Encounters: Little Evangelists

By Andi Hines

What do you think of when you hear the word evangelism? Maybe you recall knocking on doors, missions trips, or curbside testifying. But there’s also a more general form of evangelism, one that is profound without the use of biblical tenets. There’s hardly a better example than the wonder in creation being shared by a little child. 

Our world was created by divine intellect and power, an entire creation demonstrating God’s glory, representing His power and ability. At the beginning of Genesis, in the creation account, God repeatedly called His handiwork “good.” All we know — the world we interact with daily — was divinely created. How can we not see our Lord in its beauty? Still, life can be so demanding that we miss the familiar, natural wonders surrounding us. How precious is it then when children share their amazement with us? It is their witness, declaring God’s glory.

Here is the first tale of my encounters with these little evangelists:

As Christmas neared, I took a special little man out holiday shopping. As I drove, he chattered on in the backseat — nonstop, as is his lively nature. He was excited about creating an app, which itself is a surprising suggestion from a 6-year-old. His app would translate dogs’ thoughts into words we could hear, so “then we could talk to them.” What? I wondered. 

Our shopping was fruitful and fun, for he is always such a blessing to be with. But later at home, I couldn’t forget his excitement and his view of a possibility in creation that I hadn’t considered. I challenged myself to think through what he saw as possible. As I did, I realized God was asking me to think about Him in a unique way, to contemplate an element of His character, which I hadn’t explored before. 

I set out to understand why I don’t see the possibilities in God’s creation that my little evangelist does? I reflected on it for days. What would it sound like to hear my dog’s thoughts? Would they tell me that I’ve been kind? Is my dog happy? Does he feel loved?

Moreover, I’m asking myself what God would have me learn? Anytime He touches your heart in a way that pauses your thoughts, He is expecting you to listen. What did I need to learn? 

Anytime He touches your heart in a way that pauses your thoughts, He is expecting you to listen.

Will He ask me one day how well I cared for those smaller members of creation? We are given sovereignty over the creatures of the earth, which implies we’re responsible, and being responsible includes being accountable. These smaller creatures are part of our created world. They represent an unusual element of His glory. The love and care I give them will reflect my respect, or a lack of it, for God’s diverse love and imagination.

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals.”

Proverbs 12:10a.

My second little evangelist story is from many years ago and involves my two older children and my mom.

My daughter and son often spent weekends with their grandmother, who lived on a large farm. There the three of them loved to wander about outdoors. My mother was herself, totally enamored with the beauty, stillness, and colors of creation and loved to share that with the children.  

It was a beautiful fall day when the coolness of the air meets the warmth of the sun. They hiked up the steep hill on through the upper field of tall, dry grass, talking and laughing as they went. 

As they walked, my son noticed a Monarch butterfly fluttering nearby. The Monarch butterflies migrate some 2,000 miles in the fall to Mexico, where they rest through the winter. It’s not uncommon to see one or two here occasionally, but this day was different. 

Soon my daughter caught sight of a large group of Monarchs resting on the nearby pasture brush. But as the three explorers looked around, they realized the butterflies weren’t just on the brush. They were everywhere! 

Suddenly my daughter, my son, and my mom began running through the grass, loosening a vast cloud of Monarchs into the air. In the sunlight, they were vibrant yellow and rose like leaves in the wind swirling all around the three — thousands of these small miracles in the air crying, “Look at me! Look at what God has made!”

This memory still makes my children smile, confirming the truth of God’s divine design.

“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.”

Romans 1:20

Our last story introduces a special little girl nicknamed Sweetness for her sweet smile and tender heart. 

When she was tiny, reading was one of her favorite things. She loved hearing stories read over and over again and could often be found pretend reading to herself. But as she grew, questions about God also interested her.

One afternoon, as we sat at the table coloring, she asked me why Jesus came to earth? What was He supposed to do? I tried to answer with an attitude of hope. He came here because He loved us. Still, she persisted.

“But, why did He have to die, Nanny? Why couldn’t God send somebody else?” I told her there was no one else who could make things right. 

Then came the words of a young heart that can encourage us all, “I love Jesus so much.”

The children in these stories recognized God’s presence, work, and wonder in such beautiful, fundamental ways. Their amazement, when shared, becomes a pure form of evangelism that we all benefit from sharing. Next time your little one talks about the wonder of God — no matter how child-like it may seem — listen carefully, for there is a blessing of God’s truth being shared.

What is your own little evangelist story? We would love for you to share it with us by commenting below. 

Andi Hines is a graduate of George Fox Evangelical Seminary with a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation. She has served God where she’s been called in areas of prayer, teaching, and devotional writing. She has attended UFC for about two years and counts herself blessed to be a member of the UFC women of faith! Andi’s husband is now with the Lord, but our God has provided for all her needs, each and every time. She and her children have realized a deeper appreciation for “family.” Andi loves gardening, baking, and writing, but Bible study and rabbit trails are her favorite things.