Review of Children’s Ministry that Fits

Written by Ronni Lamont and published in Church Times, UK:

Experience has taught me though that the real gem amongst this trio of books for children’s workers is Children’s Ministry that Fits by David Csinos (Pub. Wipf and Stock $22). This will be the book that many don’t engage with, because pragmatic theory about developing children’s spirituality is not always top of our pressurised children’s workers’ agendas or reading lists.

But I would encourage everyone who engages in leading worship, for whatever age, to read and note the contents of this book.

David Csinos is gaining prominence in the field of Children’s spirituality, and this book contains a summary of his MA research. This work led to the writing of a questionnaire with Joyce Bellous and Denise Peltomaki, giving adults and children a chance to identify what Csinos calls their Spiritual Style. Csinos identifies four styles amongst his young research subjects, differentiated by how they respond to differing types of church liturgies and environments. These styles continue into adulthood, so learning your own style, and the ramifications of your preference, is a real ‘eureka’ moment for some people in my experience. A key concern for Csinos is those adults and children who have never felt that Church was for them- they just find it unhelpful and irrelevant.

He looks at the two most common styles within our culture, which he names as Word (head) and Emotion (heart) and how they dominate worship, including that for children’s groups, and suggests ways in which worship can be tweaked to include all of us.

This book is subtitled ‘Beyond one-size-fits-all Approaches to Nurturing Children’s Spirituality’ (such as is found in the first two books above), and Csinos calls worship leaders to go outside our comfort zone of preferred style into the more difficult areas that will lead to truly inclusive worship- with Children and with Adults. Readers will discover much to challenge and inspire within the agenda that Csinos has set out so clearly in this book.

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