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Are Adults Shortchanging the Spiritual Growth of Children

Contact: Louise Ferrebee, PR Coordinator, Pioneer Clubs, 630-876-5714, lferrebee@pioneerclubs.org

WHEATON, Ill., Dec. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- Did you say “no” the last time someone asked you to help with a children’s ministry program? A recent survey of 275 adults in leadership positions in Pioneer Clubs® confirmed that adults play a vital role in the faith development of children. Yet one of the most challenging tasks facing children’s ministries is getting adult volunteers.

“In our experience leader recruitment is an issue for nearly 75 percent of churches,” says Judy Bryson, president of Pioneer Clubs, a national children’s midweek ministry program since 1939. “Adults have time. However, they won’t invest that time in children’s programs unless they believe that children’s ministry is a priority with eternal significance.”

How important are adults to a child’s spiritual growth? When asked about their own spiritual development, 69 percent of Pioneer Clubs leaders “agreed to strongly agreed” that an adult other than a pastor or parent influenced their faith development.

“Adults, who have on-going relationships with children, such as a club leader or Sunday school teacher, make a critical difference in children’s faith foundation. A low adult-to-child ratio lets such relationships thrive,” explains Bryson. The survey showed 68 percent “strongly agree” that adult interaction is vital to a child’s spiritual transformation.

Studies also indicate that childhood faith development predicts adult commitment to Christ. The Pioneer Clubs survey firmly supports this, with 71 percent of respondents indicating they “agree to strongly agree” that their “understanding of faith was fundamentally shaped by childhood religious experiences.”

What motivates adults to invest time in children? According to those leaders surveyed, 71 percent “like seeing a child understand how the Bible relates to daily life,” 69 percent want to be part of a child’s spiritual development, 56 percent look forward to sharing their faith but barely half (48 percent) see it as their responsibility as Christians.

“As Christians, we are all called to nurture the next generation of believers,” says Bryson. “We can’t hope that ‘someone else’ will shoulder the burden. If we fail to foster a child’s Christian faith, something else will quickly fill the spiritual void.”

Pioneer Clubs is a church-sponsored midweek club program for boys and girls age two through grade 12. At Pioneer Clubs children learn new skills, make friends, have fun and develop Christian values. The organization is headquartered in Wheaton, Illinois, and has served churches across North America since 1939.