Children at Risk

“Children-at-risk are persons under 18 who experience an intense and/or chronic risk factor, or a combination of risk factors in personal, environmental and/or relational domains that prevent them from pursuing and fulfilling their God-given potential.” Who Are Children-At-Risk: A Missional Definition

We are at an unprecedented time in history as the global church rises up to seriously address the importance of children, especially children at risk. Major developments in the global church community in the past several years demonstrate a new commitment to mission to, for, and with children. In November 2014, in Quito, Ecuador, the Lausanne Children at Risk (CAR) issue network will convene its first consultation on children at risk. The Lausanne Consultation on Children at Risk is designed to raise awareness of the needs of children living in vulnerable situations, and engage sustained, collaborative action within the global church community to fulfill The Cape Town Commitment Call to Action on behalf of children at risk. A major output of the consultation will be the production of a Lausanne Occasional Paper (LOP). The LOP will serve as a living document to inspire and engage the body of Christ around the world to effectively work on behalf of children at risk.

The Lausanne Children at Risk issue network cares about the whole child—the entire intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being—and seeks ways to encourage their active participation in the church. The CAR network sees children at risk, in all of their complexity, as legitimate though vulnerable agents of God. The Good News is redemptive for the whole person, and we affirm that children at risk should be recipients of ministry, and can be included in God’s mission work, no matter their status in society.

The CAR network believes that children are to be holistically nurtured throughout childhood as active participants in worship and service to God(Lk 2:52, I Sam 2:26). We ask, ‘What does the Bible have to offer regarding the whole child (as she or he develops over childhood and youth) in the whole church in the whole world?’ Are children, even children at risk, considered to be full participants in the church or passive receptacles of adult ministry efforts? Are children from the margins, for whatever reason, invited in meaningful ways into the whole church across the whole world? Are girl children, as well as boy children, viewed as bearers of God’s image in such a way that they can be seen as full recipients of gifts from God and participants in the life of the church? How are the gifts of children at risk recognized and nurtured?

The CAR network seeks to help the church speak up and advocate for children at risk and the issues they face. We seek to present key theological and missiological reflections and to explore and describe practical ministry models that demonstrate praxis based on sound child development practice and theological reflection. We seek to develop broad action plans involving collaboration among Lausanne issue networks and global networks and to move the global church forward in seeing God’s purposes realized for children at risk around the world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email