In Mark’s gospel people were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. They thought Jesus was way too important to be bothered with children. After all, he needed to be with the “significant people” like them, right? But we read,
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 child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:14-16
In April 2009, ten years ago this month, I was invited to be part of a new initiative, the 4 to 14 Window, calling the Church to focus on the priority of children ages 4 to 14. My response was, “Thanks but no thanks.” A lot like the disciples? I was too busy to take on anything else. I had important adult things to do. But God, it seems, wasn’t at all impressed with my busy schedule – and my friend wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Two months later I found myself at the first 4 to 14 Window leaders retreat in New York City. And so began an amazing journey into God’s heart for children, a journey that continues to this day.
A New Chapter On The Journey
In April 2018, one year ago this month, fifty-six leaders of churches, ministries, denominations, networks and movements were invited to a one-day meeting at Campus Crusade for Christ HQ. I was included along with two other GCC board or advisory board members. The meeting was called to consider whether God might be calling His Church to mobilize 100 million believers to pray and to reach out to 1 billion people – and to plant 1 million new churches during May 2020.
The meeting was high energy as we worked, prayed and asked God for direction. By the end of the day we seemed to be “one heart and mind” to move forward and the Go 2020 Initiative was born.
During a working session that day, I suggested it would be great to invite the 4 to 14 Window Family to be part of this initiative. From that comment came a request for me to help mobilize the Children and Youth Track for Go 2020. My immediate response was, “Thanks but no thanks.”
Are you seeing a pattern here! I was way too busy, besides the fact that we didn’t have the institutional capacity to mobilize for a major undertaking of this size. But God, it seems, wasn’t at all impressed with my busy schedule or our lack of capacity. He gently reminded me that His capacity is unlimited and He has graciously connected us to prayer, mission and inter-generational leaders and networks all around the world. It was time to step up. Some children already had.
Meet Hadassah who at age 8 felt God call her to be a missionary.
And Kadyn, a fourth grader who started a Kids for Christ Club in her local public school.
God Sized Goals for a God Sized Task!
South Asia believes they can mobilize 10 million Children and Youth to pray and reach 100 million others. One ministry leader in Africa already has a continental plan to reach 23 million Children and Youth. Others will join him. In March we began to see the potential to mobilize 40 million Children and Youth to pray for and to share “their story” and “God’s story” with 400 million other Children and Youth.
The Goal is in Sight
A Strategy Team has been developed to help identify key resources to help Children and Youth “see” how they can actually participate in prayer and outreach to become one of the Go 2020 Kids. We plan to capture their stories and share them to inspire others.
Also in March one of our partners shared a new resource called The Best News Ever. This book shares God’s heart for Children and the gospel in a language they can understand and share.
The author, Becky Olmstead, together with her husband, Rick, have just been installed as the new movement leaders for the 4 to 14 Window. Here’s a peek:
I love this book. Parents or grandparents can share it with their kid and grandkids. But kids can also share it with other kids. It is so kid friendly. It reminds me of a “Four Spiritual Laws” for kids!
A project to do a full animated version of the Jesus Film is being considered between CBN (The Christian Broadcasting Network), One Hope and the Jesus Film Team. The potential of this as a new outreach tool for kids is enormous!
The Prayer Covenant for Children is another amazing resource to get Children on the Prayer Lifestyle journey. More than 2.5 million children are already using it in 50+ nations. We expect all of these and many more resources to be part of a “tool box” for Go 2020 Kids to fully participate.
God is at work in powerful ways, turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. Malachi 4:6. He is sharing His heart – His Father’s heart for Children – with His Church. Let’s pray for God to empower us to fully join Him on His mission. Like the little boy in John 6, He can take our little 5 loaves and 2 fishes and feed multitudes if we simply offer it to Him.
If you want to join us on this God sized journey into His heart for Children, you can download a 21 Day Prayer Guide for the Go 2020 Kids by clicking here. Please use it in May, when children around the world will be joining us in prayer – or at any time you can – to pray for the Go 2020 Kids Project. Thank you for joining with us through your ongoing prayers and support.
For the sake of the Children and the Kingdom,