Question 1: What if a Child does not become a believer during the time designated for the second milestones? Do parents continue with the others? Or is the child stuck at milestone 2.
Children who do not receive Christ between the ages of 7and 13 continue along the path of legacy milestones. Often ministry leaders wonder if such children can spiritually progress to the next milestone even at the leading of parents. For instance, how could a child who has not yet accepted Christ (milestone 2) commit to biblical purity for life (milestone 4)? Theologically we cannot mandate an age range for salvation. This is determined individually by the sovereignty of God. While it is generally true that many children come to Christ between the ages of 7 and 13 not all do. Practically we train parents to be flexible. Even if salvation and baptism has not been celebrated we encourage parents to continue leading their children toward the future milestones. It is often in this leading that children become teenagers who accept Christ while pursuing milestones 3 or 4.
One thought on “SHIFT FAQ: Unbelieving Kids?”
The other milestones can certainly serve disciple makers in two ways.
First and foremost, they serve as Progressive Sanctification for the believer. Moreover, as we “walk the path,” we progressively grow and develop spiritually. Our spiritual formation depends on a deliberate effort to grow in a vibrant relationship with God. We must be deliberate in our development of the spiritual milestones, particularly milestone 7 (which we should all practice, including kiddos who have not completed the other milestones.)
For the unbeliever, these milestones can serve as Preparatory Sanctification. In Mark 11:28-34, Jesus discourses this very issue with one of the scribes as he talks about the greatest commandment. Jesus’ response to the scribe is “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” In essence, Jesus is saying you are on the path to salvation, but you are not yet there. As we move our kiddos down the path, the spiritual milestones provide a “train the trainer” template so that we as parents know how to help our kiddos develop spiritually. Of course, we can’t save them, only God can do that. However, as disciple makers, it is our Biblical charge to come alongside the unbeliever. This begins at home.