final day: formational children’s ministry

for the last 8 days, ivy beckwith’s brand new book formational children’s ministry has been traveling around on a book blog tour. it’s been fascinating to read the reviews and learn from children and youth leaders on how we can best shape our ministries through story, ritual and relationships. if you missed any of the days, you can find the complete list of blogs here.

instead of posting a book review, i thought i would post my personal thoughts from following the tour and what i hope to implement in my context.

story: there was great conversation around the way we can improve telling our children the story of god. and while we all might have various ways of implementing curriculum or strategies, i think we all agree that we must commit to telling a better story to our children. i’m purposefully aligning myself with organizations who are exploring new forms of storytelling because the time has come for us to do something different. i’m hopeful that the what’s in the bible? series and the merge experience might just be the beginning of a new conversation.

rituals: since becoming a presbyterian 4 years ago, i’ve found the importance of rituals in my own life. i’ve come to really value the liturgy, and the traditions that are a part of my 160 year old church, and it’s made me wonder how these rituals impact the spiritual life of our children. ivy notes that researchers have identified 3 types of family rituals: celebrations, traditions, and routines (p.76). i’m hoping that my church can take the next step in connecting the church rituals with a vision for families to develop rituals at home.

relationships: of course we all believe in the power of relationships in the spiritual life of children – that’s why we were attracted to the small group model, it allowed us to cluster children together with their peers and an adult who was committed to their growth. but, i love ivy’s challenge to us in the final chapters, “that all the generations would know each other, love each other, and learn from each other” (p. 139).  at our church, every spring we have a celebration of confirmation for 8th grade students. it’s one of my most favorite days of the year. we all gather together in the sanctuary to affirm the faith of these students and to commit to their spiritual growth. for the first couple of years, i didn’t even know most of the 8th graders, but i sat in my seat – committing my whole heart to do whatever it took to grow these students, and i would pray so hard that because of the relationships they would have in the church – they would not become part of the overwhelming number of students leaving the church. and i only hope for more opportunities in my church in which we can encourage intergenerational relationships.

as a celebration for a wonderful book blog tour, i have a brand new copy of ivy’s book to give away! here’s how you can win the book:

leave a comment on this post about something new that you learned during the tour, or an idea you are wrestling with, or an action step that you hope to implement.

end of the day today, tuesday, i’ll pick a winner from the comments submitted.

thank you for joining the tour! and a very special thank you to ivy beckwith who led us in this conversation!


10 responses to this post.

  1. […] If you want another chance to win the book, Amy Dolan is giving away a free copy over on her blog! […]


  2. Posted by Robert on March 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I have observed in our FX that the better the story is “told” the better they remember. When the story telling is weak the kids get distracted easily and do not remember the story. So, we are exploring how to create the best environment in which to tell the story and enlist the best storytellers we have so the kids will leave remembering the bottom line.


  3. I grew up in the Church, but don’t remember much about the Bible itself. I am doing a review later today for the What’s in the Bible DVD (I was able to preview the first 2 for Tyndale Press) and LOVED them! I have been a volunteer in Children’s ministry for many years and our Church uses the 252 Basics programming. You talk about awesome materials! I love the way the “Bible Stories” are told in modern day language children can understand! As a child, I couldn’t connect the way people in the olden days, dressed in long robes, had to do with me! I LOVE the idea of adding technology to the stories to make them real.

    I would LOVE a copy of this book – you can NEVER learn too much about ministering to kids!


  4. Posted by Janet Landwehr on March 10, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I have been in the ministry for over 25 years and am always looking for new ways to tell the same stories I have been telling for so long. I believe this book is what I am looking to add to my collection. I love always loved CM and my passion continues to be strong. Having a copy of this book as well as other Ivy Beckwith books, would help my passion to continue as well as broaden by storytelling insights!

    Thanks for offering this as a give away!


  5. Posted by Ivy Beckwith on March 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Hi, Amy –

    Thank you for putting this all together. I thought it was a wonderful thing to do and I’m thankful to all the bloggers who participated. I appreciate all their thoughts and comments. I always want my books to initiate conversation and push people beyond what I have to say. This blog tour was a big step in beginning that. So, again, a huge thank you for all you did to make it happen.



  6. Posted by Mollie McPherson on March 10, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I teach children’s church, as a volunteer, in our small church. I teach kindergarten through 5th grade children. We are never too old or too busy to learn. I want the children I teach to know that we have a God that will stay with us forever and ever. HE will be in our hearts no matter what. HE gave His only Son for us to live and believe in Him. I know that in today’s world that children have not had the training or learning experience that maybe we had back when we were younger. Church was a must when I was growing up, and now it seems it really isn’t that important to some parents. I want the children to want to come and learn, and for their parents to know there is God who believes in them and that they can count on Him to be there for them at all times. Children can learn and teach us so much if we just listen to them. We need to teach our children that as Christians we can always believe that God will be our Savior. If I were to win this book, it could be such a learning tool for not only myself, but the other volunteer teachers that are in our church.


  7. I am in Children’s Ministry and have been feeling like we need to be doing so much more. I believe that God is calling us to think outside the box. Who says we have to do it the same way that we have been? Why should we? I grew up in church, but it wasn’t until I was married with my own kids that I realized how awesome it is to have a real relationship with God. I knew the stories, the Scriptures, but not the relationship. How I want to show that to my kids as well as the kids in our ministry!!!

    I read the sample of this book on a website and I am dying to get my hands on it. I believe it’s time to go deeper with our kids. I believe it’s in showing them and having them experience it, not just in teaching.

    I can’t wait to read this book!


  8. Posted by amyedolan on March 12, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    oh! how i wish i could give all of you a free copy of ivy’s book! your answers are magnificent!

    i’m especially grateful for the ways in which you are desiring to create experiences for children in which they experience god’s story in new and profound ways.

    since i only have 1 book to give away – the winner is ROBERT! congratulations – please email me your address and the book will be on it’s way.


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