Collaborate: Family + Church (A Synopsis of Chapters 19 – 27)

Over the last several days, I have posted a number of articles on the new book Collaborate: Family + Church. This represents the next entry in that series. Earlier entries include:

19. Kenny Conley – “Reinventing Baptism”

Summary: Kenny Conley’s article provides interesting insights into what his church is doing in the area of baptism to get families more involved in the spiritual development of their children.  Kenny notes that the best chance a child has at long-term spiritual growth is when the parent takes a leadership role in that process.

He offers a variety of statistics regarding the alarming rate at which children are dropping out of the church as they grow up, and concludes that children’s ministry in its current form is failing children.  He notes that the advent of dedicated children’s ministry is a relatively current phenomena and that for hundreds of years values, principals and a biblical worldview were transferred and passed along from generation to generation without the existence of children’s ministries as we know them today.

Next, Kenny points out that while a vast majority of parents accept that they are responsible for the guiding their children’s spiritual journey, most have abdicated that responsibility and turned it over to the church.

Kenny’s church has capitalized on baptism as a significant event in a child’s life where parents are willing to get involved.  They use this opportunity involved parents in their child’s spiritual journey and come alongside and teach and equip the parents to continue, or start, in their role as spiritual guide.  In order to accomplish this, parents are involved in three critical steps related to Baptism at Gateway Church.  First, parents are actively involved in the baptism classes.  Secondly, they follow-up with the parents after the class is over.  Finally, parents are encouraged to actually baptize their children themselves.  All of these steps help to get parents intricately involved in this momentous occasion in their children’s lives.

In this article, Kenny provides solid practical advice on how to get parents involved in the baptism process.  In addition, I found that reading his article started me thinking about other “moments” in a child’s life where the church can actively seek to engage parents in the spiritual journey of their children.

Quote: “Children’s ministry is broken.  At the surface, the numbers look good, but reality says that we’re mainly producing dysfunctional believers.”

Bio: Kenny Conley is the Next Gen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, Texas.

20. Team Kidmo – “Church DNA: How Church Culture Impacts the Initiative”

Summary: In this article, Team Kidmo reminds us that, in evaluating any strategy, it is important to understand and account for the culture of your local church.   Understanding that culture and your church’s personality will help to determine which initiatives are more or less likely to “click” with your church.  Just because something works at one church is not a guarantee that will work at your church.

Quote: “One key to success lies in carefully and prayerfully choosing initiatives that fit within the established culture and initiatives of your church.”

Bio: Team Kidmo is a collection of ministry and broadcast professionals whose goal is to create ministry resources which are media-driven including the KIDMO curriculum.

21. Matt Markins – “Paramount Parenting”

Summary: Matt Markins tackles the paramount question when it comes to being a parent – “who will my boys become?”  As Matt explains, it is this question that drives him to know God to impress the love of God upon his kids.  Based on the words of Deuteronomy 6, he explains the God gives us three reminders to cut through the clutter of everyday life.  First, love God.  Second, value of understand God’s Word.  Third, and finally, teach God’s Word to your kids.  In this chapter, Matt stresses the importance of modeling a good relationship with God for our kids.  If we want them to pursue God, they must see us pursuing God.  If we want them to have a passion for God’s word, we must show them our passion for God’s Word.  Finally, Matt explains that we must resist the cultural temptation to engage in the fast pace of today’s culture.  Trying to keep up with that pace robs family of quality time.

Quote: “Research has shown repeatedly that the connection between parents and their kids is broken down due to the pace of life and the culture in which we live in North America.”

Bio: Matt Markins is one of the founders of the D6 conference and Director of sales and marketing for Randall House and D6 Family.

22. Matt McKee – “Environment Changes that Need Changing”

Summary: In this article, Matt McKee contrasts the pros and cons of high priced eye-catching but unchangeable kids’ spaces with the lower cost, interchangeable less professional looking do-it-yourself options.  He calls for kidmin space designer to find a way to create interchangeable and affordable spaces without sacrificing the quality of professionally designed spaces.

