Training and saving young people is one of the most important missions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Scientists tell us that children's brain patterns are formed by the time they reach 12 years of age. This means that during their early, formative years, it is crucial that they be taught good habits. Centuries ago, the Scriptures recorded, "Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) This is more than a cliche — it is now a proven fact.
The church must accept an increased responsibility in influencing the child for Christ because of the breakdown of social structures. Within the Adventist church, the divorce rate is no different from the general public. In one out of every five Adventist homes, the spouse is not an Adventist. This means that in those families, there is only one parent to provide the encouragement and incentive needed to lead the children to Christ. Even in two-parent homes, both parents often work away from home, spending little time with the children. This reduces the effectiveness of the home influence and adds to the responsibilities of the church.
Only about 50 percent of Adventist children in grades 1-8 are attending church school, and in some conferences, the percentage is less. The church is challenged to nurture these children from Adventist homes who are attending public school. Pathfindering has the potential to meet their needs.