FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — “Here’s my daddy Matt, and here’s my momma Hope, and I’m Madison. And we’ve come to tell you about Jesus.”
As early as age 5, Matt Queen’s oldest daughter Madison introduced her family this way in door-to-door evangelism.
“Every single time my daughter would do that, we always got to share [the Gospel],” said Queen, an evangelism professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Nobody ever said ‘no’ to Madison.”
Queen later did this with his youngest daughter Matia as well, with similar success. In one instance when a woman answered the door, Matia, then just 4, introduced the family and then said, “And we would like to tell you about Jesus. Can we?”
The woman said “yes.” But when Queen began to share the Gospel, the woman interrupted.
“Wait a minute,” she said. “I don’t mind hearing about Jesus and what you want to tell me, but I want to hear it from her.”
Matia was not yet a believer. While Queen had brought her evangelizing before, he had never taught her any basic steps for sharing the Gospel. Realizing, however, this would be the only way for the woman to hear the Gospel at that point, as well as a potential teaching experience for Matia, Queen consented to let her share.
“Now, it wasn’t as polished as someone who maybe has had [a course in] Contemporary Evangelism before,” Queen recalled, “but she talked about Jesus coming because of our sin and dying and being resurrected, and ‘You can go to heaven because of Jesus.’ And though there was more I would have liked to see her put in there, she put the Gospel in there and said, ‘And you need to accept this too.'”
The woman did not come to faith there on her porch, but Queen nevertheless deemed it a “proud father” moment.
“A lot of times, we talk about the Gospel being so easy to understand that a child can understand it,” Queen reflected. “Well, in that case I learned that not only can a child understand it, but a child can explain it too.”
Beyond opening doors for Gospel conversations, Queen had a particular purpose in bringing his daughters along on his evangelistic outings even before they became believers.
“I took my daughters evangelizing with me … because I wanted them to hear the Gospel over and over and over again. And not only did I want them to hear it over and over and over again so that hopefully the Holy Spirit would bring them to a point of conviction, but I also wanted them to do it so that they would know that this is what normal Christians do,” said Queen, who holds the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“Chair of Fire”) and serves as associate director for doctoral programs in Southwestern’s Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.
When his daughters — now ages 13 and 7 — later professed faith in Christ, Queen said those early experiences enabled them in their subsequent evangelism efforts to “go beyond an introduction of who we are to an introduction of who Jesus is. So when they got saved, they had already been evangelizing; it was always a natural thing. They already knew how to introduce themselves; now I began to give them the tools to share the Gospel.”
Madison and Matia have since used these tools to great effect, sharing the Gospel door-to-door, with servers at restaurants and with visitors to church. Another “proud father” moment occurred last October when Queen received a text message from Madison, saying, “Guess what, Dad? I just led my first person to the Lord!” In fact, she had led three people to the Lord. Queen still has a screenshot of the text message saved on his phone.
“My daughters both have a passion to tell people about Jesus,” he said, “and I don’t even have to prompt them now; it’s just a natural thing.”
With his personal experience in mind, Queen encourages Southwestern students to bring their children along with them in their evangelism. Whenever men and women bring strollers to the seminary’s daily evangelism outings, asking, “Is it OK for me to bring my children?” Queen always responds, “Yes!” explaining that bringing children along not only exposes them to the Gospel but also provides a model of evangelism for when they, hopefully, come to know the Lord themselves. Such was the case for Queen’s daughters and he prays that it will be so for Southwestern students and their families as well.