Peer to Peer Child Evangelism
The Great Commission — Matthew 28:19 — is one of the most verses that provide the Biblical basis for evangelism. It reads, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Pastors and leaders often share this verse as a calling for the adults they minister with to go and make disciples. We believe that the Great Commission is for everyone, and not just adults! Children are fully capable of sharing the Gospel through peer to peer evangelism if they have themselves been given a strong foundation for spiritual growth.
We already know that sharing the Gospel among the 4–14 age window is crucial, as studies show that nearly half of those surveyed accepted Jesus Christ as their savior before reaching the age of 13. Further study shows that less than 25% of those survey accepted Christ after adulthood. In the same study, George Barna noted that “personal relationships have become even more important in evangelism, with a majority of salvation decisions coming in direct response to an invitation given by a family member or friend.”
“Families, churches and parachurch ministries must recognize that primary window of opportunity for effectively reaching people with the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection is during the pre-teen years. It is during those years that people develop their frames of reference for the remainder of their life — especially theologically and morally. Consistently explaining and modeling truth principles for young people is the most critical factor in their spiritual development.”
If children and youth are experiencing spiritual development through your ministry, sharing with their friends and peers is a natural next step. Peer to peer evangelism can be especially effective in a cultural context where oral storytelling is the norm, or where literacy may be a barrier. We encourage you to take the time to set the framework in your own ministry for teaching children how to both know the Gospel and share it effectively.
Several different training models for peer to peer evangelism offer guidance on what it could look like for your ministry. One of our favorites are Watoto Children’s Church, who host weekly Neighborhood Cell Groups in East Africa. Each week, children gather in their communities for small group meeting which include an interactive Bible study session, discussion, testimonies, worship and games. They are also taught how to share Christ with their friends. A sample lesson is a great place to start if you’re interested in creating a program similar to Watoto Church in your community.
Another peer to peer evangelism model is the Hope for Kids curriculum, which was created by Evangelism Explosion and OneHope. The Hope for Kids curriculum works to clarify the Gospel for children in terms that they can understand, as well as training them to witness to their friends and family. Every lesson includes key Gospel concepts, and illustrations of those concepts. Leaders are also encouraged to mentor children in small peer groups, where they can safely learn and practice sharing the Gospel.
As a ministry leader, we encourage you to consider peer to peer evangelism as a model of sharing the Gospel in your community!
WellConnected is an initiative of OneHope, and is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It’s a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the kids in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.