Train children in the way they should go. When they are old, they will not turn away from it. (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)
After I moved recently, I set out to find the best travel route to and from work. Each day I would test a different route, hoping to cut a few precious minutes off my daily trek. But I quickly learned that the biggest time-saver wasn't a special route. Rather it was about timing. There were "windows of opportunity" in the traffic patterns. By adjusting my departure by just five or 10 minutes, I could avoid the heaviest travel times and reduce my journey time significantly.
There are windows of opportunity in children's ministry too. And they're far more crucial to understand. In one study, researcher George Barna concluded, "In essence what you believe by the time you are 13 is what you will die believing."
Of course, many adults may have life-changing experiences that alter their religious beliefs. However, the statistical reality is that the majority lock in their beliefs before ...1