Collaborate: Family + Church (A Synopsis of Chapters 28 – 35)

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:

28. Dr. Rob Rienow – “Building a Theology of Family Ministry”

Summary: Rob Rienow starts this chapter with the premise that family ministry is not something the church should embrace because it is the newest fad or even because it works.  He asserts that churches should adopt a family ministry approach based on a review of Biblical theology.  The point of this chapter is to demonstrate that family ministry should be built on the “inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture” and that the Great Commission is fundamentally based on the concept of family.  He then proceeds to work through both the Old and New Testaments to support 3 basic and foundational principals as follows (and I quote them from the article as I couldn’t phrase them any better):

  1. God created families to be discipleship centers
  2. The Biblical purpose of parenting and grand parenting is to impress the hearts of children with a love of God.
  3. God has designed the family as an essential engine of world evangelization through the power of multi-generational faithfulness.

He points out that the spread of the Gospel begins with parents impressing the love of God and an appreciation of his Word on the hearts of their children.

Theologically speaking, I found this chapter to be one of the most interesting in the book.  It is definitely worth working through with this book in one hand and your Bible in the other.  I had not read anything from Rob Rienow before picking up this book, and reading this article prompted me to visit his internet site which contains additional articles which are well worth reading.

Quote: “We should not embrace a parent-centered model of ministry because it works, but rather because parent-centered, family-integrated ministry is rooted in a comprehensive Biblical theology.”

Bio: Dr. Rob Rienow is the Family Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in Wheaton, Illinois and is the founder of Visionary Parenting.

29. Roger Fields – “Engaging Families Through Parental Involvement…Kidz Blitz Style!”

Summary: Roger Fields reflects on the Kidz Mlitz style of ministry which revolves around strategic involvement.  By involving parents in the production as more than just spectators, Roger explains that this method has a lasting impact on the whole family.

Quote: “Something happens when parents get involved in children’s ministry – it changes them.”

Bio: Roger Fields is the creator of Kid Blitz Live and the author of Big City Studio curriculum.

30. Ryan Frank – “Fighting Staff Infections”

Summary: In this chapter, Ryan Frank offers six tips for “energizing your relationship with your senior pastor.”  These include:

  • Making communication with your senior pastor a priority.
  • Furthering the vision of your senior pastor.
  • Avoiding tunnel vision.
  • Maintaining your flexibility.
  • Listening between the lines.
  • Understanding the learning style of your senior pastor.

In the end, it’s all about relationships, and Ryan offers great advice for building a solid relationship with your senior pastor.

Quote: “Be careful about being critical of others who don’t learn the same way you do.  God wired each of us differently.  We each learn differently, too.”

Bio: Ryan Frank is the founder of KidzMatter, Inc. and the publisher of K! Magazine.  He is the Children’s Pastor at Liverty Baptist Church in Sweetser, Indiana.

31. Sam Luce – “Building Ministry”

Summary: Sam Luce’s chapter is based on the premise that the best thing a church can do to connect with families is to “create a generational pipeline, where next generation ministries are connected in value, vision and practice.”  He notes that in children’s ministry we invest tons of time and resources in the kids we minister to only to see them lost during the time from fifth grade to eighth grade.  Accordingly, Sam points to the health of the youth ministry in his church as a guide for the health of the Children’s Ministry and suggests that it is important that these groups work together in the spiritual development of the children in their church.  He provides some practical ideas for sharing resources between children’s and youth ministries as sharing volunteers, sharing money and spending time together.

Sam views the role of the church and children’s ministry as providing parents with the tools they need to strengthen their families.  He suggests that the times when parents are most open to partnering with the church is during times of transition.  Sam notes that the times when they were losing the most kids was the transition to kindergarten and to the seventh grade.  In order to counteract these losses, Redeemer Church split the 5th and 6th grade unit off from the remainder of the children’s ministry and involved parents in the transition process.  By involving parents in this transitional process at church, the church comes alongside of the parents to help them at a time of great transition in their children’s lives.  As Sam points out, it is during these times of transition that parents are most open to ideas and suggestions.

