Save Our Children
Gary D. Erickson
“Save our children” is more than a slogan. It is our survival! We are always one generation from extinction. Each generation must pass the apostolic baton to the next, otherwise this message will be lost. Children are our greatest resource for the perpetuation of the church. They are the easiest harvest to reap and the easiest to mentor.
It is one thing to miss the boat, but George Barna, a Christian researcher, says that in all of his research and evaluation he “missed the ocean” concerning the importance of ministry to children for church growth in today’s culture.
The world is looking for the church to help with raising their children. Consider the following quotes:
* Newsweek magazine reported that within the general public 81% of mothers and 78% of fathers say they plan to send their young children to Sunday school or some other kind of religious training.
* “Our children will define the future, which makes them our most significant and enduring legacy.”
* “Only 3 percent of the nation’s 13-year-olds have a biblical worldview.”
* “Social scientists have known for years that the moral foundations of children are generally determined by the time the individual reaches age nine.”
* “Having devoted more than two decades of my life and all of my professional skills to studying and working with ministries of all types, I am now convinced that the greatest hope for the local church lies in raising godly children.”
* “More than two out of three of them [parents] abdicate that responsibility [spiritual training] to their church.”
* “Our studies among kids show that 4 out of every 5 churched 13-year-olds do not know what worship is, and a substantial majority of them admit they do not feel they have ever experienced God’s presence.”
* “The research reinforces one simple but profound truth over and over again: If you want to have a lasting influence upon the world, you must invest in people’s lives; and if you want to maximize that investment, then you must invest in those people while they are young. . . . The more diligent we are in these efforts, the more prodigious a harvest we will reap.”
George Barna was asked, “If you were a pastor of a typical church today, what practical things might you do to reach those outside?” One of the five answers was as follows: “I’d focus the majority of our outreach resources on children, not adults. Few adults get converted. The vast majority of people who ever embrace Christ do so when they’re young, usually before they hit the teen years. Every adult who’s interested in doing meaningful ministry would be encouraged to find a way to serve the kids in the church and community. And I’d do whatever we could to empower the kids to share their faith with their family and friends.”
Children come into the world helpless and dependent. These little infants need vigilant nurturing and without it they would die within hours. They are weak and vulnerable and have to be fed, clothed, coddled, burped, changed, and washed. In other words, they have to be “saved.” They cannot survive alone. Just as they are dependent physically, they are also dependent spiritually.
Even though children come into the world with innate physical, mental, and emotional characteristics, they are also like unprogrammed computers waiting for program downloads to mold them into productive adults, a process that ultimately determines their eternal destiny. Each experience adds awareness, understanding, and meaning to their new life. We must provide frequent encounters with biblical truth, godly love, and the Holy Spirit.
We have to take time to assist these vulnerable and developing little people. They cannot make it alone. Just as we nurture them physically we must nurture them spiritually, by mentoring, teaching, disciplining, and modeling. It is up to adults to make provisions for the children. It is a hostile world, a world that desires to take these children from us. The secular world invests millions of dollars annually to brainwash children’s minds to buy, think, and indulge in various sensual pursuits. If they can recruit another sinner, money can be made from their vices.
The annual Save Our Children fund drive raises money for the important ministries of Sunday school. No other endeavor in the United Pentecostal Church International reaches for children like the Save Our Children effort. Thank you for caring!
This article “Save Our Children” by Gary D. Erickson was excerpted from: Christian Educator Magazine (UPCI) Fall 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.