Full Project – THE IMPACT OF CHILDREN EVANGELISM ON CHURCH GROWTH
This research work was meant to assess the impact of Children Evangelism as a tool for Church growth. This study was guided by the following objectives; to examine the impact of Children Evangelism on the growth of the Churches, to identify the functions and duties of Children Evangelism in a Church, to identify the other factors militating against Children Evangelism. The study employed the descriptive and survey design; questionaires were used as a research instrument in collecting data from Pastor, Children Sunday School Teachers, Christian Leaders and Children respectively in five (5) selected Pentecostal Churches in Adigbe, Abeokuta. The respondents under the study were Church leaders. The five selected Pentecostal Churches for the case study are: Foursquare Gospel Church, Adigbe Zonal Headquarters, The Redeemed Christian Church of God; The Redeemed Christian Church of God; Deeper Life Bible Church, Christ Life Church and The Gospel Faith International. The study findings revealed that Children Evangelism play a vital role in ensuring growth of the church. A Church will grow if Children Evangelism is actively involves in the affairs of the church. This research will serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently.
1.1 Background to the study
Children can make a solid decision to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. At that age we should present the gospel to them and let them have the opportunity to answer, Children are lost.
The Bible clearly teaches that it is God’s divine purpose that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. The Lord’s Jesus last commands to His followers were, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) and “make disciples of all nations” (Mathew 28:19)
It is clear that God’s intent is that the Gospel be shared with all people regardless of race, national origin, gender or age. There had been controversy surrounding this question in evangelical churches today as it has been in ages past. That “Do Children need to be saved?” However, the evangelization of Children is clearly supported by the scripture, personal testimony from Christians saved as children, perspectives from theologians and great Christian’s leaders and researchers studies have established that children can make a solid decision to receive the Lord Jesus as their personal savior. This wealth of support should lead Christians everywhere to one conclusion – which the gospel should be presented to the child at an early age so that as the Holy Spirit works, he will come to know Jesus as personal savior. As a result the child can begin to develop Christian character, which is the outward expression of a new inward life.
Children Evangelism is the sharing with children the good news of how to receive the full forgiveness of God by entering into personal relationship with Christ Jesus. We need to evangelize the children in our churches and neighborhoods so that they can be saved. Children are sinners but when they understand the gospel they can be saved. When a child commit consciously and deliberately, they are held accountable for it before God, there is no specific age mentioned when a child can receive Christ. James 4:17 tells us, “Anyone, then, who knows what he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sin”.
Sa Doherty, a theologian and Christian educator brings to our notice that “it is important to remember that the Bible does not teach theology of childhood which is separate from, and different to a theology of adulthood. Instead, the Bible gives a theology of man which includes both children and adult”. Canadian Evangelist Lionel Hunt commented, “If child is old enough to sin and old enough to die, it will be a strange thing if he were not old enough to be saved”. It is not for us to fix ages. It is easy for the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ in the heart of a small child as it is for Him to do in an older person. “Saving forth is a work completed by the grace of God alone as the Holy Spirit works. The principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ for justification, sanctification and eternal life by the virtue of the covenant of grace.(John 1:12) the cross work of Christ, His substitutionary death, burial and resurrection has paid for the sin of the whole world (John 1:29).
The responsibility of the individual in salvation is the recognition of his sinful condition before God and repentance from that sin, the heart belief that Jesus died on the cross and rose again and personal faith in Jesus Christ alone as savior. The only condition placed on humanity for salvation is to believe.
There is no qualifier of age, either a beginning age at which it is possible to believe or an ending age after which it is too late to believe for salvation since it is the divine work of the Holy Spirit. Children can make this critical decision before their hearts are hardened by sin.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The name ‘Children Church’ is not used in most Churches rather they call it ‘Children Department’. As much as we do not refer to the ‘adult church’ as ‘Adult Department’, the term children department is irrelevant in the church setting. Most church leaders do not have foresight in planning for the children church. Right form the birth of the church, the children church should be given priority. Any church without children church is not complete.
Most church do not give enough distance between the adult church and the children church to avoid disturbance. Children should be allowed to worship God in their own way. There are no adequate security in place to arrest children restlessness.
Also, churches treat children church like adult church, they do not divide the children church into sections and enough ventilation. No proper attention is given to the children church environment, some churches do not give decent flooring nor planting of flowers to beautify the environment of the children church. Neither is the outside of the children church swept.
Many minister of God, throughout their theological or ministerial training did not offer the course on children ministry, on resumption of their pastoral work, they find it difficult to set up the children church. This is a major basic of spiritual child abuse within our denominations.
Any ministry work without a successor make no sense as their labour comes to ruin when the elders are gone. Children are the foundation of any church today and in the future. If all churches leaders have this at the back of their mind, that the foundation of church growth and development are embedded in the children, priority will be given to the children evangelism ministry.
In God’s dealings with the Israelites through His servant Moses, everybody was included; men, women and children (Deut. 31:11 – 13). This clearly shows that God didn’t exclude the children in all His dealings with the Israelites as a church in the wilderness. The children were partakers in all the programs of God with the Israelites. Also, the covenant pact God made with Abraham, the children were always included. Never at any time did God forget to include children. God foresaw that the children will inherit the covenant and transmit it to other generations (Deut. 29: 9 – 11)
Many other scriptures openly show that God had created a central place for children to occupy in the church. They are the custodian of the future congregation of God’s assembly, so any church that wants to grow must value children and transmit into them the full knowledge of God and His council. Any denomination that neglect the children manifest a nonchalant attitude which is not scriptural.
Many denomination attitudes towards the children grieve the heart of Jesus Christ. Most denomination after many years of existence do not have the children church. The teachers handling the children are not trained. Our children are starved spiritually as untrained teachers cannot rightly divide the word of God.
Amongst, the millions of things God created, only children are referred to as God’s heritage. Children are part of the Body of Christ and without them there will be no future church (Ps. 27:2). The generation after Joshua’s generation failed to carry out the work of children evangelism. Children evangelism was neglected, Joshua’s generation failed to transmit knowledge and love of God unto their children. Any Christian denomination that neglect children evangelism cannot have growth and development. The Lord is waiting for the church without blemish, spots or wrinkles, the children too will appear before the Lord (Rev. 20:12).
Jesus issued this warning in Mathew 18:10 “Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones”. A curse follows whoever despise these ones in Mathew 18:6.Therefore this project is to evaluate the impact of children evangelism as a tool to church growth and development. The researcher was to find the answers to the following questions:
- What is the role of children evangelism to church growth?
- What should be the functions and duties of the church in children evangelism?
- What are other factors militating against children evangelism as a tool for church growth?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The following are the purpose of the study;
- To examine the impact of children evangelism as a tool for church growth
- To identify the functions and duties of children evangelism ministries in a church
- To identify the other factors militating against children evangelism
- Significance of the Study
- Findings from this study will educate the church authorities and the general public in Adigbe area of Abeokuta on what the church authorities need to do or incorporate into the system to ensure church growth.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to others scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently.
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Full Project – THE IMPACT OF CHILDREN EVANGELISM ON CHURCH GROWTH