As a person who feels his calling is worship, I actually get simultaneously excited and intimidated by missions. On the one hand, I believe that missions and worship are completely interconnected in the way that John Piper describes, that is, worship is both the fuel and the goal of missions. So it excites me whenever I hear about how God is moving in different nations around the world. But it also freaks me out to think that one day, God may call me out into the field.
For now, I have reached a compromise. I’m good to go on short-term mission trips to urban centres where there are at least some modern conveniences. It doesn’t have to be a four-star hotel, as long as there is running water and I don’t have to bring a shovel. So, I’ve been on mission trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Sapporo, and yes, there are unreached peoples in those cities, would you believe.
Yesterday, I was really moved and excited when Pastor Benny Ho shared on “New Megatrends in Missions” as part of Faith Community Church’s Missions Month. The message was prophetic, futurist and visionary, not only because Pastor Benny was able to clearly dissect the latest trends in missions, but because he put Faith Community Church right into the frame in terms of how, as a church, we can also flow with those trends.
One of the trends he shared was that the missions movement was shifting emphasis from “the 10/40 Window” to the “4/14 Window”. This was the first time I had heard of the 4/14 Window.
Essentially, it was referring to the age group 4 to 14 years of age. The idea here is that it is easier for a person aged 4 to 14 to come to Christ than an older person. Allied to that concept was that a person’s effectiveness and impact in the kingdom of God shouldn’t be limited because the person was young.
Pastor Benny shared about the 8-year old preacher, Moko, from Sulawesi Indonesia.
In an area where persecution of the church is rife, Moko’s preaching is drawing crowds. Many are giving their lives to Jesus. As Moko conducts his rallies, he is accompanied by another 8-year old named Selfin who is anointed in the working of healings and miracles. So whilst Moko preaches, the preaching of the Word is accompanied by signs and wonders as Selfin ministers. As a result of their ministry, communities in Sulawesi are being transformed.
I think for too long, the church has marginalised our kids. We relegate them to classes where they can colour in pictures, watch colourful performances and earn smiley-face stickers whilst they complete worksheets. I think God is restoring the rightful place of children in our churches and giving them a mantle for ministry that will well excel those of adults!
I think about this in the context of worship. Years ago, I was teaching on warfare worship at my church training school. I observed that one of the trends in worship was that we would begin to “bring in the little ones” and realise their potential.
In the classic text on warfare worship in 2 Chron 20, the chronicler notes in verse 13 that all generations participated in worship and intercession before the Lord (to which God responded by routing the enemy forces):
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
This makes it very clear that “little ones” participated in enforcing God’s victory.
Look at Psalm 8:2:
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise, because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
And Matthew 21:14-16:
The blind and the lame came to [Jesus] at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David”, they were indignant.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’”
I can think of worse things children can do than to shout “Hosanna to the Son of David”. And yet, many churches today are like the chief priests and teachers of the law who see the children as disruptive, rather than leaders of worship (or any other ministry for that matter).
The word “ordain” means “to establish”. My reading of this is that God has established a capacity to praise in people from a very young age. In fact, I believe that He has established the capacity not just to praise. Jesus, as a twelve year old taught in the temple courts and astounded his hearers. Josiah became King of Israel at the age of 8 and was a reformer of worship. Despite his age, he was able to lead an entire nation in following after God.
I have seen footage of Indian children in an orphanage engaging together in militant intercession and travail. I have seen pictures of children in the SuperKids Church in Malaysia laying hands on older folks and praying for healing. And now, I have read about Moko and Selfin in Sulawesi.
I believe that the 4/14 Window is more than just a new megatrend in missions but that a revival is starting to spread around the world that will unleash a new harvest force of children whose anointing and spiritual impact will surprise us all.