"During the past ten years an army of over thirty million people have come to the United States. Because they have arrived one by one, appearing innocent and harmless, we have not suspected their potential power. Some day soon, however, we shall awaken to the fact that this army has taken over our nation. They will capture Washington and dominate the Federal Government, as well as the administration of each state. They will publish our papers, operate our radio and television stations, control our churches, and teach in our schools. They will take over business and industry, including the control of atomic energy. Complete authority will be in their hands. All that will remain for the rest of us will be to submit and die.
"This army, of course, is an army of children. It is composed of the millions of boys and girls, over one-fifth of our population, who are under twelve years of age." So said J. Allen Blair in his tract, "Don't Forget The Children."
According to some recent statistics:
More than 83% of the children who attend church leave the church by the time they are 16 years of age. Approximately 80% of the children in America's churches are unevangelized.
Approximately 20 million children in America are presently being raised in single-parent homes.
Only 2 out of every 100 students in one of our nation's finest Bible colleges could testify that their father had indoctrinated them in spiritual things.
God's Word commands us concerning children:
"Despise not" - Matthew 18:10
"Forbid them not" - Mark 10:14
"Offend them not" - Matthew 18:6
"Teach them" - Deuteronomy 6:6,7
"Train them" - Proverbs 22:6
"Go, seek, and find them" - Matthew 18:12-14
"Feed them" - John 21:15
Children need to be won to Christ. They are capable of being saved early in life. Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, said, "A child of five, if properly instructed, can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult. As soon as a child is capable of being lost, it is capable of being saved. As soon as a child can sin, that child can, if God's grace assist it, believe and receive the Word of God. As soon as children can learn evil, be assured that they are competent, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to learn good."
D. L. Moody commented: "I believe myself that if children are old enough to come to Sunday School they are old enough to come to Calvary. Let us make up our minds, God helping us, to win the children for Christ."
Martin Luther wrote: "If Christendom is to be helped, one must begin with the children."
Augustus Strong concurred: "There is no good reason to doubt the fact of the importance of conversion in childhood."
Richard Baxter was saved at the age of 6.
Jonathan Edwards was saved at the age of 8.
Isaac Watts was saved at the age of 9.
Polycarp was saved at the age of 9.
Matthew Henry was saved at the age of 11.
Harry Ironside was saved at the age of 14.
Charles Spurgeon was saved at the age of 15.
D. L. Moody was saved at the age of 17.
Hudson Taylor was saved at the age of 17.
Ninety out of 100 are saved by the age of 18.
Ninety-five out of 100 are saved by the age of 25.
One of the best ways to reach children for Christ is through true stories that present the Gospel and the way of salvation. Spurgeon said, "Even the little children open their eyes and ears, and a smile brightens up their faces as we tell a story." Then he tells the story of a class he taught:
"I used to have a class of boys when I was a Sunday School teacher, and if I was even a little dull, they began to make wheels of themselves, twisting around on the seats...and I learned to tell stories partly by being obliged to tell them. One boy used to say to me, 'This is very dull, teacher, can't you pitch us a yarn?'...I used to try and pitch him the yarn that he wanted in order to get his attention."
Thomas Guthrie, the great Scottish preacher, had a custom of examining on Sunday evening the children regarding his morning sermon. He discovered that what the children remembered was some story or illustration he had used. That started him on his great career as a pictorial preacher.Ethel Barrett, in her book, Story-telling — It's Easy, wrote: "Storytelling is a means of reaching 'children of all ages' with the good things of God. You are not limited, you have vast possibilities in a story that you will never have in a speech. And if your forte is lessons or sermons or speeches, you have limitless opportunities to apply your storytelling know-how to your illustrations. People remember a story. They also remember the illustrations long after they've forgotten the speaker. Storytelling is vivid, bringing to life before the listener things that might never have been real to him before."
Dr. Lambert Baker is a professor at the United States International University in San Diego, California. According to a study of three schools in northern San Diego County, he says only 13% of the parents ever read or tell stories to their children. Baker, who teaches children's literature classes, is a strong believer in reading books aloud.
More than that, he suggests to parents that they select books based on true stories. He said, "Most people are totally unaware of the fact that what they believe as adults is directly related to what they read as children. What I believe now in terms of value structure, I got from children's stories that were read to me or children's stories that I read myself."
In this book I have compiled and edited 101 true stories for children. To my knowledge there is no book on the market today containing all true stories for children. These stories can be read by the children themselves if they are able to read, or read or told to the children by others if the children are unable to read yet. These stories may also be used to illustrate sermons and lessons given by ministers and teachers, and Christian workers may use them in VBS and Children's Church.
For a number of years I shared these stories on radio and in my evangelistic meetings, and it's a real joy now to share them with a wider audience. My prayer is that God will be pleased to use them to win many boys and girls to the Saviour, and also, after they are won to the Saviour, I pray the stories may be used to teach, train, and feed them. May all the glory go to God.
I wish to thank those who shared these stories with us. May God richly bless them.
From Preface of 101 True Stories for Children by Carl G. Johnson. Beckley, WV: The Author, ©1985. Note: This book was published by the author and is now very rare.
>> True Stories of God's Love in Children's Corner