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What is the 4 to 14 Window? Why Children’s Ministry is a Priority

Jul 3, 2023 | Teach Kids Articles

As the church considers missions and evangelistic outreach, it’s important that we put our efforts where they will have the most impact. At Child Evangelism Fellowship®, we have always believed that place to be within children’s ministry.

Ask yourself: do you view children’s ministry as mainly a place to keep the kids occupied while the more important work happens with the adults amongst the congregation? I challenge the church to rethink children’s ministry to be just as vital to missions as adult evangelism, if not more so. Why? Because of the 4 to 14 window.

What is the 4 to 14 Window?

The 4 to 14 window is a term used to describe the age when people are most likely to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and a crucial consideration for those in children’s ministry.

In 2015, the National Association of Evangelicals polled their membership to learn at what age members made this most important decision of their lives, and found that 63% chose to follow Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14. Supporting this finding, other, older studies also have strong data showing that after the age of 18 years old, the number of faith decisions made drop drastically.

This is vital information for churches to be aware of as they position children’s ministry to be a priority, and just one of the many reasons for why children’s ministry is so important.

Kids Need to Be Taught About God Early in Life

There’s a widespread opinion that children shouldn’t receive religious instruction, as they’re believed to be too young to make a choice for themselves and that we should let them figure it out on their own someday.

However, would you propose to parents that they not teach children about personal hygiene or healthy eating until they’re older? What about safe practices like riding a bike with a helmet, or how to have good manners, communication skills, empathy for others, and the ability to forgive? Would you also wait to let them figure these things out on their own when they become adults? Of course not!

Just as you would slowly teach a child math or how to write, so should a child be slowly instructed on who God is and of the love of Jesus. Childhood is the time of life when all good habits and attitudes are formed, and it’s neglectful to not parent a child well in all areas of life—the physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

After all, even very young children experience deep, heart-issue dilemmas such as what to do with guilty feelings after doing wrong, what makes them valuable or significant, and what life is really all about. While still adolescent, they begin to wonder what happens to people after they die, and ask questions like “Does God exist? Can I know God?” or “Why do bad things happen?” These are big questions and ones worthy of an answer.

We need to start instilling the answers into young kids early—preferably within that 4 to 14 window—the same way we teach kids any other important aspect of life. Children’s ministry is just one way to help impact children with the love of Jesus when they need it most.

How to Teach Kids About God Within the 4 to 14 Window

The fact that 63% of people who decide to become a disciple of Jesus do so within the 4 to 14 window is not surprising. Childhood—especially between the ages of 4 and 14—are the years when one’s priorities, attitudes, and beliefs about life are shaped.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Maybe you’re doing a great job with your own children in the area of spiritual instruction. But what about the 82% of kids who are hearing little to nothing about the love of Jesus? Here’s how you can help impact kids in the 4 to 14 window with the assurance of salvation.

Encourage Kids to Go to Church

Often the focal point of children’s ministry, helping a child to attend church is a great way to teach kids about God and the riches He has for them early on in life. The majority of children are not taken to church, indicating that most people don’t understand that spiritual instruction should be a priority. Even still, the amount of spiritual instruction most children receive is often tantamount to holding them in Kindergarten their entire upbringing.

There is so much to learn about God, His truth in the Bible, and how it applies to all of life! There’s no time to lose, while it’s crucial churches make powerful, effective children’s ministry a priority.

Host a Good News Club®

Even if a child isn’t taken to church, you can have an incredible impact on children within the 4 to 14 window by hosting a Good News Club® at your local school. Through this Child Evangelism Fellowship program, every week after school, kids can receive life-changing instruction on who God is and the assurance of salvation they can have through Jesus Christ—providing a safe place for kids to engage with the Gospel, learn, and have fun.

To learn more about Good News Clubs, the training CEF® offers, and how to get involved, click here.

Use CEF Resources

To learn how to teach children well and reach them where they are, you can start by browsing all the offerings of Child Evangelism Fellowship. From trainings and curriculum, to comprehensive kids clubs and gospel-sharing aids, CEF has a wide variety of resources to help you impact children with the love of Jesus within the 4 to 14 window. Go to cefonline.com or click here to get started today.

When Jesus said that the harvest is great—that many people are ready to receive Him as their Lord and Savior, but workers are needed in the field—He had to be talking about children’s ministry. It is children who are the ones most ripe and ready to yield to God, having not been hardened by many years of going their own way. Let’s get to farming in the most fruitful harvest field yet through children’s ministry, reaching those within the 4 to 14 window!

This content is from the CEF podcast Teach Kids.  Listen to more content like this on the Teach Kids podcast through your favorite podcast platform.  #TeachKids #KidsMin

Teaching Kids About Spiritual Gifts | CEF

Teaching Kids About Spiritual Gifts | CEF

Every believer has a spiritual gift. Help kids find theirs with this list of spiritual gifts and how the Holy Spirit’s gift can be used for spiritual growth.

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