Children and Evangelism
If our obedience to Jesus includes making ‘disciples of all nations’, then how do our current attitudes and actions towards children and youth propel us towards this great task? This question is critical for global mission, especially given that almost half of the population of the world is less than 25 years of age and a third of the population is children under 15 years.
Children and young people are the Church of today, not merely of tomorrow. Young people have great potential as active agents in God’s mission. They represent an enormous under-used pool of influencers with sensitivity to the voice of God and a willingness to respond to him. The Cape Town Commitment II-D-5
If we simply shared the Good News with every child on earth, substantial as this would be, would we have made disciples who could continue the journey with Jesus throughout their lives?
The journey of answering this and other questions began in 2004, at the Lausanne Forum for World Evangelization in Thailand. Two key outcomes were Lausanne Occasional Paper #47, ‘Evangelization of Children’, and the creation of a viral video called Aim Lower.
The discussion at the Lausanne forum led to the understanding that greater partnership of influencers of mission among children would create more impact among the children of the world. To this end, the Global Children’s Forum (GCF) was formed in 2008, to connect key children’s leaders in agencies and churches who would focus on the sort of partnering that would lead to significant kingdom collaborations.
Today, GCF and other child-related networks such as The 4/14 Movement and Viva are enabling collaboration across the world, connecting many agencies and serving many churches. The Lausanne Children and Evangelism issue network represents their passion and initiatives.
Significant outcomes for global mission have occurred as grassroots children’s leaders around the world have taken the new ideas and strategies that have emerged, and adapted them for their context.
This can be seen in the multiplication of global conversations focused on families and children at risk, growing regional initiatives, the creation of advocacy tools and Lausanne Discussion Papers, and the launching of a collaborative children’s leadership initiative, as well as a plethora of other resources, such as:
- Biblical open source resources
- A worldwide training movement
- The Aim Lower Journal
- New models of children’s whole life discipleship
- New models of children’s discipleship media
The Lausanne Children and Evangelism issue network seeks to serve the church with open source resources for discipleship and mission thinking, while spreading the values of kingdom partnerships, and finding new and innovative strategies of evangelism and discipleship among children.