Here are some current movements in which children’s advocates and ministry leaders are teaming up to give every child the opportunity to hear the gospel, be discipled, and be involved in God’s kingdom work, no matter what their age.
4/14 Window Movement
What is the 4/14 Window? The 4/14 Window refers to the world of children between the ages of 4 and 14 years old. The term was introduced in a 1996 publication by Dan Brewster, then program director for Compassion International and based on research by Dr. Bryant Myers, who showed that “in the USA, 85% of those who become Christians do so between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.” Brewster found that in other countries, about 60% reported coming to Christ during in this same age period. Children and teenagers make up half of the world’s population, yet as little as 10% of mission efforts are currently directed toward them.
The 4/14 Window recognizes that children are the most receptive people group 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. The 4/14 Window is a movement of the Holy Spirit to focus God’s church on the 1.2 billion children at risk around the world. The children are suffering in our midst as slave laborers, orphans, prostitutes, and soldiers; and the Church is positioned to answer their cries. The 4/14 Window is a necessary response to Jesus’ command: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mk. 10:14). Jesus did not marginalize children, so neither can we. Jesus set a little child in the midst of His disciples and asked them to form their theology, their ministry focus, around this child.
Questions to Consider
- In what tangible ways, do you, your family, church and/or ministry place a high value on children and see them as worthy of ministry?
- 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 active participants in the Church?
- What other ways might you respond to this urgent appeal for a new missions focus to the 4/14 Window?
Global Children’s Forum and 1 for 50 Training Initiative
The Global Children’s Forum (GCF) is an emerging and growing partnering network of children’s ministry agencies and leaders that operate with a global or major regional focus. Its vision is to ensure that every child in every generation is given the opportunity to engage fully with Jesus, through God’s word. It realizes the strategic nature of evangelizing and discipling the world’s 2 billion children. Since 1 billion children have never heard about Jesus, the GCF believes that this goal needs to be a significant priority for the worldwide church.
The GCF recognizes that there are many layers to discipling children and this makes it imperative to work together. The Forum’s aim is to celebrate what each individual organization does, but to intentionally explore what can be achieved through partnership. Through working together, ministries can generate the ideas and momentum to achieve the paradigm shifts required for the monumental task or reaching every child. The Forum convenes gatherings of global children’s ministry agencies, champions children, fosters collaboration, and connects resources to needs.
At the 2008 forum, participants began to identify some of the gaps and dreams for this journey and formed Action Groups to commit to a range of actions together. In 2009, meetings concentrated on three focused areas in order to generate momentum and action:
- Empowering children
- Equipping those who serve children
- Envisioning and inspiring the body of Christ on behalf of children
An outgrowth of these planning sessions was the 1 for 50 Initiative: equipping one children’s leader for every 50 children on the planet in culturally relevant outreach, discipleship, and spiritual nurture.
Julie A, missionary