It’s no coincidence that school age starts at 6. At 6 we are ready to share the center of attention, even if it’s just in short spans of time, and we are also willing to jump on the wildest adventures of imagination. From 6 to 9 we start to compete for life; we don’t believe anymore that we are good at everything. The world at that point is very concrete or at least we suspect it should be. Justice and fairness are fundamental; therefore, consistency is required from parents, educators and church. The same way children start to learn math, they can also start learning about the beautiful story of God revealed in his word, like in no other stage of life.
If all children who went to a church would still attend today, churches would be much larger. We lost many of them in the step from childhood to preadolescence because we didn’t plan for intelligent transitions. Until they become adolescents, our kids get involved in church because of family decision. Of course, they have their opinion about the programs, but they still haven’t reached the autonomy of their convictions, and therefore, their spiritual maturity cannot be evaluated just by their behavior in meetings. Family and church can establish a powerful bond when they anticipate stage changes by planning adjustments before each transition.
Every development stage needs the proper pastoral approach. Preadolescents are not college students, and adolescents are not children nor adults; that’s why the pedagogical system with some cannot be the same with others. If preadolescents programs are the same as college students’, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some or all will be disappointed with the church and strongly question family values. We should be sensitive to each stage and continue to discover what God established for a healthy maturity of each person according to their own life stage.
Our new generations need to be cared for and to lead them is not the job of second class leaders who are abandoned while the whole church focuses on parallel efforts. The pastors of growing churches recognize the urgency of investing time and resources in the new generations’ ministry as the vitality of an intentional vision regarding discipleship that involves the whole family of children, preadolescents, adolescents and college students.
Family and church shouldn’t be two separate efforts. When children’s teachers and youth leaders stop involving and serving the families, they lose the main platform of influence. Church and family can work hand in hand as partners in the spiritual formation of new generations. Family has always been God’s plan A and church should be an extension and support to influence family, or a place of refuge for unreached families.
In his letter to the Colossians (1:28), Paul clearly states that he teaches so that every person would reach maturity (teleios). The educational task of the church is not to entertain the new generations with nice programs but to disciple them on the road to the holistic maturity that Jesus modeled. Humans beings have physical, social, intellectual, emotional as well as spiritual dimensions, and they all are interlaced in a wonderful design by God; we should interpret it in order to enable a full life in Christ for new generations.
The purpose of Especialidades 625 is to offer the best resources for those who work in the discipleship
of new generations from 6 to 25 years old.
We are a team of pastors and leaders from different countries, denominations, churches (size and style), that love Christ and new generations.
Especialidades 625 was born as Especialidades Juveniles (Youth Specialties) with the first Youth Leadership International Convention held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September 2001. Dr. Lucas Leys started to dream about providing specialized tools to youth leaders in the Spanish speaking world as he worked in the evangelization of teenagers. He observed that churches were not ready to embrace kids who would come from other than Christian homes, and many still struggled to hold on to their children. Therefore, Lucas traveled to the U.S. to receive training in order to develop a global effort focused on helping the church develop healthy and equipped leaders to work with new generations.
Years later, Lucas became the President of Editorial Vida (the Spanish division of Zondervan) and published about a hundred books for youth ministry. Still concerned about the future of the Church, looking for God’s guidance and committed to research, he understood that the ministry paradigm inherited from the American missions in the 20 th century segregated children’s ministry and youth ministry, and that was a serious mistake. Lucas started to discern a vision of continuous progression from conscious childhood until the start of adulthood called Generational Leadership. The Especialidades brand replaced Juveniles by 625.
Nowadays, e625 is present in all Spanish speaking countries of the world serving thousands pastors, leaders and parents through our website, specialized books and resources, the online Institute e625, and partnering with teams and local churches to develop seminars, forums, summits all around the