by Michael Gryboski of The Christian Post
As many churches look for ways to grow and maintain their congregations, one author argues that an important and often overlooked component is children.
...not giving good attention to children's ministry can be fatal for a congregation, citing the experience of friend and colleague Tony Campolo. Campolo, a professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, decided one day to visit his childhood church only to find it had closed down. With the permission of the former elders, Campolo got access to the church documents and decided to look at the records for the year when as a kid he decided to give his life to Christ.
Campolo read the record and saw that the writer had talked of it being a rough year for the congregation, as they had only three conversions and these three were "just children."
"A church begins to die when they say 'they are just children,"' said Stafford.
You can read the entire post, Compassion CEO: Church Is Always One Generation From Going Extinct," here.
The idea seems to be well understood, but not the reality in too many congregations. The annual goal to get more youth, however it's said, does not usually include the changes in behavior needed to make it possible. On the other hand, here in the rural west, so many of our small communities are either not growing or losing population, and that adds another wrinkle to the issue.
Good points- it seems to me that the emphasis in this article was on the importance of spiritual and moral formation from an early age and the value of the church in that endeavor.
Having said that, we are an aging population and the church dare not neglect that reality either.
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