Wondering how to teach your toddler the gospel? Read on for five truths to get you started!

The other night, as I was getting my (just turned) three year old in bed, he said something that made me stop and think.

He said something to the extent of: “now that I’m three I’m going to do good things!”

I felt like I had transported back in time three and a half years. Echoes of strangely similar conversations with my eldest rang in my ears.  And it all came rushing back to me.

How many times did we talk about how only God always does good things? How many times did I lay out the gospel, when one day everything clicked and he set out on a course to follow Jesus with all his heart?

Because isn’t that our highest goal as parents?

To lay out the path to the gospel and see our kids travel down that road? At first, holding their hand, guiding their feet, and then watching them walk the walk themselves.

In that one statement from my middle son, it hit me. It’s time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t know a time without me telling him about God. Without me reading from his Bible. He knows the stories. He knows that Jesus died on the cross.

But now, as he is growing, things are going to start to change. His ability to converse is getting better. A sense of right and wrong is emerging within him. It is time for me to be more aware, more intentional with the way I talk to him.

After the conversation we had that night, I thought back to the things I did with my oldest. There is only 3 ½ years between them, but it seems so long ago that he was in this stage! As I thought, I came up with five theological truths that were laid as a foundation of understanding that allowed him to internalize the gospel message.

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to begin teach your toddler the gospel, this is an excellent place to begin. Because even though they can’t understand complex theological topics at this age, we can begin to lay the foundation for the future.

5 Foundations for Teaching Your Toddler the Gospel

1. God Made the World

As soon as you crack open the Bible (including your child’s storybook Bible), you are immediately confronted with this truth. God made everything. Everything is His. When you teach this to your child you set the foundation for the truth that God is sovereign over his creation.

This is one of the first and easiest truths to explain to your little one. Toddlers are already in explore mode. They love learning more about the world around them. They are already so full of wonder over creation. They love knowing that God made the flowers, and the sky, and the dog that lives next door.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Reading the creation story in a storybook Bible (check out this one).
  • Going outside and looking at everything God made.
  • Modeling a sense of wonder when you look at something amazing that God created.
  • Looking at pictures of the things God has created in books.

2. God Made YOU

When God created this wonderful world, the grand finale was his creation of humans – his greatly loved and cherished children. When we tell our children that God made them, it establishes a foundation that they are loved and valuable to God.

Little kids love to hear about themselves. They love themselves! If something involves them, they want to hear about it. It makes them feel so special to know that God made them and loves them.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Look at pictures from when they were a baby and talk about how happy you were that God gave them to you.
  • Tell your child what you love about them by saying “I love how God made you…”
  • Have your child flex their muscles and say “wow, God made you so strong!”
  • Have your child stretch out big and say “look how big and tall God made you!”
  • Make sure to also mention how God made other people special too!

3. Only God is Always Good

This is the conversation that I had with my son that night. He didn’t fully understand what I meant, but in time he will. When children hear the message that it is only God who is always good, it sets a foundation for the truth that God is holy and righteous.

It seems like most kids go through this phase of extreme desire to be “good.” I remember my oldest as a little three year old, always talking about how he was going to “do good things.” While it is easy to brush these comments off as “cute”, they are the perfect time to introduce this important truth.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Remind your child during moments of discipline that only God can be good all the time, but that he will help us to want to do good and he will forgive us when we do bad things.
  • Talk about it while reading Bible stories and the characters are making bad choices.
  • When someone else sins against them, remind them that everyone makes bad choices and only God is the one who is good to them all the time.

4. You Do Wrong Things

This is the other side of the truth that only God is good – your child does what is wrong. You will have plenty of opportunities to point out this truth that lays the foundation for the fact that your child is a sinner.

As your child continues to grow, they begin to develop a more acute awareness that they do wrong. That often, even when they want to do right, they do wrong. It is this understanding of their helplessness in sin that will ultimately make the sacrifice of Jesus so beautiful to them.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Once again, talk about it during moments of discipline.
  • Pray to God, asking for help to do the things He wants you do to.
  • Let your child know that even mommy and daddy do bad things. I remember the first time I told my oldest this – he couldn’t believe it!
  • Eventually connect truths 3 and 4 by talking about how God who is only good cannot be with people who are sinful.

5. The Good News

Once you get to the point where your child understands the four previous truths, the reality of the gospel begins to come into focus. It all comes together.

God created this world, He is in charge of it, He gives it life.

God is always good, all the time.

Because we do wrong, we do things that are against God, we cannot be with an only good God. And life without God is not life at all – it is the punishment of death.

But, the God who created us loves us so much that He came to the earth as Jesus and died for us. He took our punishment of death.

Now, because Jesus died for that bad stuff we do, we can live forever with God. All we have to do is believe.

Keep On Evangelizing

This is not something that you try and sit down and explain to your two year old all in one conversation. No, it is something you weave into conversation over the days, months, and years.

Sometimes the conversations are just a word or two spoken by you, sometimes the deep conversations coming from the hearts of such a tiny little one will shock you.

Keep pressing on. Keep speaking this truth into your child’s life. Keep leading them to the way, the truth, and the life.

Keep planting seeds, trusting that the Master Gardener will bring about a harvest in His perfect time.

My little three year old didn’t fully understand what I was trying to explain to him that night. However, someday he will, and that will be a beautiful day indeed.