WHY FOCUS ON THE 4-14 WINDOW?
1.-The Church is responsible to make the best of its God-given opportunities
•These include Time, Resources & Giftedness
•Since children are much more open to receiving the gospel than adults, they are indeed the best stewardship of our resources
•Do we want our church to grow? Think small!
2.-Children are an amazing bridge for the church to reach into non-Christian homes in the community
•Parents often follow their kids
•God can and will work through children
•Many parents have come to faith in Jesus through the influence of their children
3.-Reaching receptive children is crucial in reaching the community and nation
•Never underestimate a child’s ability to comprehend Bible teachings. They can soak up great amounts of biblical truth quickly
•Children need to be grounded in a biblical worldview as early as possible
•Ages 2-12: Ideal time for Learning
•Ages 6-8: Moral Values acquired for life
•Age 9: world view adopted for life
•Age 12: Transition begins into adulthood
•Ages 13-14: Religion is adopted for life
4.-Children will become tomorrow’s torchbearers, the next generation of Christian leaders in every church
5.-Children are in great crisis. They are in real need of rescue from evil and the works of the evil one himself
GOD’S VIEW OF CHILDREN: MATT 18
•Jesus calls His disciples to imitate children: they demonstrate the humility that Jesus desires in all His followers
•Jesus calls His disciples to welcome children •Jesus calls His disciples to protect
•Children are suffering from neglect and abuse in this world everyday
•Jesus calls His disciples to Evangelize children
Why did they bring their children to Jesus?
For blessings (verse 13)
They Rebuked the parents. Why?
They thought that what was happening was more important than blessing children
Children are a priority to Jesus
THEY SHOULD BE OUR PRIORITY
The 4-14 Window
By Dr. Jack D Eggar
Church leaders deeply committed to the Great Commission are more than just aware of the 10-40 Window developed by the imminent mission leader Luis Bush. They have acted on it strategically by investing time and energy in pursuit of the world’s least reached and most spiritually closed countries and people groups across North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. However, most pastors and their congregations remain unaware of an even larger demographic missions concept called the 4-14 Window that, incidentally, Dr Bush himself spent seven years promoting around the globe beginning in 2009.
Much like a door used by the Apostle Paul to describe an unprecedented missional opportunity such as 1 Corinthians 16:9, a window represents a clear vantage point or view of an opportunity that cannot be seen unless someone takes the time to peer through it. In doing so an astounding world of opportunity opens before the observer changing the way the church and mission of the church are seen and understood.
I was introduced to the concept by ministry associate John Crupper early in 2004. Dr Crupper brought into my Chicago office a paper written by a Dr. Dan Brewster. Dan served for many years as a field director for Compassion International. Here’s a testimonial from Dan himself:
“Back in 1992, I attended an EFMA [Evangelical Foreign Missions Agencies] Executive Retreat in Glen Aire, Colorado. Dr. Bryant Myers, one of the directors of World Vision International, presented a paper at one of the plenary sessions. The title of this paper was ‘The State of the World’s Children: A Cultural Challenge to Christian Mission in the 1990s’.
“Dr. Myers’ paper was a sobering presentation of the condition of the world’s children and a challenging appeal about the great opportunity to reach children with the Gospel. He mentioned the statistics in the USA about the large percentage of conversions that occur in children between the ages of 4 and 14. After that plenary session, I was supposed to lead a workshop for anyone interested in getting together and talking about Myer’s presentation.
“Now to appreciate what happened next, you have to understand what it was like back in those days for those of us involved in children’s ministries. We had to work really hard to get people’s attention in churches and in Christian circles on behalf of ministries to children. My workshop in Glen Aire, Colorado illustrated that—only three people showed up! Out of all the people there, the only others who came to discuss the subject of children and missions were Wes Stafford, President of Compassion International, and Doug Nichols, founder of Action International, a Christian organization also dedicated to helping children in need throughout the world.
“It was in that room as Wes, Doug, and I were processing what we’d heard in the plenary session and bouncing around ideas that I came up with the term ‘4-14 Window’.
