By Asst Ps Gift Daniel
Reaching out to children has always been a focus of global outreach across the nations. Recently a number of mission organizations have put a lot of resources to reach out to the 4/14 window. The 4/14 window refers to the global initiative to reach out to the demographic group between the ages of 4 and 14 years. It is estimated that there are roughly 1.2 billion children and youths in the world in this age group. There are some good reasons why outreach organizations suggest reaching the 4/14 window as one of the keys for the future of world missions. I want to highlight some reasons for our awareness. Moreover, a number of us are either serving in the children or youth ministry or have children or grandchildren who are between the ages of 4 and 14.
Outreach research has found that children are the most receptive to spiritual things between the ages of 4 and 14. Children begin their life journey with God rather than away from God. Children are born with a bent towards God, and it is important that we encourage that bent before they drift away from it. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, instructs us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Children, by design, are wired spiritually to know God and to understand spiritual things.
Another reason for the global outreach focus on the 4/14 window is because these are the formative period of life and they are the most needy and vulnerable age group identified by the outreach research. It is said that 85% of our adult personality is formed by the time we reach six years of age. According to Barna, “By the age of 13, one’s spiritual identity is largely set in place.” If we can reach children and youths and guide them when their life perspectives and worldviews are still being shaped, we will set them on a ‘rock’ that cannot be easily moved. Therefore, we must prioritize our efforts to reach the world’s largest, most receptive and most mouldable group, the 4- to 14-year-olds.
Implications for our church:
In 2021, about 12% of Singapore’s population is below the age of 14. In our church, there are roughly over 140 children and youths who fall in the age group of 4 and 14. Let us be mindful of the importance of children and youth ministries in our church. To develop the young people, we need to invest today in the lives of the 4-14ers of our church. I want to suggest few things we can start doing to impact the 4-14 generation of our church.
Let us begin by praying for our children. Let us intercede for our children that they will be protected physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; and that they will grow in character and with godly values.
Let us model to them what it means to be a Christian through our everyday lives. Often with children, spiritual lessons are more caught than taught. Through our lives, we need to model to them what it means to trust the Lord in times of need and in times of abundance.
Let us help our children worship: When the children join the main worship service or our CARE groups (CGs), let us learn to worship together. Let us not consider children as nuisance but as a part of the worshipping community. Sometimes as adults we need to learn to show the validity and value of having children in corporate worship.
Let us reach out to the children we are in contact with. Since children and young people are most receptive to spiritual matters, we need to increase our efforts to reach out to them before they are influenced by the values of the world. Therefore, let us pray and step out of our comfort zones to reach out to children and youths in our midst and outside the walls of our community.
If you want to know more about how you can be involved in our church’s Kids For Christ (KFC) or Teenacity Youth ministry please contact Tracey at email@example.com or Asst Ps Patrick Chan Yin at firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. (Luke 18:16).