Wonderful Surprise

When Ivy Beckwith and I started writing Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus, we wanted to pull together a book that represented our journey of thinking about and practicing spiritual formation with children and we wanted to share our ideas in a way that others would find helpful. In a sense, our hope was to write a book that we wish existed when we were rethinking what children’s ministry is all about a number of years back. At the time, I had no idea that the book would receive so much support and such a wide readership in only the first few months after it was released.

So I was surprised and honoured when Hearts and Minds named Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus the best book about children’s ministry of 2013.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

best books of 2013.jpgCMWJ cover

Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus  David M. Csinos & Ivy Beckwith foreword by John H. Westerhoff (IVP/Praxis) $18.00  Some background: in 2012 a fascinating conference was held about the role of children and youth in the changing church and cultural settings we are seeing; this was emergent, somewhat post-evangelical, diverse and progressive, with voices sometimes not heard at such events. The papers from that conference have been published in a stimulating, important book about emerging children and youth ministry, especially among congregations with a progressive vision and creative new theology (searching for a better way than the old debates between conservatives and liberals.) That book is called Faith Forward edited by Melvin Bray and David Csinos and I announced it here. Out of that gathering has come an organization, Faith Forward, and the founder and president is David Csinos, co-author of this new, excellent book. Ivy Beckwith (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) has done other very good books on children’s ministry, especially in the postmodern setting, and has a chapter in that first Faith Forward anthology. That Csinos and Beckwith have here collaborated to give us a first-rate, theologically robust, culturally savvy, psychologically aware, congregationally serious book about the role of children in our churches is a great, great gift. Long-time scholar of these things, John Westerhoff raves in the foreword about the fresh, solid ideas, and many leaders from across the ecclesiastical landscape have endorsed it. (Scottie May of Wheaton College, for instance, raves, and says it will “help to change children’s ministry as we have known it.”  Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore calls it a “wonderful guide.” I am sure we should declare it one of the best books in the field.  It is a must for anyone working in churches, anyone who cares about kids, anyone interested in vital congregational education and formation. Cheers!

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