I took Statstics for Psychology in College many moons ago and hated it. But one thing I did learn is that 56% of all statistics are made up….get it? I just made that up? Get it? I crack myself up.
I did take statistics however, and I do wish some of the REAL statistics I am going to share with you in this post were as funny as my joke–because you know my joke was
NOT HILARIOUS. I only pray that as I align them all and explain the importance of our task at hand, you will not just read this, comment or like, but you will actually allow the reality of our world to sink into the depths of your heart and move you to action. Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours…
[In the state of Florida]
There are approximately 4.1 million kids under the age of 18! This is 4.1 million kids who need to hear the Gospel.
37.5% kids were born to moms between the ages of 15 and 19. And 90% of those teen moms were unwed. And for almost 20% of those 15 to 19 year olds, that was their 2nd or even 3rd child. This is 38% of kids who are wounded and struggling to understand a grown up world without the chance to grow up.
38% of children in Florida live in a single parent household. This is 38% of kids who have no idea what family is suppose to be–how God designed it.
76,000 kids ages 10-17 are part of the juvenile justice system. After taking out the data for kids 0-9 and doing a few back flips and clicks, we are left with a rather large number of kids who break the law and are being shuffled through our system.
Thankfully, God made kids with open hearts, receptive to Him, desiring a relationship with Him. In fact, in the book of Matthew Jesus encourages us to be like children in our faith and our relationship with Him. Without fear, or questions–just trusting.
This is probably why 43% of all Christians come to faith in Christ before turning 13–and 64% make their commitment before turning 18.
So why is this?
Why are kids the ones most likely to come to Christ YET are living out lives that are filled with hurt and disconnection?
Why are kids suffering through the tragedy of not having a family, or starting their own families when they aren’t even old enough to rent a car? Why are kids alone? Confused? Traumatized?
Here is MY answer:
Churches are failing the next generations. We are too concerned with big stage designs and fun programming. We want ministry on Sunday to be fun before it is real. We don’t want to take the time to build relationships because we want to grow numbers. We are often times more concerned with the lighting in the worship center than we are with the child who’s dad just moved out.
Is raising and growing and loving our kids into a relationship with Christ important? YES! But more so, raising and growing and loving ALL kids into a relationship with Christ is of the utmost importance. We must talk with them, hug them, cry with them, hold their hands, pray with them and for them. We must do more!
I believe the condition of our generations breaks God’s heart. In Isaiah 53:3 it describes Jesus as “a Man of sorrows…acquainted with grief.” I believe that He is very much grieving over every lost, hurting child in this world.
It is up to you and to me to change that. We must care–we must love–we must share the Hope
of Christ. It is the ONLY answer.
“look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1:27
When I think of the word orphans I think of Annie. A bunch of precious little girls, without moms and dads, living in big huge rooms, with a mean orphan-mommy. I even think of Peter Pan–a bunch of wild boys, living how they want, fighting pirates and playing with indians. And then there is the orphans of Africa depicted in heart-wrenching commercials–protruding stomachs, flies hovering around their heads.
There are some realities in these types of orphans, but what about those orphans who actually live in families? Who have a mom or a dad–or both? Could a child who lives in a famliy be orphaned? I would argue yes.
The official Webster definition of orphan is this:
1. a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents
2. a young animal that has lost its mother
3. one deprived of some protection or advantage
Most kids fall under one of these three categories, even those children in families. Of course not all of them do–there are those elite who have involved biological parents who both live in their home and are married. This is the family that God designed–most kids, though, aren’t as privileged.
Most kids have divorced parents –and are deprived by one, if not both parents because of the circumstances.
Most kids are small and innocent, losing their mothers to relationship addictions, or busyness, or working. (now, don’t stone me–I’m a working mother–and once was a single, working mother–I’m just saying, there are those moms who put their careers before their children)
Most kids are deprived of the protection of a safe home, a safe family–or the advantage of having an involved father, or a mom who goes to soccer games. Most kids, on some level are orphaned. Too many to count, to even wrap your mind around. If you look at every child as orphaned in some way, you will begin to treat them differently, you will begin to tolerate certain things about them–and love them in a way you never have before. To be orphaned, normally, is to be victimized. A child doesn’t ask for his parents to divorce, or for his father to disappear or for his mother to spend another night of the week dating different random guy. A child doesn’t ask to live in fear, or be disadvantaged in any way shape or form. Yet we punish them as if they deserve to be treated in the manner in which I see them treated weekly.
It will take an entire church body (not a building, but THE church of God) to love and care for the orphans who attend our ministry weekly, who live next door, who go to school with your kids. It is all of our responsibility–God says so.