Now, here’s the reality check: Only 2 out of 5 kids in children’s ministry have a positive, meaningful relationship with a mentoring adult.
Two. Out of Five. That’s only 40% of kids in children’s ministry at a given church.
Ironically, that’s nearly the same amount who currently express no religious affiliation. Even more telling than that. Only 53% of churchgoing adults identified “Have a loving, caring relationship with an adult” as an outcome for children’s ministry (75% of ministry leaders agreed). That means half of adult church members and a quarter of ministry leaders did not see developing a meaningful relationship between younger and older generations as an identifiable goal and desired outcome for ministry to children.
The call to make disciples has always been here. Our children have always been here. Paul spoke directly to them in the letters he wrote to the church. Jesus put a child in the middle of all his disciples and declared the least to be the greatest in the kingdom of God.
American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once said, “The great Christian revolutions come not by the discovery of something that was not known before. They happen when someone takes radically something that was always there.”
It is time to take radically the call to welcome children and not hinder them.
It is time for us to create spaces and make room for children and youth and young adults to grow with us, worship with us, learn with us, serve with us, laugh with us, cry with us, question and doubt and argue and debate with us, to be in relationship with us so as to become disciples of Jesus with us.
If we are not cultivating spaces in our churches and faith communities for our youngest and our oldest and all the generations in between to develop meaningful relationships in community and learning, we are missing out on our call to disciple-making.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.