I have always enjoyed reading Sam’s blog and his articles in K! Magazine.  His writings are always insightful and never fail to get me thinking about some aspect of my work in children’s ministry.  This article was no exception.  I work closely with Kindergarteners as they make that transition from preschool ministry to children’s ministry.  I have always viewed that as a significant transition for the kids and approached it as such.  Sam’s article has challenged me to think about how we can take advantage of that transition to assist parents, provide them with tools and assist them with this transition.

Quote: “One of the measuring sticks I use to gauge the effectiveness of our kids’ ministry is by the health of our youth ministry.”

Bio: Sam Luce is the Children’s Pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica, New York and a contributing editor to K! Magazine.

32. Steve Dilla – “The Small Conquering the Big”

Summary: Steve Dilla begins this chapter by pointing out that the small seems to be replacing the big in our culture today.  He notes that the Bible is full of examples of the small conquering the big.  He notes that we should dream big no matter what size we currently are because you can’t out dream God.

That concepts introduces the main point of this chapter which is that it is important to pay attention to the small things, and when it comes to ministry, one of the most important small things is margin.  Steve notes that we can only minister to others out of the overflow, and if we leave ourselves no margin in our lives, there will be no overflow to give.  Through a compelling personal testimony, he makes the point that it is critical that we take intentional steps to keep from becoming overwhelmed in ministry and burning out.

Quote: “Try as hard as you want; you can’t out dream God.”

“God moves regardless of what we say or do, but nothing in all of His creation changes, grows or moves unless you give it space.”

Bio: Steve Dilla previously served as the Preschool Director and Elevate Jr. Producer at Fellowship Church’s Grapevine Campus through the Autumn of 2009.  He and his wife are currently developing plans for a new church in New York.

33. Steve Young – “Young at Heart”

Summary: Steve Young looks at the most important commandment in scripture to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Jesus affirmed this as the most important command in scripture and, as such, it is critical that we, as parents, pass it along with other scripture to our kids.

Quote: “…to truly grasp all of God’s Word seems impossible.  Where should I start?  What should I focus on?  What’s most important?”

Bio: Steve Young is a Children’s Minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

34. Timothy Smith – “Living the Shema as a Dad”

Summary: Timothy Smith explores how to implement the Shema (found in Deuteronomy 6) in our family lives.  Implementation of the Shema in our everyday family lives includes six basic principles.  First, write down what you want to impress upon your children’s hearts.  Secondly, impress those things first upon your own heart, then upon theirs.  Finally, integrate the four behaviors mandated by the Shema including talking as you sit at home, walking in the street, when you get up and when you go to sleep.  The fourth principal is repetition.  Finally, we must employ all means possible in teaching our kids including all five senses.

Quote: “To talk at home, you have to be at home, you have to be available, you have to focus and so do your kids.”

Bio: Timothy Smith is a Family Coach, author and speaker who lives in Thousand Oaks, California.

35. Yancy Richmond – “Music: The Language Everyone Speaks”

Summary: Yancy Richmond writes about the power of music in our lives.  She notes that by the time he average person is 18 years old, they have more than 10,000 songs in their head.  The power of music can be harnessed to create environments in your church classrooms and activities.  She postulates that music is one of the biggest areas where we can connect with kids.

Yancy notes that kids learn best when their parents are also engaged in worship.  Accordingly, she suggests that it important that songs parents know also be incorporated into children’s worship times.  She also encourages kids’ worship leaders to stick with it.  Just because kids don’t “get it” right away doesn’t mean that they won’t in the long term.

Quote: “They will sing, but you have to give them the opportunity.  They will participate, but you have to use relevant songs that are made to connect kids to God.  They will worship, but you have to teach them how.”

Bio: Yancy Richmond is a nationally known artist, songwriter and worship leader for kids.

1 Comment

  1. Wayne thanks for your kind words and all you do for kidmin. Your a blessing.
    My recent post Lost remembered 24 forgotten-already.