Every child should have an opportunity to hear the Gospel every year in this nation.
I was very inspired talking with missionaries from El Salvador. For decades Don & Terri Triplett have been fulfilling a vision to reach every child with the Gospel every year. They strategize and raise up the youth who reach out to children in various ways, street by street. Sometimes they knock on the doors of every house and invite children to join them on the streets for presentations of the Gospel (the parents let them go unaccompanied). Other times they move in words of knowledge and miracles.
As I heard these stories I started to wish we could do the same here in the UK. As I mulled it over all I could think of were the reasons why it would not work. Can you imagine us going house to house, requesting to borrow the children for a couple of hours! As I listed all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me: ‘Olly, can you think of any reason why it could work?’
I could think of only one reason – God. God could make it happen. This one reason far outweighs any of the other reasons on this list. This is the reason we agreed to take on the leading children’s ministry conference in the UK, though our schedule was already full. This is the reason we travel the country sharing the Gospel. This is the reason we partner with so many other individuals and organisations.
We have to get the job done.
A generation is growing up who do not know the wonderful grace of God. In a culture where victimization and tolerance are seen as virtues we are seeing children and young people who have never even heard the name of Jesus.
Of course we are not the first generation to raise children in a pagan society. The difference is this is our generation. God has given us the mandate to take the Gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to enable us to be witnesses starting in our own neighbourhood and expanding outwards from there.
If we don’t share the Gospel with this generation, who will? The government won’t, that’s not their job. The mainstream media won’t, that’s not their job. In the main part the schools won’t, that’s not their job. This is our job and if we don’t do it no one else will.
There are so many great initiatives and ministries that are around to support us to do exactly that.
Here’s a few that catch my attention (though it is by no means an exclusive list).
Much of our ministry here at Children Can is to help children grow in confidence in sharing their faith and to make disciples. We know many share the same heart to send these young evangelists into the schools equipped and ready to stand for Jesus.
Local churches are running toddler groups, after school clubs and taking assemblies.
For those who are pursuing this in different ways across this country, I applaud and encourage you in your labours.
For parents and leaders who are working tirelessly with the next generation to equip them to play their part in the mission of God to this world, I encourage you to keep going.
For those of you who run regular events for the community, I encourage you to reflect on whether you have a moment where you intentionally share the Gospel with this group. Lifestyle evangelism and bridge building with the community is important, but at some point they need to actually hear the good news of what Jesus has done for them on the cross. Otherwise how can they call on him unless they believe? How can they believe unless they hear? How can they hear unless someone preaches to them? Build in times to explicitly and unashamedly share the good news of Jesus (Easter and Christmas are great times to start this if it is not already in the fabric of your group).
If your church community is not yet involved in active outreach to the next generation I encourage you to pause and reflect on what the Lord may be calling you to do. At this moment in our nation we have many freedoms to share the Gospel with the next generation. This is not something we should hide away or be ashamed of, this is something we should make central to all we do.
I have had the privilege in the last few weeks of sharing the gospel with young adults who have never heard the Gospel before. Some had been to church, others had not dared to enter yet. Let’s not allow this generation to grow up having never heard the truth of what God has done for them.
Can we really do this? By the grace of God, together we can.
Together we can reach every child, every year with the Gospel.