A child's moral compass is set by the age of nine and if we have not truly reached them and discipled them by the age of 14, then the results after that are relatively slim. Are we genuinely welcoming and ministering to our children?
Daron has a soap box moment…. I weep and gnash my teeth. The church is bleeding and in some cases the church is dying because we have failed to address the issue of discipleship or we address it too late. Consequently our children are leaving the faith and research tells us that many have chosen to make that decision before they reach their teenage years. Discipleship of our children appears to be our blind spot when it comes to issues of faith. Parents outsource the spiritual nurture of their children to the church and school and pay significant dollars to do so. Our schools do a great job but can only do so much if our children's discipleship is not being addressed at home and at church. Churches often write off ministry to children as cute and awesome baby sitting allowing adults to get on with the "real ministry". This is evidenced in the space, time and budget they give to Children's ministries. We often bore them with a watered down gospel that tells prettied up cute stories and cute fun activities but does not change lives. It is also evidenced in the fact that Church worship degenerates to an adult orientated event rather than one that is aimed at all who are in attendance. We then weep or blame the parents when children are not in our church worship services. Our children and our parents know when they are genuinely welcome. There is also a tendency to write off children and their evangelism to some future time and place when they are old enough to understand. We apply theories of social and spiritual development to back our stance. In the meantime our programs and events are no more than holding tanks with pizza thrown in, entertaining them in an attempt to hold them until we think they are ready. The catastrophe is that they are already gone in their hearts and have left or are leaving at the very time we are thinking we should reach them. We have also in the past made our evangelistic message an intellectual message rather than a message of the heart. This has caused us to go after adults rather than reaching our children. Yet when Jesus looks out over the harvest and weeps for it, every second person he weeps for is a child - your child and mine and when it comes to our children, the workers are few! Our Children see through our deception and act on what they see rather than what they hear. They want something that is real and genuine. They want to feel accepted and loved. They want to be involved and valued for who they are now, not for who they might become someday. The research is in! Our discipleship needs to start pre-natal and continue into their teenage years… A child's moral compass is set by the age of nine and if we have not truly reached them and discipled them by the age of 14 then the results after that are relatively slim. Jesus got it. He said to "let the children come to me and do not hinder them!" What is it that we do or don't do that hinders children from getting to Jesus? Why is it that we don't get it? I weep and gnash my teeth. Daron gets off his soap box and mumbling and gnashing his teeth wanders on into the crowded street.