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Seven Ways Libraries Can Share the Gospel with Children
By: Skip Arnhart

What better time than now for church libraries to become classrooms for evangelism? The church library can play an important part in communicating the Gospel to children.

Children are precious to God and need guidance in maturing spiritually. Scripture tells us to, "Train a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). Going the right direction means to align one's life in accordance with the Bible. Training, then, is simply teaching children to obey Scripture. Part of the training process involves introducing children to Christ in clear terms and, when appropriate, guiding them to a personal relationship with Him.

Who is responsible for this training? Obviously, parents bear the greatest burden for training their children. However, the church must bear a certain amount of responsibility also. As the accountability network, support system, and communication medium God has established for His people, the church should be actively involved in sharing Christ with children.

In 1876, the founder of the library cataloging system, Melvil Dewey, wrote that when a library is in a school, the librarian is in the highest sense a teacher. What better time than now for church libraries to become classrooms for evangelism. Here are seven ideas to help the library become an active participant in sharing Christ with children.

1. Purpose: Partner with the church staff to define a clear evangelistic path for the library.

2. Matrix: Partner with the childhood ministry leadership to brainstorm ideas, discuss materials, plan evangelistic events/activities, train individuals, and pray.

3. Organize: Organize the library to be user-friendly (have regular hours, properly arranged materials, variety in the collection, etc.)

4. Prayer: Start a prayer group in the library to pray regularly for children, teachers, parents, and ministry.

5. Church Library Team: Build a godly, creative, and evangelistically minded team that loves children.

6. Initiate: Intentionally conduct evangelistic events. Consider these ideas: provide a children's reading club (include age-appropriate evangelistic books and reward* progress with such items as evangelistic book covers, bookmarks, bracelets, and others), host a video day, or offer a story time (using evangelistic themes).

7. Celebrate: Simply celebrate the opportunities you have to share. Do not get discouraged by few or no decisions; recognize that not all children will accept Christ. Children reach an understanding of the Gospel at different ages based on God's timing. Remember, God does not hold us accountable for the number of children making decisions, only for being a consistent witness.

With proper planning and initiative, the church library can be an effective tool in communicating the Gospel to children. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14). Their hands are in yours. What will you do?

Skip Arnhart is a children's evangelism specialist for the North American Mission Board.

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