The latest research from Barna confirms once again that the majority of people who invite Jesus into their life do so by the age of 18.
Pre-teens really stood out to me in this survey. 43% of people come to Christ in their pre-teen years. The hand off from pre-teen into middle school ministry is a critical time. We must renew our efforts to see pre-teens owning their faith and building solid relationships with other believers.
Another big question is this - Who is responsible for influencing others to Christ before their teen years?
50% were led to Christ by their parents
20% were lead to Christ by a friend
7% accepted Jesus because of a pastor's sermon
1% accepted Christ because of media like Christian television
We see that the majority of people are lead to Jesus by an existing relationship in their life. The two relationships? Parents and friends.
This means, as children's ministry leaders, we should be equipping parents and kids with tools they can use to effectively share their faith.
For parents - one of the best strategies is to host a class for kids who are indicating they want to become a Christ-follower. Parents must attend the class with their child. The class is called Starting Point and has been used by God to lead thousands of kids and parents to Jesus. You can get more info. at this link.
As we place this tool in the hands of parents, they will be much more likely to follow through with confidence and share their faith with their children.
For children - it's important to teach them about sharing their faith with others. I have found that when kids share their faith, it takes their own faith to a deeper level.
If you want kids to share their faith, then you should emphasis this and place tools in their hands that they can use to share the Gospel. That's why I created a 4-week series called "The Blab Lab" that focuses on placing evangelism tools in the hands of children.
Each week, kids get another tool they can use to share their faith at home, in their neighborhood, on their sports team, during lunch break at school, etc.
The series features a quirky professor who, along his sidekick, Crum, invents tools and gadgets that kids can use to share their faith that week.
Kids respond to this and begin sharing their faith. I had one girl who took one of the inventions to school and shared it with her entire public school class (including her teacher).
Place these tools in the hands of your young evangelists and watch how God uses them to share the Gospel.
Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This promise was written to children just as much as it was written to adults. And if we can lay a foundation of evangelism in their life, we can see them become bold and confident in sharing their faith, now as kids and later as adults.