Look Them in the Eyes...Why a Personal Connection at Church Makes All the Difference in a Chlid's Life

I believe one of the keys to seeing a child grow up to love Jesus and His church is the child making a personal connection at church.  I've often said this. 
It only takes one caring adult to make the difference in a child's life.  
Every time they are at church, children need someone who knows their name, looks them in the eye, tells them they matter and prays for them by name.  And it must start early, even in the nursery.

There's a new study that shows the impact it can make in a child's life when they make a personal connection with a caring adult.  The study found that when adults and babies look at each other, their brain waves sync up.  This creates what researchers call "a joint networked state" that helps them connect.  When babies make this connection, they will try to vocalize and communicate more.

A test was done by researchers at the Baby-LINC Lab at the University of Cambridge.  The test showed babies videos of adults singing nursery rhymes.  In the first video, the singers looked straight at the babies.  In the second video, the singers did not look at the babies, and in the third video, singers turned their heads, but keep their eyes directed toward the babies.  

While the babies were watching the videos, the researchers monitored their brainwave patterns.  The results showed that the babies' brains made a stronger connection when they could see the singers' eyes.  And the strongest connection was made when the singers had their head turned away, but were looking at the child.  Researchers believe this is because the babies recognized that the singers were intentionally looking at them.

Researchers then did the same test, but this time they used live singers.  Results showed that both the babies and the adults became more synchronized to each other's brain activity when eye contact was made.  When the singers looked away, the brain connection dropped off some.  The babies also made more sounds while they were making eye contact with the adults, showing they wanted to communicate.

A great goal for your ministry would be to make sure every child has a personal connection with a caring leader.

Encourage nursery leaders to spend time looking in the eyes of every baby while talking to them, telling them they are loved by God and the church, praying for them and reading God's Word to them.

Train your guest services team to look guests in the eyes while they are welcoming them.  This means looking at them, rather than looking past them.  There's a big difference and guests immediately know the difference.

Teach your preschool leaders to get down on their knees and make direct eye contact with every single child sometime during class.

Build a volunteer team in elementary, so every single boy and girl can be part of a small group (and small doesn't mean a ratio of 1 to 20) where a leader personally knows them and prays for them by name.

Have leaders in your pre-teen ministry that are involved in the lives of the kids and know when they are absent.

If you take a closer look at Jesus' ministry, you will see a pattern of personal connections.  He often looked for the one person He needed to connect with.  Zacchaeus.  The woman with the issue of blood.  Nicodemus.  The woman at the well. 
Discipleship doesn't happen in a crowd, but in personal connections.
Imagine the impact that could happen this weekend, if every child in your ministry was greeted upon arrival, by an adult who stopped what they were doing, looked the child in the eyes and said "I'm so glad you are here.  I've been waiting all week to SEE you."

That is how you change a child's life.