Every child is discipled by something. What is shaping your own child’s mind and heart?
What shaped the minds and hearts of Baby Boomers? According to ARG Research, of those who regularly attended church as children, 22% of the 60s age group have stopped attending.¹
Pew Research states that the number of adults in the church dropped 8% in just seven years from 2007 to 2014.²
A whopping 53% of the 20s age group have stopped attending church. Of millennials, 35% declare that the Bible has errors or that they don’t know if it has errors, 20% believe there are books other than the Bible that are inspired by God, and an additional 10% don’t know if there are. When asked about works-based salvation, 65% believe that if you are a good person you will go to heaven when you die.³
What will be said of the next generation growing up—Generation Z?
Will the young ones in the church today grow up and leave as well? It can be easy to assume that children are receiving discipleship just because they’re going to church, but, sadly, that isn’t always the case in reality. Are we equipping children with something beyond the idea that “I’m a Christian because I grew up in the church”?
As a result of so many Millennials leaving the church, much fewer Americans will grow up in the church or even hear about Jesus as a child. Who will lead them to Jesus? And how?
It can also be easy to assume that children aren’t ready for solid truth. As a result, discipleship for kids can tend to get watered down or not be communicated in full truth. However, children are indeed able to receive and understand truth. Think about this statement that Jesus makes:
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14). What could Jesus’ statement tell us about the ability of children to grasp truth? What does it seem like Jesus is envisioning will happen when children come to Him?
Does Jesus plan to just give them a pat on the head and send them away? Or is He interested in stirring their hearts and growing a relationship with them? Does He want them to wander in their own way? Isn’t He intentionally calling children to walk with Him? Is He planning to give them a junior version of His Spirit, or is He wanting to impart to them His full, abundant life?
Who are the hands and feet of this same Jesus today? Who is He calling to bring children to Him? Think about how exciting it is to have the privilege and responsibility of cultivating a child’s relationship with Jesus. Studies show that people are often most receptive and ready for truth as children. Let’s not overlook this critical opportunity to make disciples of Jesus, starting from the ground up in children’s lives.
Be resolved to make disciples of Jesus in 2018. Are there children down the street that you can reach? Kids in your church? What about around your own kitchen table? Are the children closest to you falling through the cracks?
Over my next several posts, we’re going to walk through a series on the who, what, where, and how of children’s discipleship. We’re going to explore evangelism outreach, children’s church programs, family devotions, and training for children’s ministry teams.
For now, take a look at our Family Discipleship page. We’ve created a resource that can easily be utilized in the home for family devotions or in an outreach setting. The Family Discipleship Curriculum provides five lessons in your inbox every week that include interactive Bible studies, activities, missionary stories, and more. Watch the video below to learn more about this discipleship tool, and be sure to look into the free one-week trial.