There is no doubt that children are our future, which is why it is important for churches to spend a lot of time teaching them about the Word. That is the mission of Awana, a “worldwide nonprofit ministry focused on providing Bible-based evangelism and discipleship solutions for ages 2-18,” according to their website.
According to Barna Group’s research findings, a child’s worldview formation is “largely fixed” by the time they turn 13.
“If we’re looking at age 18 as the deadline, we’re actually looking at the wrong deadline,” Markins said.
“It’s not 18, it’s 13, because the Barna Group said worldview formation is set by then. Churches really need to be investing in children, because it’s what we’re doing with the 8-year-olds that is forming what’s going to become the 13-year-olds.”
The church we attend has a hand at shaping our children’s lives in a huge way. The Barna Group’s research also found that “39% of children reported having at least one adult at their church apart from their parents who ‘knows them, loves them and cares for them,'” according to the Christian Post.
“So, what’s the point to pastors and leaders? Markins told Christian Post. “If you cultivate a culture at your church where kids are known, loved, and cared for by other loving, caring adults who are engaging with them, you’re going to … develop children who become teenagers, students, and young adults who have lasting faith.”
Awana will be leading a 2-day forum in Nashville, Tennessee on September 22 and 23 to discuss research findings of the Barna Group and to focus on the “new map” of teaching child discipleship and how to move from the “old map” of teaching, according to Christian Post.
“We want to build a pathway to a better future,” Markins said. “But if we don’t make the decision to move in that direction, at some point the Church in the West is going to realize we’re standing on a burning platform, and we’ve got to move toward formational or discipleship ministry with children.”
For more information about Awana and how to become involved in the movement, you can visit their website at www.awana.org.