5 Reasons Why Kids are a Value Not a Strategy for Churches
I served a the Family Life Pastor in the church I helped start in Charlotte, NC. Like many churches we would publicly say that children were a value. Unfortunately, it wasn’t true for us and isn’t true for most churches. Let me explain. The emphasis on kids was simple. It was a to reach their parents. Have a fun, entertaining, dynamic children’s ministry and they will drag their parents to church. It was the parents we were after and the kids were a strategy to get them. Don’t believe me. The sad underlying reality is that kids can’t keep a church going. They don’t give. Their parents do. Think that’s harsh? Then why do so many kids leave the church when they go to college? Because they haven’t been discipled. They were a strategy not a value. Did I disciple some kids? Absolutely. Was that the focus of my ministry? Not so much. Now that I have kids, I’m repenting of that. Kids aren’t a strategy. They are a value. Here’s why.
1. God loves kids. Kids are important to God. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus uses children as a model of what a disciple should be. Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about how to disciple kids. You can’t get around the fact that God loves kids and we should too.
According to Barna:
2. 85% of Christian accept Jesus before 15. Kids are the most receptive audience to the gospel. It’s crazy not to value them and intentionally disciple them.
3. Most moral beliefs are set by age 9. It’s true that its hard to teach an old dog new tricks. If we want to change the world we do it through kids.
4. A person’s spiritual identity is set by 13. If you want disciples in the church who serve, give generously, reach out to others, share the gospel, etc., then we must teach our children to do it. If they learn it as a child, they will live it as an adult.
5. Children are a value to Satan. Children are under attack in our culture. Kids are constantly bombarded with anti-Christian messages in school and from the media. When we don’t value children and our enemy does, we lose our children.
Kids need to be more than a strategy in our churches. We have to value them. We have to be intentional about discipling them, intentional about bringing them out of spiritual poverty and cultural oppression. We have to look out for their best interest because they can’t do it themselves. The church has to champion children. Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox. As always I welcome your thoughts and comments.
* Credit to Compassion. I googled the Barna 4/14 window and found a great post from Compassion that listed some of the points above. It saved me a lot of time in tracking down that info. Compassion is a amazing ministry that values children more than any I know.