Salvation is the most important Biblical concept you can teach children. Whatever else you teach them, if you don’t teach your students how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ (how to be saved), then close down your children’s ministry because there’s no point to having one.
I’ll take it a little further. A church children’s ministry does more harm then good when it doesn’t emphasis salvation as the first and essential step in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Kids will grow up believing they’re okay because they go to church and are good when they’re really headed toward an eternity in Hell. It would be better for them not to go to church then to be involved in a children’s ministry that doesn’t emphasis salvation as essential. That may be harsh, but it’s the truth.
One thing every children’s leader should do when teaching children about salvation is to explain what salvation is not. It’s not being good. It’s not just believing in something. (All religions are not the same.) You don’t become a Christian because you go to church or because your parents are saved. There is only one way to be saved and that’s through Jesus Christ.
Another thing children’s leaders need to emphasis is that we’re all sinners. Every single child in your ministry has done something wrong. Every one of them has lied, or stolen, or has been disobedient to their parents, or has been unkind or selfish. Every One needs to be forgiven of their sins.
Children also need to know that Jesus, the Son of God, gave His life, and shed His blood, and rose again so we could be saved. Some children’s ministries no longer emphasis what Christ did on the cross because they don’t want to upset children. But the truth is if your students don’t understand what happened at the cross, they will never accept that sacrifice and be saved.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Lastly children need to know that what Christ did is not enough. They have to make a response to Christ’s sacrifice. That response is to admit that we’ve sinned, ask Jesus to forgive us, accept Christ’s sacrifice, and believe upon Jesus Christ as our savior. We also need to help them understand that believing upon Jesus is more than just agreeing mentally that this happened. It’s surrender our life to Christ and acting upon our belief because Jesus has changed our hearts.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
I know most children’s pastors and leaders already emphasis this, but unfortunately not all do. That’s why this needs to be addressed.
Here’s some blog posts from the past to help you to present the Gospel to children: