Children Need Jesus
Children Need Jesus
Last week I wrote about Generation Alpha, the children born (and being born) between 2010 and 2024. I mentioned that by the time this generation is complete, in December 2024, Generation Alpha births will total two billion, and they will be the largest generation in the history of the world. So this age group is a big mission field, now and in the immediate future.
If you were to study the growing churches in NZ you will observe a strong children’s and youth ministry, most always.
Historically gospel centre-ed churches have invested in children’s and youth. The reason being that teaching the Bible and spiritual formation during a child’s formative years was seen as essential work for the local church. Think Boys and Girls Brigade, Bible in Schools, Children’s holiday programmes, camps, afterschool clubs, and of course Sunday School.
Sadly, today in NZ we have the smallest percentage of children and teenagers attending local church based programmes since the heyday of the 60’s. There are a number of reasons that explain this:
- Overall church attendance is down and continues to decline. ‘Committed’ families are attending less regularly.
- Today’s parents, sadly are nowhere near as concerned about teaching the Bible to their kids as in earlier generations.
- Too many stories of abuse of one kind or another by ministers and priests resulting in less ‘trust’ in the church.
- Very few ‘specialist’ workers feeling called to this age group over the long haul.
- So many of the folks that are working with children and teenagers have a weak if not deficient understanding of the gospel.
- So many competing options on Sundays.
So, without a doubt there are challenges but when has that stopped a visionary leader from determining to address an issue and think and pray for a solution.
Jesus is still saying “let children come to me”. The great D.L. Moody once said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God”. And Billy Graham said, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren are not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith”.
Pastor, can I encourage you today to take a close look at what is happening in and through your church for children and teenagers? Is a new vision needed? Is it time for some new and bold initiatives? I think you will find a lot of support in your church if you made kids ministry a priority. It’s time……..children need Jesus like they have never needed him before.
The winners of the Generation Alpha book draw are, Mike Enright, Lead Pastor at Eastview Baptist and Erik Schilperoort, Care Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Congratulations! The book will be on it’s it way very soon and thank you to all who entered.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.