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Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing
Author: Dr. Wess Stafford with Dean Merrill
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Length: 266 pp. (preview copy)
Wess Stafford has spent years working with children all over the world as president and CEO of Compassion International. He spent years living in Africa as the son of missionaries. If anyone is qualified to speak to the needs of children both in the United States and abroad, it is Stafford.
Too Small to Ignore makes the case that people generally accept Christ before they graduate from high school. The chances of this occurring after that part of a person's life decrease drastically. Stafford's argument is this: if children are the highest percentage of new Christians, why do we neglect them in ministry? Why are children's ministries, and particularly overseas children's missions, such a small part of church budgets?
The "it takes a village" argument resurfaces here, but there is some credence to it, in the way that Stafford lays it out. He recalls his days in Africa, where everyone took care of everyone else's needs. He also reminds us of the neighborhood structures the United States had just two generations ago, where people knew their neighbors, and trusted each other to keep an eye on each other's children.
In other areas, the ways in which children are trained to think less of themselves are examined. Stafford posits that this generation of children in our country has been trained to have short attention spans, have not been taught to act and think for themselves, and do not know where to look for positive role models. None of this is new thinking, but all of it makes good sense.
This book can serve as a wake up call for parents and youth leaders. It shows that we are missing the boat on reaching the next generation of potential leaders in our country – a shameful error at best, and one that could have far reaching consequences if something isn't done soon.
Brian A. Smith 1/3/2005