Thirteen is the average age that members of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) became Christians, according to the NAE’s spring poll. The median age when NAE members became Christians is 11.
Evangelicals believe that salvation is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Each person is invited to accept God’s forgiveness, which is freely offered to all who believe.
The majority of the respondents (63 percent) accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord while they were 4-14 years old, in what is known as the 4/14 Window.
The 4/14 Window describes the opportunity for evangelization within the 4-14 age range, suggesting that most people who become Christians do so during those ages. A 2004 Barna Group study indicated that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43 percent), and that two out of three born again Christians (64 percent) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday.
Responses of the NAE Asks You poll ranged from six weeks old to 50 years old. The NAE member with the six-week old conversion noted that his tradition holds to baptismal regeneration, which links salvation to the rite of baptism. The person who came to Christ at 50 was also baptized as an infant, but said that he fell away for many years, became a Christian later in life, and now serves as a pastor.
One member said, “I made my personal public profession of faith upon my baptism at age 19; however, as the great theologian, T.F. Torrance put it: ‘I was saved about 2,000 years ago in the death and resurrection of Jesus.’”
Another survey participant, who became a Christian at age 9, described his decision as “clear, heart-felt, beyond cerebral assent, life-defining.”
While the poll revealed a few denominational distinctives regarding salvation, comments provided by NAE members demonstrated the unique ways in which individuals come to saving faith.
Some became Christians through the ministry of the Good News Club, InterVarsity, Vacation Bible Schools and revivals. Several people identified the specific place of their conversion from the kitchen table or grandmother’s home to the campfire of a Christian camp or altar of a local church. Many noted the family member, pastor or friend who led them to the Lord. And there are some who can not recall a specific date or place, echoing one respondent: “I can’t remember a time in my life where I did not identify as a Christian.”
For more information about becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, visit PeaceWithGod.net.
For Further Reading
“Evangelism is Most Effective Among Kids,” Barna Group, October 11, 2004, https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids#.VZxGF-1Viko
John W. Kennedy, “The 4-14 Window,” Christianity Today, July 1, 2004, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/july/37.53.html
“Religious Switching and Intermarriage” in America’s Changing Religious Landscape (Pew Research Center, 2015), http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-2-religious-switching-and-intermarriage/