A new book recommendation: Children & Family Ministry Handbook

Tuesday is the official release date for Sarah Flannery’s new book, Children & Family Ministry Handbook. I am delighted to recommend this book to ministry leaders. This nearly 300 page handbook is a wealth of wisdom for both new and seasoned people charged with planning ministry for children and families. I am reviewing the Curriculum and Ministry Design chapter, but honestly recommend the entire book. There are some surprises in the table of contents, including a chapter on marriage and divorce and another on how to navigate church as a staff member.

Chapter 9 begins with a detailed list of what to look for and what not to look for in curriculum. First and foremost she points out that “curriculum is a tool for ministry,” not the ministry itself. She stresses the importance of choosing a curriculum that matches the church’s theology and philosophy, the church size and budget, as well as the needs of children and volunteer teachers.

The way we set up our ministry and the curriculum we offer affects people’s lives, and part of our required preparation for ministry is to be sure we understand how to use these tools. – Sarah Flannery

The importance of worship in ministry design was especially detailed and helpful. Too often the books I read are focused on faith formation as separate from worship. I firmly believe that worship shapes our life of discipleship, forming us in faith. Flannery doesn’t suggest a one size fits all model of ministry, but rather “an integrated ministry vision across various ministry environments, from Sunday school to youth group to special events.”

 Her approach to ministry is clear and concise, while remaining approachable. The stories Flannery shares about both her successes and missteps make the book both interesting and relatable. And, because this book focuses on the foundations of family ministry, it remains relevant even as we face unprecedented changes due to COVID-19.

The book is on sale at Cokesbury for $11.99.

You might also enjoy this review of the chapter on intergenerational ministry from Christina Embree at Refocus Minstry.


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