The books below are not directly connected to us, so disclaimer: We don’t necessarily approve of everything you might find in them. To recommend children’s ministry books, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Intergenerational Christian Formation
“Regular recipients of this Update may have noticed that I rarely recommend, as distinct from raise awareness of, particular books. However, I am prepared to highly recommend Intergenerational Christian Formation by Holly Allen and Christine Ross. Drawing on Biblical, Theological, Sociological and Pedagogical resources, this excellent book cogently sets out the basis for an intentionally intergenerational approach to Christian formation – as well as providing practical suggestions for implementation.”
– Chris Barnett, UCA Centre for Theology and Ministry
Lost in Transition – or Not?
by David Goodwin
~$25 at Koorong
If you knew for sure that 50% of your church membership would leave in the next 15 years and not go to any other church, what would you do? Something similar is happening in churches across Australia, but not with adult church members, with kids. The fact is, we know statistically, that a full half of the kids who are raised in churches, will leave before they reach adulthood, and won’t come back.
There are thousands of kids in our churches now who will soon be gone forever. It’s a fact. Look around on Sunday morning. Every second child will be a stranger to church 20 years from now. But there is now good news. Research has unearthed at least some of the factors that increase the chances of those kids staying.
David Goodwin’s recently published book Lost in Transition – Or Not? shares some very specific findings based on his 2012 Australian work for his Masters of Ministry. Here are just a few of them.
Children who attend all, or part, of the adult service on a regular basis are twice as likely to make a successful transition to adult church.
Adult church members who ignore children, or have mainly negative contact with them, are likely to be contributing to their decision to leave church.
There are positive effects when children and young people are able to participate in the adult service in a genuine way.
Children benefit from meeting church members in inter-generational settings outside the
Sunday services such as church social events.
If children enjoy their time in Children’s Ministry, they are more likely to continue to adult
These facts shout that church leaders must be aware of, and interested in, what happens in Kids Ministry. Also, what happens in church needs to be planned with everyone in mind, including the kids. If research shows that kids who are regularly in for at least part of the service are twice as likely to make a successful transition to adult church, can we afford not to include kids in our services? If kids who enjoy their time in kids ministry are more likely to continue into adult membership, church leaders need to make sure that children are having a positive experience in the kids program. They need to take an active role in ensuring that the best volunteers are involved and that those volunteers are prayed for, encouraged and supported to attend conferences and seminars to grow their skills.
Lost in Transition – Or Not? is just 64 pages and includes 30 very specific recommendations, all of which pastors and leadership teams should familiarise themselves with, but the following seven cover it broadly.
1. Ministry to children needs to be given greater priority in our churches.
2. Children need to be included by the adult members of the church and be given meaningful involvement in church services.
3. Churches need a viable youth group where children are encouraged to attend.
4. Faith development needs to be a strong focus in how and what children are taught.
5. Children need to be better prepared for challenges to their faith that will inevitably come.
6. Children benefit from Christian activities in addition to church services.
7. Churches need to strategise to make transitioning an easy progression.
So the ball’s in our court. We know the results of what we’re doing now. What will we do
differently to ensure that half our kids aren’t lost forever?
Lost in Transition – Or Not? can be ordered via email@example.com
or by phoning 1800 082 106 $24.94
David Goodwin has been in various leadership positions in children’s ministry for 40 years.
He is an ordained pastor with the CRC Churches in Australia. His home church is the Wesley International Congregation in Sydney NSW. This book was written as the result of his PhD studies.
Book review by Sally Smith, Children and Families Coordinator, Baptist Churches NSW and ACT
Formational Children’s Ministry
Beckwith’s latest book explores how our ministries are assisting kids to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. If you sometimes wonder if we’re more concerned with entertaining children than transforming their lives, you’ll be pleased to discover that you’re not the only one.
This book could give you fuel for talking with others about how to intentionally equip the kids in your church to know God and live as a Jesus follower.
Here’s just a taste:
‘The New Testament is full of stories of people literally dropping everything to follow Jesus. And the history of the church is full of the same kind of stories of people being compelled to give up wealth, careers, and life, in order to work in and for the kingdom of God.
‘…what must it take to capture our children’s imaginations, and then their souls, through the hope and magnificent love of God’s kingdom? It takes people – mums, dads, Sunday school teachers, pastors, children’s directors and youth ministers who themselves have had their imaginations captured by the kingdom of God. It takes being intentional with story, ritual, and relationships at home, in the faith community and in worship with children. And it takes the power of these elements to inspire and form children into adults who not only desire to live in the way of Jesus but who daily make choices to live that way.’
About $12 on Amazon (hard copy)