The visiting preacher suggested that 94% of Americans that reach adulthood (age 18) without becoming Christian will never convert.  He used the statistic to talk about the importance of witnessing to children.

He’s right.  It’s critical we reach young people.  Although I haven’t yet found proof of the number, I did find a study by Barna.org that says only 17% of children who did not attend church will eventually become active as adults, and 61% of them will have no faith as adults.  Fortunately, 80% of America’s kids are exposed to church programming, and most of them (70% of adults) remain predisposed to  attend church.

But still I’m troubled.  Whether the number is 6% or 17%, it’s clear that if we don’t reach children with the gospel (using current methods), they will probably not  become  Christians as adults.

The key, to my mind, is “with current methods.”  How is it that – according to Church Planting Movements author – that in areas where the Gospel is exploding (Asia, Africa, etc.), the conversions are among adults first and then their children.  In those situations, the overwhelming numbers of conversions are adults who had no prior Christian contact.

Fortunately for us, we live in a country dominated by a Christian context.  what the data suggest is that we don’t try to reach adults.  We focus our attention on children.  If we instead spent half that effort on getting adults into some sort of meaningful Christian dialogue, especially in a Gospel situation, would we see a turnaround in the numbers?

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