by Dr. John W. Lucas 

“The Church may be missing the greatest opportunity for youth evangelization in this century. Everyday throughout America, hundreds of thousands of young school children go home to an empty house. Many of these “latchkey children” go to the public library. In fact one librarian in San Marino, California said she serves as policeman, caretaker, referee and nurse to 40 to 60 children as young as first grade who descend upon her every weekday afternoon.

I know of only one church in my locality that is open after school to minister to these children. Consider the impact the Church would have on these children who are indoctrinated by the public schools into Secular Humanism. What impact would this ministry have on the parents of these children?

Many of our evangelical churches have programs such as Sonlight and Awana which could be held after school. A snack could be provided to each child, time to do homework or receive special tutoring. Most of this work could be done by volunteers. A free-will offering could be accepted by the parents of these children each week.

If the Church fails to meet the challenge of this community need, we shall surely see the State move in with special day-care and after-school care programs in which the children will be further brainwashed by Secular Humanism. Federal legislation has already been introduced for federally funded, mandatory day care beginning with four year olds.

Someone reading this article who is Spirit-filled and has the necessary qualifications to begin this ministry should listen to what the Spirit says; “Let the children come unto me” (Mark 10:14). Our fellowship could begin a new ministry that could have national significance and bring the salvation of Jesus Christ to thousands of unchurched children. Who will heed the call? Let us remember, today’s student is tomorrow’s government.”

As an inner-city church “Immanuel” (Calgary, Alberta) has discovered the truth of the above article by Wayne S. Matulis that originally appeared in the July, 1988 Conviction magazine.

There is a large pariochal high school one block from our Church with a 2,000 student public high school 6 blocks down the street. It was discovered that many immigrant and refugee students daily arrived at school hungry not having had any breakfast as their families could not afford to provide it. Our Church opened its doors each week for “KD Friday” when Kraft Dinner was freely served. The youth facilities provided space for games and one-on-one friendship evangelism. How thrilling to view the initial response when the youth pastor led several students who had no religious background previous to accept Christ as their own personal Saviour!

It is a mission field of kids and youth on the Church’s doorstep. What unique effort is your local church currently doing or planning to do? We look forward to your response in the comments.


Dr. John Lucas has served in pastoral ministry for over 50 years and is the former National Coordinator of The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies of Canada and is now an Elder Emeritus of FCA Canada.

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