For Better Formation…

…Let’s do children’s ministry differently.

An excerpt from the intro to Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus:

In a 2012 newspaper article, Donald Stuss discussed the disconnection between medical research and treatment, lamenting the fact that it takes much too long for research in the medical field to evolve into outcomes for patients. The solution to this problem, in his view, is to do science differently.

And how does a person do science differently? Stuss shares four elements of emerging approaches to medical research. First, patients need to have meaningful roles in how their treatments are developed. Next, scientists need to see all research as part of a continuum or web, with the more basic aspects affecting those that are more complex. Third, researchers needs to become interdisciplinary and researchers in different fields, institutions, and specialties ought to work together. And finally, scientists and those in industry need to collaborate early in the research process.

This short article highlights how valuable it is to think creatively, to try new approaches and test out new ideas. And the four ideas Stuss offers can be adapted for improving Christian formation. We continue to hear so many people involved in ministry with children and youth (and adults) lament about how difficult it is to get children interested, to keep youth involved in church, and to connect Christ with the rest of their lives. And almost everyone seems to have their own opinions about the person, attitude, or model that’s to blame for these problems.

But maybe medical researchers aren’t the only ones who need to do things differently. Maybe to do better spiritual formation, to form better disciples of Jesus, we need to do children’s ministry differently.

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