REACHING THE YOUNG FOR CHRIST
by Charles (Chuck) Robey
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Does your mind ever carry you back to your childhood ? Do you ever day dream of the good times of the past ? Well, I've been there and done that. Reminiscing can be a health experience. Especially, if the day dreams are pleasant. .And the older I get, the more I seem to relive my past.
I remember, as a teen-ager, attending an "open Air Service" in front a local popular drug store. These services were held each Sunday night, by our church. We would sing hymns, pray and testify, as the people would gather around our group. Our pastor would then give a very vigorous sermon, which explained the gospel. Afterwards, he would give an invitation, showing how one may be saved.
One particular night, it was my turn to testify. As a teen, and a relative new Christian, I was thrilled to death. I boldly stepped forward, quoting the scripture verse ( Philippians 1:21 ), "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" This particular scripture verse was followed by my giving examples of the various ideas that people, outside of Christ, lived for. Such as living for fame, living for money, living to satisfy an ego, etc. My conclusion emphasized again the importance of living for Christ, which was a final eternal gain.
Now, some 50 plus years later, this scripture has become much more important to my life than it did then. You see, as a teen, I was just like all other teens, I thought I'd live forever. Although, I was ready to die, Truthfully, I just didn't give it that much thought.
So, with the theme of this witness in mind, I can't help but ask at what age a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ. ( 2 Timothy 1:5 )
According to an International Bible Society, 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth.
And the Barna Research Group survey demonstrate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. Adults age 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.
Regardless of the varied statistics, we have a very young window with which to work.
What does this data tell us ? Parents and church youth workers need to actively be involved in influencing young people by helping them consider making a decision to follow Christ.
How do we Christians do this, witnessing to children for Christ ? Simply just living a Christian life, worthy of imitation. ( Acts 4:20 ) ( Romans 8:12-17 ) You see children and teens are very smart and they can see right through fake Christianity.
Just make your presentation simple but don't jeopardize the gospel. Depending on the age group, there are many good ideas.
For younger groups, consider color coded wordless books, cartoon Bible stories, flannel graph stories etc. One only need visit the local Christian book store for modern ideas.
The older teen-age level is another story. Never, talk down to them. Mixing Bible studies with entertainment and eating works very well, as all kids like music and like to eat pizza. Have skating parties, ice cream parties, cook outs, etc. mixed with Bible studies. One idea, that works rather well, is having a blind date night supper at the church. There are many more ideas, just put on your thinking cap.
The main theme is just show interest to the younger sect. Sometimes we old " fuddy-duddies" forget what it was like to be young.
You see, young people, this day-in-time, just need a little true Christian love.
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Fascinating article, thank you, the statistics are very interesting. So the vast majority of Christians accept Christ prior to the age of 14. I guess one advantage of accepting Christ much later (as I did) is a powerful testimony. But there are disadvantages too: the Christian life can be a great struggle, especially if health has been adversely affected by time spent in the world, notably by alcohol and/or drugs. Thence, the vital importance of "Reaching the Young for Christ". Thanks again for an interesting article. Carl.