It’s becoming “normal” to see young children easily navigating high-tech, high-priced pieces of technology. In Africa, I saw more children with cell phones than with shoes.
Children are ingesting information differently. Chalkboards are now “retro” and popular on craft sites instead of the learning tool I grew up with in the classroom.
The world around us is changing rapidly. Meaning the Church needs to change and adapt along with it if we want to shine the light of God’s Word in the lives of children during their most formative years.
Engaging children with the Gospel at a young age is mission critical. In the past 20 years, research has regularly reported that almost 3/4 of believers worldwide accept Christ before the age of 18, with the percentages dropping drastically after age 14.
That’s why at OneHope we are intently focused on exposing young people to the truth and hope of God’s Word in age appropriate formats that they can easily engage with during what is known as the “4-14 window” (ages 4-14). We also conduct and share original research on the life and trends of children and teens around the world to help us create successful outcome-based ministry resources intended to catalyze life-transformation, not just tick the box of Gospel sharing.
Technology allows us immediate access to mountains of research and knowledge about how learning takes place during the tender childhood and early teenage years. We can even have up-to-the-minute insight into to what kids are receptive to all around the world by looking at what is currently trending. In short, we have all the tools necessary to successfully and relevantly engage children in the 4-14 window with God’s word.
Churches and ministries must tap into this knowledge and adapt their curriculum and missions strategies to leverage influence, collaborate, and partner together. It’s imperative that we utilize the mediums that 4-14-ers are used to engaging and learning with if we have any hope of reaching and ministering to the next generation in an impactful way.
One of the most overlooked phrases of Matthew 19:14, where Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”, might be the one that states “and do not hinder them”.
If we choose not to tap in to what we know about how children ages 4-14 learn, what engages them, what they are “into” and receptive to, then aren’t we in essence “hindering them” from accessing the greatest commodity we could ever give to them in the form of the hope offered in the Word of God?
What are some great strategies and resources you know about that are being utilized to reach lives and shine a light in the 4-14 window?