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Children have always been close to the heart of God and as followers of Jesus it is our responsibility to protect, nurture, and pass our faith to children. In Small Matters: How Churches and Parents Can Raise Up World-Changing Children, authors Greg Nettle and Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado offer a model of discipleship that encourages parents to raise up the next generation to be deeply committed to and in love with Jesus.
When we awaken to the fact that children between the ages of four and fourteen are the most likely to make a decision to follow Jesus, and that the discipleship that children receive forms their future, it will transform the way we view children, invest in them, reach out to them, teach them and ultimately, empower them to be disciples of Jesus.
In recent history the church has embraced a model of discipleship that encourages parents to, “Bring your children to us and we will disciple them. And, by the way, we would love it if you would help.” This model is ineffective as much as it is unbiblical. It is imperative that the church today shifts to a new model of discipleship that encourages parents to, “Disciple your children as your primary responsibility. And, we (the church) would love to help.”
Because our world is becoming more and more sensitive to the needs of children, a reflection of the heart of God, it provides those of us who follow Jesus with an unprecedented opportunity to disciple children in our homes, in our churches, in our communities and throughout the world. Now more than ever people are willing to invest in the cause of children through new church planting, equipping children’s ministries, and child sponsorship; all of which are committed to holistic child development.
About the Authors
Greg Nettle serves as the President of Stadia Global Church Planting. Stadia and Compassion International have partnered to plant 50 new churches throughout Latin America over the past four years. Greg recently concluded a 25 year ministry as Visionary Leader of the RiverTree Movement—a church that grew from 100 to more than 3000 people during his tenure. RiverTree sponsors more than 2000 Compassion children and has helped more than 200 families adopt. Greg and his wife, Julie, have been married for more than 20 years; they have two children, Tabitha and Elijah. As a result of God “wrecking” Greg’s heart over children at risk, Greg and Julie now sponsor 8 Compassion children and have become foster parents, which led to the adoption of their son, Elijah, from Cleveland, Ohio. Greg is the co-author of two books; One Of and Disciples Who Make Disciples (with Alex Absalom). Greg has the opportunity to speak to vast numbers of people every year through conferences, his blog (www.gregnettle.com), teaching in large church settings and traveling throughout the world. Greg is passionate about mountain climbing, which translates into helping children climb out of the dangers that accompany both poverty and prosperity.
Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado began his service with Compassion in June of 2013 and was officially installed as President & CEO in September that same year. Jimmy is responsible for leading and managing all aspects of this global organization and over 3,000 employees worldwide.
Jimmy has a deep love and passion for the beauty and potential of local churches fulfilling their Jesus given mandate to redeem and restore this world for His name’s sake. Born in El Salvador and raised in seven different countries (including the Compassion countries of Nicaragua, Bolivia, El Salvador, Colombia and the Philippines), Jimmy has experienced firsthand the powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their communities. Compassion’s church-based approach to delivering a holistic child development program resonates deeply with Jimmy’s soul.
Prior to joining Compassion Jimmy was President of the Willow Creek Association (WCA) for approximately twenty years and became skilled in managing the complexities of running a multi-national organization. The WCA is a not-for-profit ministry completely dedicated to helping local churches thrive. During his tenure leading the WCA, worldwide membership grew from 860 churches to over 7,000 churches, and annual conference attendance from approximately 10,000 to more than 180,000.
Jimmy married his wife Leanne in 1986 and they have three children named Ester, Elisabeth and David as well as son-in-law Matt who is married to Ester. Together they sponsor eight Compassion children living in Central America.
Jimmy and Greg weave together Scripture, research, and their experience to give you and me a remarkable tool that will change not just us but the kids we care about. -- Kara Powell, Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute
Greg and Jimmy have impacted hundreds of thousands of kids and families, and now they share powerful insights on how we can make a difference in our own corner of the world. -- Jud Wilhite, senior pastor, Central Church; author, Pursued
In Small Matters, you’ll find how faith communities and families can partner to make sure the next generation is known more for its compassion than its consumption. -- Reggie Joiner, founder and CEO, Orange
God is calling us to unleash biblically anchored, Christ-centered, world-changers. Grab this book and get the tools that will equip you to raise up world-changing children. -- Craig Groeschel, senior pastor, Life Church