Rarely have I ever come across a book which was surrounded by so much anticipated and delivered on that anticipation in such a big way when it finally arrived. Collaborate: Family + Church delivered on those high expectations and actually far exceeded them. Collaborate is not so much a traditional book as is a collection of articles from leaders in the fields of children’s and youth ministry. The book is focused primarily on the idea of the orange concept which maintains that the family working together with the church is the most effective way to reach and disciple children for the kingdom of Christ.
The list of authors of this book reads like a who’s who of children’s ministry in the world today, and though I know that many of them would humbly object to such a title, these really are the cream of the crop in terms of role models and visionaries in children’s ministry. The articles offer a plethora of thought provoking ideas, practical advice, and convicting insights. Whether it is an article on parenting by Jim Wideman, an article on getting along with your senior pastor, advice on baptism from Kenny Conley, or advice on being a hospitable pastor’s wife from Joyce Oglesby, this books offers something from everyone. There were certainly chapters which resonated more with me like the offerings from Jim Wideman, Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, Fred Stocker, Gina McClain, Dick Gruber, Rob Rienow and Yancy Richmond. These resonated because they touched something that God has already laid on my heart and/or laid something on my heart through the chapter. In most instances, these articles resonated with me as both a father and a children’s ministry worker which amplified their impact on me.
I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the personal account of the creation of Seeds Family Worship from Jason Houser and the explanations from Rob Bradbury and Roger Fields have found success in children’s ministry through Planet Shakers and KidzBlitz! I learned from the practical insight of personal experience shared in chapters by Anna Light, Brad Tate, Brian Vander Ark, Jeremy Hall, and Justyn Smith. I appreciated the vision reflected in the articles by Jonathan Cliff, Reggie Joiner, Brian Haynes and Matt McKee. I can honestly say that there was not one chapter in this book that I did not walk away with something from.
The only negative I found in this book were some issues with editing. One whole (albeit short) chapter seems to be duplicated at the end of another chapter. Also, there were a few instances of typos and similar issues. Overall, though, these do not detract significantly from the book.
Due to the structure of this book, it is hard to provide an adequate synopsis of its contents in one concise post. Accordingly, over the next four days a will provide a brief synopsis of each chapter along with my thoughts on that chapter, my favorite quote(s) from the chapter and brief biography of the author. I encourage you to check back for the next four days for that. Check back over the next four days for links to the chapter-by-chapter synopses.
Even More so though, I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book.
You can find it on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0692004394/
If you are a member of Kidology.org, I understand you can get a discount on the book at: http://kidology.org/store/catalog.asp?item=2443
Collaborate Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/CollaborateBook
In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided a free copy of this book from Minister’s Label in order to participate in this book blog tour. That has in no way impacted the fact that I found this book to be extremely engaging and an absolute necessity for anyone involved in children’s ministry.