A survey from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) found that 63% of individuals become a Christian between the age of 4-14, with the median age being 11. The same survey also found that 34% of individuals become a Christian between the age of 15-29. According to this study, 97% of individuals become a Christian before the age of 30.
In case that didn’t register, that is 97%! That means, if you asked 100 people when they became a Christian, 63 became a Christian between the age of 4-14, 34 between the age of 15-29, and only 3 out of 100 after the age of 30.
There are many implications we should consider such as:
- Return on investment: The greatest return on ministry investment is a focus on children, then youth, then young adults.
- Ministry budget: The average church only spends 3% of its budget on children while allotting the majority of its ministry and missions budgets to adults.
- The family: Parents and grandparents should be trained to share the gospel, pray for a child’s salvation, and nurture an environment where God’s Spirit can work to open a child’s eyes to his or her need for Christ. It is the family that has the greatest opportunity to introduce a child to Christ and nurture the heart.
- Defense of faith: Parents and grandparents must take seriously the spiritual influences that are present in the early and teen years of a child. Education, media, and peers impact what a child believes about Christ and thus must be taken seriously.
D.L. Moody once said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” Moody understood the importance of the early years and the strategic investment they represent. If the early and teen years are so crucial to the faith development of a Christian, then we would be wise to focus on this time of life in our churches and homes.