I recently taught the membership class at our Church to over 40 individuals. It is a two-hour class that is designed to teach what our Church believes and how we function. I have taught it at this Church 4 times and each time I handle the class about the same way.
First, I give everyone a book. Then a teach part of what the book says but add lots of needed information to the words on the page. Finally, I have everyone fill out a sheet with information about themselves so that I can have a follow-up visit. This time as I was looking through everyone’s information sheets I noticed something unique.
1. Roughly 90% of the class became Christians before the age of 19.
I am used to seeing a large number of people accept Christ before they turn 19. Nationally I have read the statistic is about 75% of all believers come to faith before they leave high school. Our number for this class was way higher.
The first lesson that immediately comes to mind is about the importance of what we teach our children. What are you teaching your kids about faith? Our words will stick with them for a lifetime.
The second lesson comes from the joy of seeing people stick with their faith their entire lives. Some of the people who took the class are over 65, and they have followed Jesus since the age of 6 or 8 years old. There are still committed individuals in the world.
The third lesson was learning that several of these people had wondered from the faith during their college years or in their twenties and now they had come back to their faith. I found this especially encouraging because of the number of young people I see who make decisions and then leave the Church. It ‘s nice to know that many of them come back.
2. 10% still accept Christ after the age of 18.
While many people find Jesus early, there are still those who accept later. I remember one-time thinking that I would never baptize and adult. It seemed as if the only ones who would respond to my teaching about faith were children. Through the years that has actually flip-flopped for me. I ended up having more people make faith decisions as adults than as children. This group always encourages me. To know that there are adults still willing to change their lives no matter where they have been. While 10% was low for any class I have taught I am still glad the number was not less.
I am sure the decision to become a Christian is harder for an adult than for a child. It makes me glad to know that the gospel is still being accepted by older people across the country.
Rarely do I lie out people’s information and have something like this jump out to me. One look through the pages revealed that God is at work in both young and old. The Church needs to never shy away from people making faith decisions no matter what their age.