Children at the Heart of 21st Century Mission Strategy

On October 10th, 2009, posted in: 4/14 Window, Blog, Tami's Blog by

4/14 Window

In September I was excited to join more than 300 international Christian leaders at the 4/14 Window Global Summit in New York. The gathering was called by AD2000 and Beyond Movement founder Luis Bush, a renowned missiologist. In the 1990s he was a champion of ministry to the 10/40 Window, the part of the world that’s least-reached geographically. Today he and other leaders are calling for a new missional focus on children, especially those between the key ages of 4 and 14: The 4/14 Window.

The 4/14 Window refers to the world of children between the ages of 4 and 14. The term was introduced in a 1996 publication by Dan Brewster, then program director for Compassion International. Brewster’s article was based on research by Bryant Myers, who showed that “85% of those who become Christians do so between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.” (“The State of the World’s Children: A Cultural Challenge to the Christian Mission in the 1990s” presentation delivered at an Evangelical Foreign Mission Association executive retreat.) The sad thing is that although children and teenagers make up half of the world’s population, as little as 10% of mission efforts are currently directed toward them.

As an advocate for children at risk, not only am I familiar with the 4/14 Window, I am passionate about it: I know that children are worthy of ministry because they are close to the heart of Jesus. Mark 10:14 says, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Children are the most receptive to the gospel, and positioned to be a mighty force to bring others to faith in Christ. Children have their whole lives ahead of them to live out and share their faith, and they also have time to be long-term agents of change. It is vital to reach children while they are young and equip them to make an impact throughout their lives.

Not only are children important recipients of the gospel, children have a tremendous capacity to minister to others. Last year in my daughter’s first grade class, there was a mission project surrounding the needs of orphaned children. There was a class lesson on orphan life, and a challenge to send shoes and begin praying for their peer group throughout the world. 91 pairs of shoes were sent overseas, and children prayed fervently for the children without families.
Questions to Consider:

1. Do you and your family, church, or ministry place a high value on children and see them as worthy of ministry?
2. What steps might you take to ensure that children between the ages of 4 and 14 hear the gospel of Christ and are equipped to be Christ’s ambassadors?
3. What other ways might you respond to this urgent appeal for a new mission focus on the 4/14 Window?

Tami Snowden

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