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Learning to Share

Teachers are getting involved in evangelism

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“Most of your teachers do not know what to do when children want to receive Christ. They do not know how to share the gospel.” said a missionary after visiting a Sunday school class.

A few years ago I became the children’s ministry coordinator for the C&MA in Cambodia, where almost 3,000 children attend Sunday school weekly from C&MA churches and small groups.

The missionary’s comment prompted me to conduct a small survey, and I found that the statement was true. Many of the teachers said that if children asked to receive Christ, they had to wait for the pastor to come to the classroom.

It is said that if you want to win a nation, you have to start with the next generation. Did you know that almost 56 percent of Christians make decisions for Christ before the age of 12? And 15 percent more receive Christ between the ages of 13 and 15.

STRING THEORY

In Cambodia, children grow up in a world of spirits. Infants have a string tied around their neck or waist to protect them from spirit attacks and sickness. They will keep a string around their waist for the rest of their lives.

My family and two Sunday school teachers used to visit a remote village outside of Siem Reap. Because of the bad road, we could not get there by car. My wife and I had two children, and all four of us would ride one bike. Every Sunday we visited a small house group with only four adults and 10 children attending the little service.

One Sunday a child brought his nephew Chai to the Sunday school class. After hearing the gospel, Chai invited Jesus into his heart. The Sunday school teachers explained to Chai that he did not need the spirit strings anymore and cut them off.

When they learned what had happened, Chai’s parents were very upset. His mother came running, telling us that cutting off his strings cut him off from his protection. She said this boy was not her child any longer; she did not want to be responsible for what would happen. Now Chai was the child of the Sunday school teacher!

Three days later I met with one of the church members in that village, and right away the mother came, carrying Chai, who was very sick, in her arms. She explained to me that when children throw away their strings and become believers, they become sick and die.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take Chai to the hospital that day, but we prayed for him, entrusting him to God. The Lord gave us a miracle, and Chai was healed. Two weeks later, his mother gave her heart to Jesus. Now, several years later, all of Chai’s family members faithfully attend the local church.

KNOWING HOW IT’S DONE

Stories like this prompted us to invite Kids Evangelism Explosion (EE) to help train our Sunday school teachers. Earlier this year, we welcomed an EE team to our local church in Siem Reap, where they introduced the program to us in a four-day seminar. Forty-eight Sunday school teachers from many churches came and were challenged to share the good news with children. The goal is not only to empower the participants but also to teach kids how to share the gospel with their friends in Sunday school.

During the seminar we did “on-the-job” training and shared the gospel with 96 children. First, we asked the parents for permission, and very often they also listened with great interest. Many of them received Christ, and the next week the Sunday school group saw 20 new faces!

Now no one in our Sunday schools has to wait for the pastor when they want to receive Christ. And the children know how to share Christ with their friends.

As always, the Bible is right: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6).

Erik van’t Ende is married to Katja, a pediatrician. They have three children and live in Siem Reap. Erik, a church planter, is responsible for the C&MA men’s and children’s ministries in Cambodia.

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