Quote: “I can’t stand walking into a church and seeing beige walls with tiny signs where little to no effort has been put into the space for children , then going into the adult space, which is all decked out with eye-pleasing graphics and banners.”

Bio: Matt McKee is the Pastor of Students and Children at Horizon Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

23. Michelle Romain – “Family Fitness”

Summary: In this chapter, Michelle Romain compares teaching our kids about good health to teaching them about God.  Michelle shares information about the Shapin’ Up Fitness Camp she created.

Quote: “Research has proven repeatedly that children are able to learn the most and the development of their character is most impacted before they reach their teen years.  This applies to education, religion, health and more.”

Bio: Michelle Romain is the creator of Shapin’ Up Fitness Camp.  She is also director for the American Children’s Minister’s Association.

24. Nevan Hooker – “Double It”

Summary: In this short article, Nevan Hooker encourages us to examine what is and isn’t working, latch on to the good, let go of the bad, and to set audacious goals.  Although this article is short, it serves as a great reminder to set God-sized goals.

Quote: “Examine these areas and evaluate why things are working.  Then focus your resources and energy on those areas.  It might be time to let go of other things that just aren’t working.”

Bio: Nevan Hooker currently serves at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

25. Pat Verbal – “God’s Heart for Families Affected by Special Needs”

Summary: In this article, Pat Verbal looks at the importance of churches establishing special needs ministries and the general lack of such ministries in the church today.  I was struck by the statistics included in this chapter regarding the general lack of special needs ministries in churches today.

Quote: “An estimated 80 percent of families affected by disability do not regularly attend church.  One reason may be that less than 15 percent of U.S. churches have an intentional disability ministry.”

Bio: Pat Verbal is the Manager of Curriculum Development at the Christian Institute on Disability at Joni and Friends International Disability Center.

26. Reggie Joiner – “Where Do You Start”

Summary: Reggie Joiner has become the “point man” when it comes to the Orange concept.  If you haven’t read his book Think Orange, you should run to your local bookstore and buy it today.

The Orange idea is based on the concept:

“…that two combined influences will have a greater impact than either of the two influences alone.”

In other words, parents (represented by the color red) combine with the church (represented by the color yellow) create the combined influence of orange which together has a far greater impact on the spiritual lives of children.  Reggie defines family ministry as “synchronizing church leaders and parents around a master plan to build faith and character in their sons and daughters.”

This concept is based on three critical assumptions.  The first assumption is that there is nothing more important in life than a person personal relationship with God.  The second assumption is that parents have more potential than anyone else to influence the spiritual lives of their children.  The third, and final, critical assumption is that no one is in a better position to influence and help parents in that goal than the church.

The remainder of this chapter provides practical information on how to implement the Orange strategy and is a great synopsis of Reggie’s Think Orange book.  Unfortunately, a summary of that information is beyond the scope of this synopsis.

This chapter serves a great introduction to both the Orange concept specifically and family ministry in general.  If you pick up this book and are not familiar with family ministry, I would start with this chapter.

Quote: “From our point of view as Orange leaders, family ministry is ‘synchronizing church leaders and parents around a master plan to build faith and character in their sons and daughters.’”

Bio: Reggie Joiner is founder and CEO of the reThink and was one of the founding pastors of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.

27. Rob Bradbury – “Selling Out – Sold Out”

Summary: Rob Bradbury from Planetshakers Church in Melbourne, Australia reflects on how there Friday Night Live events went from a program attracting 40 children a week to more than a 1,000 parents and children.  He identifies seven steps in the process including prayer, advertising, a family club, expanded efforts, surveying parents, quickly moving from phase to phase, and locking in their efforts.  Rob provides an inspiring story of what can happen when you think big and rely on God.

Quote: “I believe the local kids’ program is one of the best-kept secrets in the community.”

Bio: Rob Bradbury is the Family Pastor at Planetshakers City Church in Melbourne, Australia.

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