know if I’m off my rocker on Twitter). Maybe your kids have shown that they do indeed have faith in Jesus. Maybe it’s still hazy. Or maybe it’s obvious that they do not yet. Either way, it seems to prudent to exercise caution… and to take the same advice we’d offer our kids: pray.

That’s what I’m doing now. I’m praying that God will make it clear whether or not she truly does believe. And if she does, to help Emily and I embrace our daughter as a fellow believer and encourage her along the way. And if she’s not, well… I’ll just keep praying that the day comes when she will.

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