DAN BREWSTER’S FIRST DESCRIPTION OF THE 4-14 WINDOW
“Let me explain the idea of the 4-14 Window:
“Those of us who work in missions are familiar with the term ’10-40 Window’. The 10-40 Window is a missions concept that focuses on the spiritual condition of most of those living in the geographic area from the 10th to the 40th latitudes above the equator. This vast region, stretching from North Africa and the Middle East to India and Southeast Asia, contains the countries and people groups who are the least reached with the Gospel. Many of these people are Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists and are the least open and least receptive people to the Gospel in the world.
“By contrast, the 4-14 Window, is a missions concept that focuses attention on the world’s largest people group—children between the ages of four and 14. Children are a suffering and exploited people group who also happen to be the world’s most open and receptive group to the Gospel. Statistics in the USA tell us that the majority of all people who will ever come to Christ do so between the ages of 4 and 14.
“To prove this statistic, I have taken an informal survey hundreds of times over many years of teaching. I have conducted this survey across the world and in many cultures. I have asked people the same question: ‘How many of you made your first-time profession of faith in Christ before the age of 18?’ Consistently, more than 50% raised their hands. Many times the number of hands is far greater.
“The 4-14 Window is thus a flexible term, just like the 10-40 Window. The 10-40 Window is not limited to peoples inside the imaginary box north of the equator. Most missions experts would also include the one billion unreached people in China and the 170 million Muslims in Indonesia within the 10-40 Window. But technically, neither China nor Indonesia are actually inside the 10-40 Window. In the same way, young people who get saved between 15 and 18 are close enough to be included in the 4-14 Window for the purpose of demonstrating how important it is to reach out to children and teens while they are so young and receptive.
“The statistics for salvation experiences of children within the 4-14 Window can be demonstrated from other sources as well. Paul Eschelman has promoted the Jesus Film in hundreds of languages around the world and is now promoting the Jesus Film for children in many countries. At Lausanne 3 Conference in Pattaya, Thailand in 2004, Paul asked 1,700 participants: ‘How many of you got saved before you were 14 years old?’ At least 60 % of that group stood up!” Many of them were career missionaries from around the world.”
A SOLUTION TO THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING THE 4-14 WINDOW KNOWN
As Dr. Brewster so well described it earlier, convincing church and ministry leaders of the importance of children’s ministry back in 1992 was difficult at best. To reinforce the validity of that statement, it is accurate to state that between 1992 and 2004, the 4-14 concept remained dormant. No articles were written in Christianity Today and other Christian magazines, there were no books published on the subject, and no 4-14 Window conferences existed. On Monday, March 15, 2004 all that changed when Dr Crupper had me read Dan’s paper.
It was immediately obvious to me that the basic premise of Dr. Brewster’s 4-14 Window was more than a different way to look at children. It was a paradigm changer every bit as significant as Dr. Bush’s 10-40 Window. In fact, it seemed to me at that time that the 4-14 Window could well become a movement influencing ministry leaders around the globe. But, where does one begin in initiating something so conceptual? How is a viable idea developed and expanded into an actual movement? Crupper and I began to meet weekly to discuss and seek the Lord in prayer. Others slowly drifted into our discussion. In May, I came up with a simple strategy to invite children and youth ministry leaders to our Awana headquarters in Chicago for a two to three day round table discussion. Dr Crupper served as an outstanding project director and event organizer.
I personally reached out to several ministry friends. Paul Robbins, president of Christianity Today, Bill Greig, president of Gospel Light Publications, Reese Kaufman, president of Child Evangelism Fellowship, George Barna, president of the Barna Research Group, and Gene Mims, vice president of Lifeway Christian resources all joined with us as event sponsors. Word was sent out announcing the very first 4-14 Window Conference to be held at the Awana facility in the Chicago area. To our surprise the list of attendees grew rapidly and because of a lack of space, the number of attendees was held to 96 leaders from 55 Christian organizations. George Barna served as our able keynote speaker.
