By Melissa MacDonald
“And a little child shall lead them . . .”
In 1990 Christian strategist Luis Bush coined the term “10/40 Window” to refer to the geographical region of the eastern hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, where the largest group of unreached people live. For more than 20 years, missions agencies, denominations, churches and individual Christians have pulled together to reach the 10/40 Window.
Encouraging indicators show that the continuing effort is bearing fruit. In 2008 the annual growth rate of Christ followers in the 10/40 Window was almost twice that of those outside it. In 1990, 2.5 percent of the population in the 10/40 Window were Christ followers; in 2005 that number was 4.7. God is at work!
The Window is Opening
In 2009 Bush urged a new missional focus: the 4/14 Window. Instead of a geographical region, the 4/14 Window refers to a demographic age group. There are 2.2 billion kids in the world, and those aged 4 to 14 are the largest unreached people group today. In the United States, most people who make a decision for Christ do so between the ages of 4 and 14.
We must realize that reaching this generation will require an effort as concentrated and focused as that given to the 10/40 Window. Before the age of 13, kids are deciding what they believe; after age 13, they start defending what they believe. Imagine the impact if we raise up a generation of Christ-following kids who have a biblical worldview, who understand that lost people matter to God, who grasp the power of prayer and who are willing to take risks because the God who loves them has called them to. It just might change what our world looks like. It just might change us.
The wonderful thing about kids is that they know no social boundaries, and their enthusiasm for life is contagious. I could tell story after story of lives—and whole families—who have been changed because of God at work through a child. What would happen if kids aged 4–14 began reaching their families, their friends, their teachers—and beyond? We have before us a challenge and within that challenge, a blessing. The kids of today are poised to change the teenagers, college students and adults of tomorrow.
Alliance churches across North America are revamping their children’s ministries with the 4/14 Window in mind. Outreach specifically toward children is becoming a top priority in many C&MA churches.
In Belgium, Wisconsin, leaders at Alliance Community Bible Church have just hired their second staff member, a children’s director. Members of this little church have a heart for the lost kids in their community, and through the help of the district and a private donor, they are making aggressive steps to reach them.
At Grace Church in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, the theme for children’s church is GLOCAL—Global Reach, Local Touch. The workers are introducing kids to other cultures with the goal of lowering barriers and allowing their kids to be open to God’s call to minister in any situation in the world.
At Faith Community Church in Red Oak, Iowa, every fifth Sunday of the month has a missions focus, where kids learn about other cultures, hear what God is doing among those people and places and spend time praying for lost people both near and far.
Whether they’re volunteer or staff, these children’s leaders have taken up the call to raise up world changers. They’ve seen the open window, and they’ve recognized their role in the effort. As we reach the 4/14 Window, I believe we are going to see God at work in the least expected ways, through our very littlest for His glory.
What You Can Do
- Visit http://4to14window.com/ to find out more about the 4/14 Window
- Read more stories in alife magazine online
- Learn more about Melissa MacDonald, a consecrated worker with The Alliance, member of the national C&MA Children’s Disciplemaking team and the C&MA’s National Children’s Ministry consultant. You can follow her on Twitter at kidsconsultant or visit www.melissajmacdonald.com
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Tell your story
- The Children’s Disciplemaking Team is looking for stories from you! Do you know of God working through kids in an amazing way? If so, we’d love to hear about it.
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