If you’ve been in Children’s Ministry very long, chances are you’ve seen some changes in the landscape of the church. In the last 10 years alone, it seems that Children’s Ministry has gone from almost nonexistent to one of the key determining factors in keeping families in your church. Where is it at now? And where is it headed?
That’s exactly what the authors of The Gospel Truth About Children’s Ministry set out to discover. Through extensive research, they have compiled a list of the 10 most compelling research findings, designed to help kidmin workers build a program that will impact the hearts and lives of this generation of kids.
This week, I took a look at the digital version of this book. The 10 findings were based on answers from 1,000 decision makers in children’s ministry around the U.S. and they cover things like:
- Whatever you do, remember it’s still about the Word of God
- Emphasis on evangelism is how we make lifelong disciples
- We’re struggling to create kids who can navigate culture
I felt like the book served as good reality check and an assessment tool for my own ministry. Am I keeping the Bible as the #1 focus? Am I regularly presenting the gospel so that kids can make a decision to follow after Christ? Am I partnering with parents and families in a way that is helping kids to grow in their faith?
In particular, the questions at the end of each chapter really helped drive home the point of each chapter and provided clear answers to whether I’m truly making the important things the priority in my ministry.
While the book is very visually appealing (nice colors!), I did find most of the charts and graphs to be a bit overkill. The chapters summarize the findings nicely, and looking at all the circles and arrows seemed to slow down the reading more than necessary. Of course, some people love that sort of thing, so it’s more of a personal preference on that front.
After presenting the research findings, the publishers of the book, which turns out to be Awana, offer some solutions, all of which focus on the Awana curriculum.
On one hand, I suddenly thought, “Wait, did I just read a 35 page advertisement?”. On the other hand, it seems like Awana really put some time into this book and legitimately responded to the research in order to create a curriculum that would be relevant and impactful in the world of kidmin.
Personally, I don’t have much experience with Awana (I did love the Cubby book I reviewed last year in 2013), but I know many churches use it an love it. Since I was in Awana as a child, I have a hard time picturing their curriculum as “cutting edge”, but it looks like they are certainly trying to stay on top of the shifting culture while still keeping a personal relationship with Christ and the Word of God central to their curriculum and teachings. At the end of the book, I discovered that Willow Creek was even using Awana! Based on the things I read in this book, I’m certainly willing to take a closer look at what this organization has to offer.