The Lord has been leading me to reach out to the next generation, more so when I heard about the 4-14 Window. I realized it has become a personal passion to be part of this growing global movement to prepare our sons and daughters to become a blessing and serve their own generation.
Asian Center for Missions-trained Filipino missionaries are also engaged in the 4-14 Window. Many of our graduates can be found in schools, orphanages, and kids’ ministries in mission fields across the globe. So what seems as a burden of mine, in fact, could be something greater. God must be leading us to this new window.
A Window Within a Window
We are familiar about the 10/40 Window, but there is another window called the 4-14. This was introduced by Dr. Bryant Myers in 2005.
In a research by the Center for World Missions, nearly 85% of the people who accept Christ do so between ages 4 and 14. The probability of them embracing Jesus as their Savior decreases as they get older, more so past their teenage years.
According to Myers, the young generation is an enormous people group. About one-third of the world’s people, or nearly 2 billion people, is under the age of 18. Nearly half of the global population is under the age of 20.
He also said that kids are receptive individuals. People tend to be receptive when their lives are disrupted, and the young people are the most disrupted age group nowadays.
Thousands of children around the world die every day from hunger and disease. Thousands more suffer and are exploited because of child labor, prostitution, and sheer neglect and abuse.
During the wars of the last decade, there were more children killed and disabled than there were soldiers. Over that period, approximately two million children died, and between four to five million were physically disabled. More than five million kids were thrown into refugee camps, and more than 12 million were left homeless.
Worldwide, the abortion rate is appalling. The mother’s womb, which should have been the safest place for a child, became the most dangerous. In addition, statistics indicate that between 100 to 200 million children around the world call the streets their home.Despite this string of bad news, there is hope. These children who are poor, unwanted, and victimized are the most receptive to the Good News. Myers also thinks that children are not just an enormous and receptive people group, but they are also a forgotten group. Kids are often overlooked in our strategies and in cross-cultural missions.
When D.L. Moody was asked how many people attended one of his crusades, he answered, “10 souls and 80 lives.” To Moody, those 10 adults can only offer their souls, but the 80 young people can still offer their whole lives in God’s service. They still have a lot to offer to His Kingdom. Just like Moody, we should aim lower in our mission strategy and prioritize children.
‘Let the Children Come to Me’
There are countless children who do not have families to bless them. Their schools did not guide them. The church did not give them enough attention. What will happen to these kids? Is their welfare our responsibility as Christians? Yes, I think it is.
Remember in Mark 10:13-16 it says,
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Jesus loves children. He cares for them. He carried them in His arms and blessed them, even those who were noisy, dirty, and naked. So we should also bless the 4-14 Window.
Many adults treat kids as nuisances and distractions, especially in our culture. Abandonment and neglect often start when parents treat their growing children as burdens. We isolate them during church service because we think they only disturb us. God is displeased when we think of them this way.
Jesus said, “Let the little children to come.” He commands us to make it easy for kids to come to the Lord. It is our responsibility to introduce Christ to them. In the Bible, God used children to convey His message for His people. So if we care for them today, God will also use them to give us His message and signs for the present time.
So I challenge our partners to let us begin reaching out to the children and youth of the world. God is going to do something good and great, and this can start by paying more attention to the 4-14 Window. Let us work together to focus all our efforts in cross-cultural missions towards the young.
The next generation is waiting for our response.
Rev. Nathaniel Ramos is the national director of Asian Center for Missions, the cross-cultural missionary training arm of CBN Asia.