David Goodwin found that "74% of church growth comes from the children who are sitting in your church right now"... So where is the harvest greatest?
Daron has a soapbox moment!
When I first left college I wanted to be an evangelist like Billy Graham and change the world....
Along the way I had a Damascus type experience.. My eyes were opened and I saw the complete harvest field and in particular the spot light shone on children.
David Goodwin in his Australian "Lost in transition" research found that
"74% of your churches growth comes from the children who are sitting in your church right now... The question is are they really our priority right now?"....where the harvest is greatest?
The Adventist bias is that real evangelism occurs when we preach about beasts and dragons, timelines and prophecies and when we preach an adult message to adults.....Any child programs are designed to use the children to reach the adults... The children are "minded" whilst the real evangelism happens in the main hall....and we call this the gospel? Well I have a problem with that!
I remember as a young pastor having to delineate between what they called biological growth (children) and kingdom growth (adults from outside the church) the biological growth was more or less written off and the kingdom growth celebrated... I have a problem with that because didn't Jesus say that the Kingdom belongs to children?
Why is it that we celebrate a story of brokenness and overlook the child who has grown up in the church... They both need Jesus just as much!
Yes we need to reach and celebrate the prodigal off the street but it is much much more than that! We need to celebrate children full stop. They generally make their decision to follow Jesus by the age of 14 and their moral foundation is set by the age of 9... What are we really doing for the 0-9 yr olds?
It is no wonder that Jesus placed children in the centre... It is no wonder that He declared that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to children. It is no wonder that He talked about millstones around the necks of those who abuse children!
It is time that we as leaders and members realise that little people are just as important as big people in our churches.
in my opinion Pastors and leaders need to get real and minister to all who make up the church!
A "real" pastor/leader visits the children's sabbath school regularly and sits with the children, tells stories and changes lives.
A "real" pastor/leader visits children in their homes and plays Lego and dolls.
A real pastor/leader allows children access to the rites, rituals sounds and smells of the worship service just as much as the adults...
A real pastor/leader celebrates a child's decision as much as the person off the street.
A real pastor/leader preaches to the little four year old child sitting on its mothers knee as well as the 99 year old sitting in a wheel chair as well as everyone in between.
Maybe if we as adults truly ministered alongside, to and with children, our churches would be full and overflowing!
When I first left college I wanted to be an evangelist and change the world! I still do... I am just casting my net where the harvest is greatest!
Daron gets off his soapbox, gets down on the floor opens his battered old gladstone bag, pulls out his balloons and begins to twist a story!