The Opportunity of Their Lifetime

Lisa Cooke

If you consider the statistics that George Barna has accumulated concerning the impact of ministry to children, it’s easy to realize the value we must place on this “single most strategic ministry activity”. He says that most people’s spiritual beliefs are “irrevocably formed when they are pre-teens” and “what they believe by the time they are 13 is what they will die believing”.

His research also revealed that the majority of today’s church leaders were once involved in the children’s ministries of their churches when they were young. “One implication of this is that the individuals who will become the church leaders two decades from now are probably active in church programs today.”

We in the Church have a short window of opportunity to reach the generations that pass through our children’s programs with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In “Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions,” Barna says, “Research reinforces one simple but profound truth over and over again: If you want to have a lasting influence upon the world, you must invest in people’s lives; and if you want to maximize that investment, then you must invest in those people when they are young.”
If our ministry to children is to be truly strategic, it needs to be planned, tactical, calculated, deliberate, pre-meditated, and intentional. To achieve maximum effectiveness, we must also provide support, encouragement, and continuing education to equip our children’s workers.

The following is a purpose-filled declaration written by Roger Fields that I believe can greatly strengthen those who work with children.

I am a minister.
I minister to the largest mission field in the world.
I minister to children.

My calling is sure; my challenge is big; my vision is clear; my desire is strong; my influence is eternal; my impact is critical; my values are solid; my faith is tough; my mission is urgent; my purpose is unmistakable; my direction is forward; my heart is genuine; my strength is supernatural; my reward is promised; and my God is real.

In a world of cynicism, I offer hope. In a world of confusion, I offer truth. In a world of immorality, I offer values. In a world of neglect, I offer attention. In a world of abuse, I offer safety. In a world of ridicule, I offer affirmation. In a world of division, I offer reconciliation. In a world of bitterness, I offer forgiveness. In a world of sin, I offer salvation. In a world of hate, I offer God’s love.

I refuse to be dismayed, disengaged, disgruntled, discouraged, or distracted. Neither will I look back, stand back, fall back, go back, or sit back. I do not need applause, flattery, adulation, prestige, stature, or veneration. I do not have time for business as usual, mediocre standards, small thinking, outdated methods, normal expectations, average results, ordinary ideas, petty disputes, or low vision. I will not give up, give in, bail out, lie down, turn over, quit or surrender.

I will pray when things look bad. I will pray when things look good. I will move forward when others stand still. I will trust God when obstacles arise. I will work when the task is overwhelming. I will get up when I fall down.

My calling is to reach boys and girls for God. It is too serious to be taken lightly, too urgent to be postponed, too vital to be ignored, too relevant to be overlooked, too significant to be trivialized, too eternal to be fleeting, and too passionate to be quenched.

I know my mission. I know my challenge. I also know my limitations, my weaknesses, my fears, and my problems. And I know my God. Let others get the praise. Let the church get the blessing. Let God get the glory.

I am a minister. I minister to children. This is who I am.
This is what I do.

There’s not a minute to lose, nor a moment to waste as we invest ourselves into this opportunity to affect the lives of the children within our realm of influence. As 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”