Children are like sponges and absorb everything they are taught. They also learn by watching what we do especially when we are not teaching. This is what is ‘caught’. One of the most powerful parts of scripture that explores this idea is in Deuteronomy 6. Every part of every day is an opportunity for kids to catch the magnificence of God and the Gospel of grace in a million different ways. This is why creativity and curiosity are so important for kids. The Global Children’s Forum (GCF) have recently reaffirmed the vision to see ‘kids everywhere walking with Jesus.’ This reminds us that disciple making is active. It’s relational. It’s ongoing. As a discipler we need to continually look for the opportunities and resources around us. We need to prepare for teachable moments that can come at any time.
Imagine spending time intentionally discipling the same 5 children for 5 years. What would be the outcome? What might those children become? Disciples themselves? Disciple-makers?
Here is a real life example serving this vision:
Gwladys, a former child TV star has a passion to equip children in creative arts and in developing a relationship with Jesus. She chose to disciple 15 children from the disadvantaged background in her church 11 years ago. She taught them media skills, hygiene and social skills while teaching them the Word of God. Gwladys started with the resources she had and identified the needs of the children. She created opportunities for them to be involved in their communities and discipling other children. This group together started KidsHubTV and children clubs 5 years ago. Now 11 of those 15 children have completed university studies while they were working alongside Gwladys in the clubs and producing videos to empower churches. They have joined as staff with Gwladys and continue to help her in overseeing 600 kids clubs and training leaders across the country. Gwladys has recently begun developing another generation of young leaders who are the 5 new presenters of their KidsHub TV programme. The discipleship process continues as these young leaders now train their peers and younger ones under the mentorship of Gwladys.
This story from Madagascar has sparked an idea of ‘5 for 5′ – focusing on discipling 5 children for 5 years. Using Gwladys’ 11 disciples as an example; if they went on to disciple 5 children each and that’s all they did for the rest of their lifetime and those 5 in turn discipled another 5 and so on – within a generation (65 years) 2.65 billion children would be discipled. Staggering numbers but true!
What about you? Are you intentionally discipling a small group of children? Could you? Maybe we could reach the goal of seeing ‘children everywhere walking with Jesus’ if we did.