Those were the words that flew off the page of the church records that Christian author Tony Campolo read, standing alone in the basement of the church he had grown up in Philadelphia. He had recently moved back to the area, but had never been to his former neighborhood. The church had been boarded up as the neighborhood changed from one culture to another and then back again. Dr. Campolo was saddened, but also curious about what went wrong.
The church had once been a vibrant body of believers, supporting missionaries, evangelizing the lost and ministering to the people in their neighborhood. He remembered the year that he himself had been one to the Lord and received permission from the last living elders to look at the church records. He now found himself looking at those records, and working through the boxes he found the reports for the year that he was saved.
Giving was down, attendance was down, this or that needed repair or replacement, but what caught his attention most was the report on the number of people who were saved that year. The year Dr. Campolo was saved, he was one of three people saved, “but they were just kids.”
What the writer of that report did not and could not know was that those three kids had gone on to do amazing things for the Lord. Tony Campolo is known as one of the brightest and well-liked Christian author and educator. Of those other two kids, one of them became the president of a denominational mission work and the third became a pastor who went on to have a great ministry in leading a local congregation.
Don’t you see? Every great leader the world has ever known was once a child! Someone, somewhere along the way, influenced the children that have gone on to be those great leaders. Some influenced them physically to tell them that they have value and they are a good artist, or that they could throw a ball well, but some influenced them spiritually in a way that made an impression on them like a handprint in wet cement.
Everywhere you see a child, you should see an opportunity to help a future leader. Today, tomorrow and everyday, you need to slow down and kneel down and touch the life of a child. I dare you to find a child you know, get down on their level physically and compliment them. The smile on their face will give you a lot of joy. You will see the effect of simple influence in the life of a child.