Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dreaming of More For the Next Generation

As I think about the start of Fall ministries, I thought about a book I was sent to review last year by Michelle Anthony - Dreaming of More For the Next Generation; it has much to say for us to think about! In this book, Michelle, takes a serious, and much needed look at how to have a ministry which encourages lifetime faith which is, "ignited by Family Ministry"! Please allow me the opportunity to give you a "sampling" of the wealth of information and wisdom you'll find in the pages of Dreaming for More!

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry
Author - Michelle Anthony
Publisher - David C. Cook

Favorite Features -
  • Focuses on the "how-to's" for developing, as Freddy Cardoza said, "A 'church-equipped', but 'parent-powered' family ministry designed to nurture authentic faith!"
  • Takes an honest look at how we tend to rely on our "bag of tricks" when it comes to children's and family ministry and challenges us to lay down those old, comfortable "wineskins" and watch as God's Spirit shows us how the new "wineskins" take shape!
  • Challenges us to not be fooled by "faith's counterfeit" where we are fooled by what things look like - good behavior vs real faith
  • Each chapter ends with a "Ministry Assessment" where we are invited to "Reflect", "Respond" and "Dream" 
  • I appreciated the chapter on "Awakening the Parents as Primary" and the challenge to not allow the church to take the role of primary teacher of children away from the parents. As Michelle said, "We provided take-home papers after a child's time in Sunday school. While nothing is inherently wrong with a follow-up resource, I began to see this sent the wrong message to my parents. Without saying it directly, I was communicating we would be the primary teachers of God's Word and they would support us by reinforcing the message at home. I became passionate about inverting the process. We would create a pre-teach resource where parents would be the first ones to read the upcoming week's Bible passage to their children and interact with them on it." Wow! If we all did this in our ministries, just imagine the change in focus and direction this could take our children's/family ministries!
  • Love the focus on "forming faith" in children and the challenge to us to allow God to speak to children and to help them learn how to "listen" to God!
  • Solidly challenges us to help children and families learn to "flex" their "faith muscles" and how they will grow when they use these "faith muscles"
  • I'm so happy to see an emphasis on both faith and action with the challenge to help our children and families put what they hear from God's Word into action! I LOVE the "Hear it and Do it weekends" Michelle talks about in Chapter Six!
  • I LOVE Chapter Eight with the focus on "Worship as Response" and the ideas on ways to help children/families worship beyond Sunday! I especially LOVE the ideas for ways families can have "Worship Response in the Home"!
This book is filled with solid information which will challenge and encourage you to take an honest look at how you approach children's/family ministry and how you can "Dream of More for the Next Generation", too!

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