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Christine has over 20 years of children's ministry experience. She's the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles related to children's ministry. It's no wonder she enjoys an almost-daily latte to keep her going! She is also the executive editor of Children's Ministry Magazine and serves as Group's children's ministry champion, responsible for research, development, and innovation in children's ministry resources. 

Yet Another Ministry Book? Yes!

Tim Inman's review of Shift was fun to read. Like me, he can approach "strategies" that promise the moon suspiciously. Glad to see Brian disarmed him!

Here's part of Tim's review:

Me: “OK you're starting to win me over with your emphasis on family relationships, but isn't this just another strategy? What if your milestones and celebrations aren't as meaningful in my context?"

Brian: (p. 42) “Cookie cutters are for cookies. What I am about to show you is a strategy designed specifically for Kingsland Baptist Church in suburban Houston, Texas. The principles behind this strategy are universal... You're the expert regarding your church and your ministry.”

Me: “I get it. I should get ideas from your plan and let this overarching philosophy guide me as I develop a plan for the people in my life.”

I admit it, this book disarmed the critical-thinking ninja in me just long enough to get through to my heart. Hey, I think I just enjoyed reading a ministry book!"

My thoughts: This is exactly what Brian hoped for...that people would see the pattern and then contextualize it to their ministry since it's so rooted in the biblical model for family ministry!

To read Tim's review, go to http://blog.inmans.org/

To buy Shift, go here http://shift.group.com/

Posted at 17:18

Does Shift Need a Church-Wide Strategy?

As always, Larry Shallenberger has some insightful views. One thing he pointed out as a missing element for Shift:

“Shift” offers a sustainable model for family ministry, but there were some missing elements in the book:

  • I was disappointed that there was no discussion on how to achieve alignment across departments. Most mid-sized churches and larger are departmentalized into children, youth, and adult ministries and are managed by an executive pastor. “Shift” lacks help on how to bring those departments into alignment so the strategy can occur. Any family ministry model needs pulpit support as well."

My thoughts: True...to a point. I think Brian would agree that the ideal is complete alignment across all the ministries and from the pastor first and foremost. That's what Brian has experienced in his church. However, just as there are non-traditional families that don't fit the ideal, we've found that most churches don't fit the ideal. When we found Brian, we had listened to other strategies that in our opinion don't seem as workable or sustainable because they require an overhaul of existing structures and philosophies. We begged Brian to make Shift a strategy that would work if only one ministry area bought into it. And it does!  We talk to children's ministers who also beg us to not give them a family ministry strategy that requires hiring new staff, adding new programs, or getting complete buy-in. In my opinion, that's what Brian Haynes has done in Shift!

To read Larry's entire review, go to http://childrensministryandculture.wordpress.com/

To buy Shift, go here http://shift.group.com/

Posted at 17:15

Can All Families Make the Shift?

Lorraine Seaman makes a great point about non-traditional families and how they fit into the Shift strategy:

"My one concern in reading the book, and it surfaced frequently, was what about our non-traditional families?  Our single moms/dads, our infrequent attenders, our children who attend with friends and not their parents?  How do we reach out to those families who do not meet our stereotypical expectations of what a 'church' family is?  Especially when these milestones are so completely implemented within the walls of the church building itself?

I do love that he is so intentional about wanting to create opportunities to equip and support parents.  This book is chock-full of really great ideas and I will admit that I am still processing it, turning possibilities over in my head. 

Overall, I found it well worth the time and I'm looking forward to discussing possibilities with my own church leadership team."

My thoughts: We had lots of discussions with Brian about how diverse families are today. And, he assured us that in his church, it's every kind of family that's following the pathway of milestones and making the shift. Great points!

To read Lorraine's blog, go here: http://www.rockrunner.blogs.com/al

To buy Shift, go here http://shift.group.com/

Posted at 17:11

Shift Transitions a Strength

Here's an excerpt from James' Giroux's review of Shift:

"One thing I really liked was the milestone on helping students graduate from teen to adult.  We don’t have coming of age traditions in our society and I am a huge fan of returning to some form of celebration of that because I think we’ve forgotten how to healthily and helpfully transition our young people from child to adult.  So there are some cool ideas about that.

All in all it was a short and easy read with some solid content.  There’s definitely the tone of American evangelicalism to it which I’m not sure I fully support any more but there’s lots to glean from this book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who works with students or kids or who has some of their own."

Read James' entire review at http://jamesgiroux.ca/ 

To buy Shift, go here http://shift.group.com/

Posted at 17:08

Milestones vs. Age-Specific Ministries?

Hey, if you haven't seen all the reviews of Shift yet, check out my previous post to see what others are saying about Shift. Compelling insights!

I've avoided blogging in response to the reviews, because I don't want to appear argumentative in any way, but I'm going to take time at this halfway remark to also blog about the blogs!

Liz Perraud writes: "The practice that he lays out in “Shift” involves equipping families through seven age-appropriate milestones “that every person growing in his or her relationship with Christ experiences and celebrates.”  The child or youth (or adult) must learn key truths to progress from one milestone to the next.  The church teaches each milestone to the parents and the parents reinforce them through “faith talks” at home and resources that the church provides.  There are church events that teach and celebrate each of the milestones and that connect parents with one another. I see one gaping hole in the plan…the connection to community for the kids.  As it should, “Shift” describes a structure of stability for the family and sets up an environment for the parents to learn and grow together.  But without a strong system of relationships for the young people—in addition to those with their family—there is a lack of connectedness to the wider body of Christ."

My response: Liz, I agree that connection and community in the body of Christ are critical. And Brian does, too. He's a strong proponent of the age-specific ministries that disciple kids and their parents in the church. The Milestones are a strategy that are congruent with all the great things the church is already doing. But great point, Liz, that this point may need to be made more strongly in Shift. Thanks for your review! Check out Liz's full review here: http://thelogosministry.wordpress.com/

To buy Shift, go here http://shift.group.com/

Posted at 17:05

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