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