I have had the opportunity to review Dr. Michelle Anthony’s new book “Dreaming of More For the Next Generation. Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry.” Michelle Is an accomplished author and family ministry leader both with the professional world and the local church.
“It’s Monday morning. Are you wondering if your ministry to kids at church yesterday made any difference at all?,” Michelle asks. I would think that many children’s ministers and volunteers are asking this question week in and week out.
Throughout this book Michelle doesn’t mince words. As painful as it sounds, ministry leaders and parents are confronted with challenging thoughts/directives that may shift the way you do children’s ministry altogether. Do we “manipulate kids into good behavior” as opposed to fostering a true faith relationship with the Lord? Have we cornered kids into acquiring the “right information about Christ” rather than taking those truths and applying them to their lives? Critical questions throughout “Dreaming of More” prod us to some harsh realities of the state of many children’s ministries today.
Every chapter ends with a “Ministry Assesment,” which is a reflective set of questions Michelle has offered to really get us to hash out our thoughts, long term goals, and priorities. She digs deep. These are the types of questions we need. Once again, her approach to questioning fully reflects her direct style of writing. Piercing, challenging, convicting.
I love that Michelle stands firmly to teach children that worship is life. It is easy for us to create a culture within our children’s ministries where we unknowingly segment worship. Our kids need to go beyond just learning information about Christ and start meeting with Him daily. In order for this to take place, changes may very well have to be made during your programming and possibly even with your philosophies. Do we just tell our kids to go home and pray, read Scripture, listen to God, tithe, etc? Why not give them weekly opportunities to meet with Him? Create a culture of seeking God by redesigning your children’s areas.
We are provided a set of practical insights from a children’s ministry professional that has cultivated a “worship is life” culture. Michelle has not only suggested ideas for children’s ministries, but she has also put them in place within her church family. As I was reading this book, I opened up Evernote, and began writing, and writing more, creating a list of things that we might be able to implement within our children’s and family ministry. Then I was forced to look at some things that we might have to change in order to accomplish a “worship is life” culture.
Every children’s pastor desires to see their students learn God’s Word and live it out. It is much more than simply teaching them the Bible and encouraging them to apply it. By reading “Dreaming of More” you will have one more resource to accomplishing your objectives.
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I’d love to know what you do to encourage a “worship is life” culture in your children’s ministry. Or you can leave an idea of something that you may need to change or implement to help cultivate this in your ministry. Leave a comment below. Also, courtesy of Cook, I’ll be giving away a free copy of the book, “Dreaming of More” to one of those that comment.