by Pastor Scott Godinez
Did you know that Barna Research Group conducted a study to determine the age of “salvation” for Christians in America? Their findings report 43% of all American Christians, made a decision for Christ before the age of 13.
And only 15% of all Christians were saved after they turned 19.
These are startling statistics! What would it mean for the future of the church, if the children attending felt unloved, unengaged, and unvalued on Sunday mornings?
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from being extinct.”
How much more true is this for the church as well? “…another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10 The church is never more than one generation away from being forgotten. So how can we avoid falling into the same pitfalls and mistakes, in order to ensure the legacy of faith in our children and grandchildren?
Would anything in our church look different if we decided that investing in our children is the most important outreach for the future of the Church?How do we not become victims of tradition, staunch in our approach to how we think kids “ought” to learn.
We must engage children at eye-level. This requires the submission of our adult-centered priorities and paradigms and an adoption of a child’s mind. What 8 year old girl dreams about painting her room beige? What 11 year old boy runs excitedly into a room so he can jump into his gray-colored metal chair?
But it’s not just about appearances. Do our kids need more leaders who expect them to act like cordial adults on Sunday morning? Of course not. Imagine how much more engaged and memorable a Bible lesson would be on the story of Joshua and the fall of Jericho, if the kids got to march around a giant paper mache wall and tear it down??
With adults we are taught to judge the given message of a speaker. But with kids, often the messenger is the message! We need as many volunteers who are ready to run, jump, dance, and laugh out loud with our kids as we show them how much fun and joy there is to be found in loving, and being loved by our Jesus! You could be that person!
We need more ministries that invite kids to be kids! Our new preteen ministry is a wild, colorful tornado of laughing, speaking out of turn, and moderately controlled chaos all centered on our greatest treasure, Jesus.
The environment of our meetings and events are designed to engage students with age-appropriate activities and high-energy teaching that connects with their tendency to focus on several things at once. Not to mention our volunteer team is just as wild as the kids are—and ten times more excited to teach them about JESUS!
Our summer programs for kids this year will continue to remind them that they are prioritized and valued at Cornerstone Church!
Yes, they are probably going to make messes, mistakes and spill meatballs during lunch.
But when I learn that nearly 50% of all Christians are making a decision with eternal significance at this age, I’ll be the first person on my hands and knees cleaning up spaghetti if it means one more soul saved by the Gospel!
Half of the people in my house are unsaved. My wife and I have two beautiful little girls who know the name, Jesus, but have yet to understand the depth of their need for him. And so, many mornings if you see us driving by in our van, you’ll see a 30 year old dad singing along to last summer’s VBS soundtrack (or anything else sung by Yancy) arms waving, and windows down showing my daughters the joy of praising our Lord!
So when you see a child in church this Sunday, maybe they’re staring at you in service, and watching you. Go ahead and stick your tongue out at em’, make a funny expression and praise God for the opportunity to be face-to-face with the future of the Church!