Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
– 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
The first time Noah Chappell heard about Jesus, he was very young. But Jesus moves in the hearts of children and uses their lives for His glory every bit as much as He does with you and me. Noah’s story portrays a loving Savior who desires for all to know Him, however great or small. It illustrates the fact that God can use anyone, no matter their age, to help others come to know who He is.
"My mom and dad first told me about Jesus," Noah shares. "Dad told us Bible stories before bed at night and kinda just shared the gospel with us at home. Mom and Dad had talks with us about the gospel all the time and told us how important it was to surrender your life to Jesus."
When Noah was six years old, he made the decision to give his life to Christ and was soon baptized.
After Noah decided to follow Jesus, he knew things would need to change. He knew he wanted to act like Jesus would. "Because I knew if I didn’t change that, then it really wouldn’t show that I had changed," he explains. "I knew I needed to pray to Him a lot more than I used to so that He would help me through life."
Following Jesus also means a beautiful change takes place in your heart and motivation.
"Sometimes I have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong," Noah acknowledges, "but when Pastor Matt is teaching, I hear it and hear the Lord speak to me about something. And when I do wrong, He kinda teaches me through that. When I don’t admit when I’m wrong, a lot of things pop up, and I know He’s telling me that I’m wrong."
As Noah tells it, giving your life to Christ means that you choose Him over yourself. It’s a daily walk that makes a statement: "Whatever you do, you’re gonna do it for Christ and work hard for Him."
Last January, Noah came home and shared with his family about a friend who didn’t know Jesus. Every night, he prayed for his friend to come to know Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Meanwhile, every Wednesday night at Ignite!, BH Kids went through the Bible chronologically. After each Bible story, they discussed how the gospel related to the story and taught the children how to segway from Bible stories into the gospel in conversations.
One day, God gave Noah an opportunity to share the joy he had in Jesus with his friends.
"One time in PE class this boy coughed," Noah begins. "And one of my friends said,
'Why is sickness in the world?'
"Then I got to tell him about Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world. I told him that sickness was caused by sin. And so then, every day at PE, I just continued to talk about Jesus, how He died and was resurrected and that He did it for us."
Something seemed to change in Noah’s friend then. "He listened. I kept sharing, then after that next week or so, he started to go to church. So that was pretty cool."
Noah didn’t stop there. He also shared with other friends at school. He didn’t always see a visible change, but he knew he wanted to continue talking to his friends about the gospel and to trust God to do the work.
"I don’t really remember my other friend saying anything, but I kinda know it got to him. He was interested. He would like turn around to me, and we were face-to-face, and we would talk about it."
Noah is continuing to follow Jesus' call, seeking opportunities to share the good news with others.
When an adult comes to faith in Christ, the life changes are tangible and obvious, making it an exciting – even spectacular – testimony. But when a child comes to faith, what's spectacular is not what the child turns from, rather what he has been freed to never have to experience. When a child comes to faith, the direction of the next 60-80 years of his life is radically changed. And when we consider the countless lives the child will impact throughout his life, and the ways God works in others’ hearts as a result, that's truly spectacular.
Noah Chappell is 10 years old. He has been attending Brook Hills with his parents, Alan and Melissa, and his two sisters, Caroline and Savannah, since they moved to Birmingham in 2014. Noah is also actively a part of Ignite! on Wednesday nights and the BH Kids Ministry.
The purpose of the Ignite! Ministry is to ignite a passion in the hearts of children for Jesus, His gospel, and His great mission.