At the end of the last century I wrote a pamphlet entitled The 10/40 Window: Getting to the Core of the Core. In the first years of this new century, I am urging a new missional focus: The 4/14 Window. Although in a different sense, it too can be called "the core of the core." The 10/40 Window referenced a geographic frame; the 4/14 Window describes a demographic frame—a life season comprising the ten years between the ages of 4 and 14.
This booklet is an urgent appeal to consider the strategic importance and potential of the 1.2 billion children and youth in the 4/14 Window. It is a plea to open your heart and mind to the idea of reaching and raising up a new generation from within that vast group—a generation that can experience personal transformation and can be mobilized as agents for transformation throughout the world. Our vision and hope is to maximize their transformational impact while they are young, and to mobilize them for continuing impact for the rest of their lives. I invite you to join with many others who are making a commitment to fulfill this vision and realize this hope.
To maximize the transformational impact of children and youth in the 4/14 Window we must address the spiritual, mental, physical, relational, economic, and social issues they face. We must also confront their "ministerial poverty"—the scarcity of opportunities for them to exercise their gifts and achieve their potential in ways that honor God and advance His Kingdom.
It is crucial that mission efforts be re-prioritized and re-directed toward the 4-14 age group worldwide. This requires that we become acutely aware of what is taking place in their lives. We must also endeavor to understand their nature and the essential means to nurture them. Only with this kind of informed awareness will we be able to reach them, shape them, and raise them up to transform the world.
This booklet presents an overview of the needs, nature and potential of children and youth in the 4/14 Window. It also addresses the very real opposition and obstacles to raising them up as a transformational generation. We must not be defeated by the opposition or deterred by the obstacles; and as we engage in strategic global thinking and answer God’s call to catalytic action, we must do so within a biblical framework.
The meaning and implications of a world-transforming mission is based on the Word of God itself. The term transformation comes from the Greek word metamorphoo. The word metamorphoo is made up of two words: meta which means change, and morphoo which means form. In the natural realm, it describes the process by which a caterpillar completes its miraculous makeover into a beautifully mature adult butterfly. In the Scriptures the term is used to describe Jesus when He was transfigured: His outward appearance changed, He became radiant and His clothes became intensely white (Mark 9:2).
Transformation results in a greater likeness to the nature of God Himself and a greater adherence to His will for the human race. The term metamorphoo is used in 2 Corinthians 3:18 to describe this process: "...being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." It is clear that transformation comes from the Lord for it is rooted in His nature, and it is an expression of His character.
Scripture makes it absolutely clear that the transformational mission of God involves bringing together all things under the headship of Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10) through the church, which is His body. The church is the fullness of Christ on earth, who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23), with the resul that all things on earth are reconciled and aligned to Him (Colossians 1:20). The body of Christ worldwide—including children and youth in the 4-14 Window—are God’s agents of transformation under the headship of Jesus Christ. Every Christ follower in every community and nation—even children and youth—are called to involvement in Christ’s transformational mission.
As we approach this bold initiative, engaging and seeking to equip a new generation to transform the world, we do well to adopt the watchword, "transformed and always transforming." This simple phrase reminds us that transformation is a process and is not fully realized until Jesus comes again. We are co-laborers with Christ, under His headship, collaborating with Him in His transformational mission to raise up a new generation from the 4/14 Window to transform the world.
Such global transformation will only take place as God’s people are individually re-made through the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2). Then they will discover the good and perfect will of God, this will be their "spiritual act of worship," and they will be led to engage in God’s mission. May God renew our minds through His Word and the vision presented in this booklet. May we be God’s change agents to transform the world for the glory of Christ. By God’s grace, may the world as we know it be transformed.