We were asked which books we would recommend for someone making a start in Children’s Ministry. At the “Big Day Out” we review a book together each time we meet. After 7 years or so of doing this we have developed a good idea of those books that stand out from the crowd. (We also remember the dreadful books that should be shredded on sight, but that’s a very different blog post!)
So, let us share our experience with you. Of course, amongst the thousands of books on Children’s Ministry and Parenting, there could well be one or two (hundred) that we are yet to come across, so please do let us know in the comments what you would add.
Show them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower A plea to come back to the start and make the big thing, the big thing that we show children. Of course the Big Thing, is actually the Big Person. It’s easy to say, “Show them Jesus” but we all know that it’s a little harder to keep doing it week by week.
Children’s ministry on the front foot edited by Zachary Veron. Like any collection of articles, there is a variability about this book. But in the absence of a more coherent book, this one lays out the agenda for anyone seeking to pursue biblical children’s ministry. It’s highly practical with plenty of suggestions for the steps to take to go week by week, year by year discipling children.
Starting out in children’s ministry by Alison Mitchell As the name suggests, this is a great book to read with a new Sunday School Leader. A great training resource.
Intergenerational ministry by Sarie King Once you get used to the graphs and statistics, this is a paradigm-changing analysis of the silo approach we have taken to Children’s and Youth Ministry. While our children and youth may love being around their peer group all the time, this study argues that in the long run they drop out of church because they never felt part of it. Instead, Sarie shows that so much research points to a return to biblical church- where all generations are busy serving and encouraging one another. How did we miss that? [This paper comes from Australia, including some US research, so the issues in the UK may differ slightly but its conclusions are surely worth applying in our context.]
Everyday Talk by Jay Younts This is the book I recommend to parents of children who are under 8. Most parenting books set the bar so high that most of us find ourselves thinking, “My child will not sit through this suggested 15 minute monologue on personal morality!” Finally a parenting book that recognises that Christian parenting is mostly defined by the brief “conversations” that often last less than 2 minutes. Each snippet of chat may seem inconsequential but, taken together, they shape the child’s worldview.
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp He argues that the teenage years do not need to be dreaded and suffered. There is a way for these years to instead be years of development. Some parents of teens have commented that there is an over intensity to the pattern of parenting laid out in this book, but it remains a great place to start your thinking.