When Do Most People Accept Jesus Christ?

The probability of accepting Jesus Christ is highest among children under the age of 14.Recently I was working on a message to recruit volunteers into our child evangelism department to support a growth spurt. That’s when I came across some eye-opening research statistics and analysis done by the Barna Research Group out of Ventura, California. This research shows how important it is to keep reaching children while they are still young.

The company’s nationwide surveys have determined the probability of a person accepting Christ as their savior in relation to a person’s age.
The statistics shows that if a person has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior before the age of 14, the likelihood that they ever will decreases significantly. In fact, in the years prior to age 12 are the prime years for reaching a person for making a commitment to Jesus Christ.

• (43%) Nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13.
• (64%) That is two out of three born again Christians accepted Jesus Christ as their savior before their 18th birthday.
• (13%) After that it gets harder; one out of eight born again people made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old.

Other studies by the Barna group shows that the evangelistic impact on people today is getting younger. The study also points out that children and adolescents are most impacted evangelistically by family members and peers, Sunday school, children’s church, and vacation bible school.

Knowing this we should:

• Invest a greater amount of our resources into children’s ministry.
• Start training and encouraging children and teens to share their faith with their peers.
• Better prepare parents for family-based evangelism and discipleship by giving them tools for family devotion time.
• Encourage, train, and equip people of all ages who have accepted Christ as their Savior to share their faith with others.

I am blessed to be a part of a church that values children in both speech and action. We have a wonderful physicality with lots of financial support. Our child evangelism team is comprised of dozens of gifted teachers with a heart children. I wish it was that way everywhere. As I travel to other churches up and down the East Coast; I hear stories from Children ministry leaders about their struggles to survive on a shoe string budget.

I often hear messages from the pulpit on how important children are to the church. Yet sadly, the child evangelism department in many churches today is the least funded. We need to put our money where our mouth is, and increase our support toward the child evangelism department. We need to reach the children at a time when the evangelistic window of opportunity is open the widest; before their spiritual arteries are harden by the cholesterol of a sinful world.

Pastors and Church leaders, your children should not have to survive on the crumbs that fall from your table. They should be served the choice cuts of meat. You have a great opportunity to reach the children of your community. These children won’t stay children forever. They will become valuable adult members of the body of Christ; ready to serve; ready to work. I think the rewards are well worth the costs.

The Barna Research Group Ltd. is an independent marketing research company located in Ventura California. You can find them on the web at http://www.barna.org


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6 Comments

  1. November 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Children are vulnerable and while its nice to bring them to Christ, and I’ve tried only to be scolded by their parents, my Jewish family, in retrospect, the Bible also teaches about adult conversion. Maybe we should wait until children are adults so they know what they’re getting into.

    • lleetaylor said,

      June 20, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Hi Steve, In 1965 not one member of my family was a Christian. Then one day someone invited an 8 year old girl to the Mannassas, Virginia Assembly of God. That little girl repented, and accepted Jesus as here Savior. She did not rest until her parents and siblings where converted. Today every single one of her grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins have become active members in the body of Christ; senior pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, women ministry leadership, Sunday school teachers, etc. Many have already stepped into eternity with Jesus Christ. That little girl was my sister, and I would hate to think how different our lives would be if no one gave her an invitation to give her heart to Jesus. Children can be mighty instruments for God if we just give them a chance.

      • newisrael7 said,

        July 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        LeeTaylor,

        This is a remarkable story. And while it counts, it must also count as the exception to the rule! As a rule, children lack the wisdom to make life altering decisions that influence adults intelligently. Whatever happened to your sister, BTW? That story of yours renders adult graduate education and testimony irrelevant, something I’m sure you didn’t intend! I’m glad for your conversion and that of your family’s, but as a rule, things just don’t happend that way. Alright, I’ll grant you that Jesus permitted child evangelism, but he didn’t engage in it from what we know.

  2. Denny St. Clair said,

    June 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    How true this is today. I just recently returned from a mission trip in Zimbabwe where we were able to do evangelism in the government schools. A door that seems to be closed in America. Literally several thousand accepted Christ as personal Savior in 18 schools. Praise God! We need to wake up and smell the roses. Hhe is returning soon!

    Denny St. Clair

  3. Angela said,

    February 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Thank you for this wonderful piece that says exactly what I needed to read today! Our school is blessed with a number of volunteers who put on a weekly “Good News Club” for our elementary aged students. I am starting to speak with the local churches about funding this worthwhile endeavor but could not figure out what to say. Now I know what the Lord wants me to bring to them!
    Incidentally, we had 11 students out of apx 120 in grades K-4 make first time decisions for Christ in under 2 months. While it is not quite the 1 in 3 stat that I have read about on many sites, it still confirms that this can be done, and I believe that we planted the seed that will spur other children to make the decision in months or years to come!

  4. Kaye Harney said,

    December 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I was saved at the age of nine. I came from a huge family. I started praying for my parents from that day on. They were saved when I was a young adult. All of my children and 3 of my grandchildren are serving the Lord. I am a Children’s Ministry Director and we had 6 children accept Jesus as their savior yesterday! It is not through our works but by the Word of God that these kids made this decision. Never tire of planting seed in the young. Some of these kids will go on to be church leaders, they will go to Christian colleges. Jesus said do not forbid the children. He didn’t have to evangelize to the children as He did the adults. The kids get it!


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