Celebrate Second-Birth Days!
I wish I could remember the day I accepted Christ. I do remember telling God I was sorry for childhood sins (like stealing a pre-party chunk out of the back of my brother’s birthday cake). I know Christians who can’t remember a time when they didn’t love Jesus, and many wish they could remember the day they chose to follow Him. Help your students add a “second-birth day” to their calendar. (Who wouldn’t want two birthdays?) Write it down, celebrate, and follow up!
Write It Down
When 3-year-old Kelise accepted Christ for the first time, her father, Bryan, encouraged her mother, Kitina, to make a journal entry so they would remember all the details of Kelise’s salvation story. Kitina decided instead to record the day’s events in a letter to be given to her daughter later. As a teacher, you can suggest this idea to parents, help them do it, or simply record the event as a keepsake present. Here are some suggestions for how to write down a child’s salvation story:
As soon as possible, write down your impressions of the day. Include details like who was there, what questions the student(s) asked, and what they said afterwards. For older students, ask them to write a short paragraph describing the event, too. Include this as part of the keepsake. Write your name, church and date on the bottom, especially if you were with them when they accepted Christ. Someday they might want to contact you about it. You can laminate it, or seal it in an envelope, or wrap it like a present. Give it to the parents as a keepsake they can present to their child later on in life.
When anyone makes a decision to follow Christ, the Bible says that all of heaven rejoices. If all of heaven celebrates, we can, too! Bryan and Kitina decided to throw a “spiritual birthday party” for Kelise, complete with a “0” candle to show she was now 0 years old in Christ. It is important for any child, but especially for the ones whose parents don’t have a saving relationship with Christ that you show them how momentous their decision truly is. Celebrating “second-birth days” as a class is one way to do this. Here are some ideas for having a “second-birth day party.”
Have traditional party fare (cake and punch) or create an alternate event. Planting a tree can be a more permanent reminder. Snap a photo of the child next to it. Or organize a party to decorate cross-shaped cookies. Give the child a special gift, such as a new Bible. Teach him or her how to fall in love with God’s Word.
Make a banner or poster featuring the child’s name and a congratulatory phrase. Ask all the members of the group to sign it as another keepsake. Leave time at the end of the party to invite the students to share their own memories of the day they began to follow Jesus. Make this optional, since shy children might be terrified at the prospect of speaking in front of their peers. Select a Scripture verse to give to the child. Read the verse aloud.
One last hint: Use as much or as little time as you’d like. The party can come in the form of 15 minutes at the end of a Sunday school class or as a separate event off church grounds. You can even combine several parties into one big celebration.
Help to disciple the new Christians in your class.
1. Send a “second-birth day” card or letter. In it, encourage the child, letting him or her know how pleased you are. Even parents who don’t know Jesus will likely appreciate your encouraging their child. And kids love receiving their own mail!
2. Call and follow up with their parents. Even non-Christians send their children to Sunday school for moral direction (Barna). Don’t assume they’re not interested. Involve them in the process of discipling their child. Invite them to church if they don’t already come.
3. Facilitate friendship within the group. Children can have a great influence on one another. They can also help each other stand up to negative peer pressure. Draw new kids and new Christians into the group with your attitude and activities. Most of all, teach them to be warm, welcoming friends to others.
Children love to celebrate the day they were born. By recording the day they are born again, you can give them an even better reason to celebrate.
This article “Celebrate Second-Birth Days!” by Stefanie Reubell was excerpted from: www.discipleshipjournal.com website. January 2009. It may be used for study & research purposes only.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”