A Movement Among Us

Originally Published in ALife Magazine

“And a little child shall lead them . . .”

There is a movement afoot in the world of church today, bringing with it fresh ideas, shifting focus, and new strategies. This movement has the ability to completely shake what we thought was the most important and to challenge us to look anew at what our churches value. This movement is about kids.

In 1990 Christian strategist Luis Bush coined the term “10/40 Window” to refer to the geographical region of the eastern hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator,where the largest group of unreached people live. For more than 20 years, mission’s agencies, denominations, churches and individual Christian have pulled together to reach the 10/40 Window. Encouraging indicators show us that the continuing effort is bearing fruit. In 2008 the annual growth rate of Christ followers in the 10/40 window was almost twice that of those outside 10/40 Window. In 1990 2.5 percent of the population in the 10/40 Window were Christ
followers; in 2005 that number was 4.7. 1 God is at work!

In 2009 Bush urged a new missional focus: the 4/14 Window. Instead of a geographical region, the 4/14 Window refers to a demographic age group. There are 2.2 billion kids in the world, and those aged 4 to 14 are the largest unreached people group today. In the United States, nearly 85 percent of people who make a decision for Christ do so between the ages of 4 and 14.2
The window of opportunity is huge!

We must realize that the reaching this generation will require an effort as concentrated and focused as that given to the 10/40 Window. Before the age of 13, kids are deciding what they believe; after age 13, they start defending what they believe. Imagine the impact if we raise up a generation of Christ-following kids who have a biblical worldview, who understand that lost
people matter to God, who grasp the power of prayer and who are willing to take risks because the God who loves them has called them to. It just might change what our world looks like. It just might change us.

The beautiful wonderful thing about kids is that they know no social boundaries, and their enthusiasm for life is contagious. I could tell story after story of lives—and whole families—who have been changed because of God at work through a child. What happen if kids aged 4–14 begin reaching their families, their friends, their teachers—and beyond? We have before us a challenge and within that challenge, a blessing. The kids of today are poised to change the teenagers, college students and adults of tomorrow.

Alliance churches across North America are revamping their children’s ministries with the 4/14 Window in mind. Outreach, specifically toward children, is becoming a top priority in many C&MA churches. In Belgium, Wisconsin, leaders at Alliance Community Bible Church have just hired their second staff member, a children’s director. Members of this little church
have a heart for the lost kids in their community, and through the help of the district and a private donor, they are making aggressive steps to reach them. At Grace Church in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, the theme for children’s church is GLOCAL—Global Reach, Local Touch. The workers are introducing kids to other cultures with the goal of lowering barriers and allowing their kids
to be open to God’s call to any situation in the world. At Faith Community Church in Red Oak, Iowa, every fifth Sunday of the month has a missions focus, where kids learn about other cultures, hear what God is doing among those people and places and spend time praying for lost people both near and far.

Whether they’re volunteer or staff, these children’s leaders have taken up the call to raise up world changers. They’ve seen the open window, and they’ve recognized their role in the effort. As we reach the 4/14 Window I believe we are going to see God at work in the least expected ways, through our very littlest for His glory.

Melissa J. MacDonald

Melissa MacDonald, a consecrated worker, spends her time speaking, training, coaching and encouraging churches to “be the Church” for the sake of our next generations.

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