It would be an understatement to claim that the event was a success. It was a most profound gathering and catalytic in nature. The Lord poured out his approval as the entire assembly united together to affirm the great importance of the 4-14 Window and the need to share it with all of Christianity. I had the honor of closing the meeting with a challenge. “Think of a large drum that is designed and built to make a large, penetrating sound that can be heard far away. That’s what we have accomplished here this week. Each of us now understands how this window of opportunity can effectively change the way pastors and church families around the world look at their communities in light of Jesus’ commission to make disciples. Go and take this drum with you. At best, make a joyful sound. At the worst, irritate someone with all the noise you will make! Tell others the good news that children and children’s ministry constitutes the golden hour of opportunity for every church”.
WHAT HAPPENED FOLLOWING THE CONFERENCE?
Perhaps an entire book is required to describe and document all that came to pass after that first 4-14 Window Conference. Our friends and co-sponsors along with the event attendees all accepted the challenge by making their own drum beats. Speaking on behalf of Awana, it is accurate to say that we moved forward quickly. By the end of 2005, Awana hosting 4-14 events in 10 countries. By 2015, ten years later, Awana was averaging over 100 4-14 conferences annually worldwide.
Awana also hired a most capable individual to oversee expansion of the 4-14 Window. Serving as our 4-14 Window director, Frank Carmical effectively managed expansion to more and more countries. From the very early days, Crupper, Carmical, and I all agreed that we would not seek to control or own the 4-14 Movement in any way but rather open our hands and freely share it with all Christians everywhere. This belonged to the Lord and not us.
In 2009, Luis Bush himself joined the movement and effectively led it to a new level of impact among ministry leaders. His influence and capacity to network on a global scale is second to none. Much is owed Dr. Bush and his tireless efforts to sound the drum beat over a period of seven years along with his many exceptional co-laborers. And then Luis did something else rather amazing that affected me personally. It was in September of 2016 when Luis called me on the phone asking that I meet him for breakfast at the Colonial Cafe in St Charles, Illinois. As a side note, Luis and his wife Doris only lived at that time about five miles from where my wife Dona and I lived.
It was at the Colonial Cafe that Luis opened my eyes to a new vision. He shared with me how he and the many wonderful leaders in the 4-14 window movement saw themselves as catalytic in that the Lord had used them for seven years to make known the great importance of this window of opportunity. As a catalyst Luis and his team had been successful in igniting the greater explosion thus completing their role. But, according to Dr. Bush, one thing was still needed. The Movement needed someone to reach out to the countless churches and pastoral leaders in every country that heard and responded to the drum beat. The message had been received but pastors and church ministry leaders still needed training solutions and resources to help them reach and disciple children and youth. Furthermore, a network was needed to help connect leaders and practitioners on a global scale.
After meeting with other leaders and seeking the Lord for wisdom and understanding, a small group of us started Global Children’s Network on January 17, 2017. It is our mission to not only make the 4-14 Window known throughout the world but to also help equip every church with leadership training and resources that will better enable God’s people to make a kingdom impact in their communities.
CONCEPTS THAT HELP US AS WE PONDER THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 4-14 WINDOW
1. The 4-14 Window represents a demographic mission’s concept: the world’s largest, most reachable, and most spiritually open people group—all the children of the world between the ages of 4 and 14.
2. More children are alive today than at any other time in human history—nearly 2 billion. They are the next generation preparing to inherit the earth from us.
3. Research now shows us that most people who come to Christ in faith do so between the ages of 4 and 14.
4. With each passing year after age 14, resistance grows toward the Gospel. Teens, young adults, and adults become captivated by the world and their hearts began to harden toward God.
5. The 4-14 Window represents a golden hour of opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission beginning with those who are most open and receptive—children.
6. The best way to reach adults and their families is often through their own children. Are creative ways available to connect with children and then build bridges to their parents? Yes!
7. Many parents are themselves young people between the ages of 15 and 25—another one billion of earth’s inhabitants.
8. The 4-14 Window is much more than an evangelistic opportunity to reach children. It is also the time to disciple and build into their lives moral, ethical, and spiritual character that they will carry all their lives.
9. The majority of all missionaries and Christian leaders serving full-time today came to faith in Christ as children and teens.
10.Churches effectively prioritizing evangelism and discipleship outreach ministry to children and youth can and will grow and grow.