Two surveys released in the last decade arrived at the same conclusion: young people are the most likely to accept Christ. I’m not diminishing evangelism and outreach at any age – but something like 95% of those who claim to have accepted Christ did so prior to age 30. That’s staggering, isn’t it?
I’m glad to know that the research doesn’t tell the whole story. We have several in our number who came to Jesus well after 30. The research does tell me just how important it is that we reach the young people. Some have even documented that the influence you have on a child between the ages of 4 and 14 is so powerful that they have dubbed it the “4-14 period” and focused most of the church’s resources in that direction.
Timothy got his start thanks in part to the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). From his childhood, he knew the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). Some translations even suggest that verse should be rendered “from infancy!”
I hope you’ll think seriously about how you minister to the young people around you. Do you make time for them? Jesus did—even when he was busy and his disciples didn’t want him to. “Let the little children come to me,” he said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) Are you intentional about showing them what Christian manhood and womanhood looks like?
Frederick Douglass said, “It is better to build strong children than repair broken men.” Sounds a lot like the wise man’s saying, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)