“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
While the church has not always been in the dark regarding the urgent nature of teaching our children with excellence and reaching out to the children of the world, a strong case can be made that we have forgotten these God-given principles somewhere along the way.
- Every year the world population is adding enough children to double the population of Russia and 70% are being born into non-Christian homes.
- Children make up 1/3 of the world population and roughly 27% of the church and yet, on average, only an estimated 3% of ministry budgets are directed at reaching and teaching them.
For years in missions we have focused on the so-called 10/40 window, a term coined by mission’s strategist Luis Bush for the regions of the eastern hemisphere (between 10 and 40 degrees of the equator) with the greatest poverty and least access to the Gospel. At the turn of this century, reinforced by the publishing of George Barna’s landmark work regarding ministry to children, “Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions,” Mr. Bush introduced a new “window” into the Christian missionary lexicon. The “4/14 window,” so named for the age window where most people meet Jesus and are transformed by his gospel, is the age window where our “worldview” and personal character are formed. Just like the 10/40 window before it, the 4/14 window is meant to be a catalyst and rallying cry for focusing the time, talent and treasure of the church in a specific direction. Nine years later the question now is; is it working?
What are we doing? What should we do? What will be the churches’ impact on the next generation? How do our investments stack up against our rhetoric? Are we aiming our time and treasure towards children in the church, in the family, and through local and international missions?
 3% number is an estimation taken from an unpublished study conducted by a large, reputable missions organization, using data from both inside and outside the United States.