While it might seem more than a little outside my usual content area, I found a lot to really love in Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry. New from Michelle Anthony, RockHarbor Church’s Family Ministry Architect, Dreaming of More grabbed my attention from the first few pages.
One of the aspects of Dreaming of More that grabbed my attention away is that this is a book written by a practitioner, a seasoned veteran of children’s ministry, who arrived at the 12 year mark and at the moment when many would begin doing workshops and conferences on how to do it…dreamed of more.
I loved this account because Anthony saw the fruit of 12 years and instead of settling for the status quo, went back to the drawing board on a quest to discover a better solution. What developed was a family ministry concept that I think you’re going to find compelling no matter what strategy or system you’re currently using.
Chapter two establishes the foundational ideas of family ministry; what Anthony refers to as the seven pillars of family ministry. This alone was eye-opening for me and I immediately saw the tremendous potential for application in my own work. The following chapters thoroughly flesh out the essence of the ideas, at the very least provoking thoughtful conversation and a framework for the kinds of discussions that lead to a new paradigm.
The seven pillars she’s identified are:
- Family Is Primary: “Practical examples of how to awaken and equip the parents in your ministry.”
- Spiritual Formation Is Our Goal: Unpacking “a basic definition of spiritual formation that will give you a framework for transformational ministry” and looking at “things that can thwart transformation from reaching maturity.”
- The Holy Spirit Is Our Teacher: Giving you “greater understanding of how the Holy Spirit can work in your ministry and the individual lives of your children, and how they can learn to hear from God and respond accordingly.”
- Scripture Is Our Authority: “Offers practical examples of how to allow children opportunities to put their faith into action.”
- The Big God Story: Discovering “the awe-inspiring strength of a generation that understands the entire gospel from beginning to end, that is awake to a story that still being written and the part they can play in it.”
- God Is Central: “Creating traditions for the sake of remembering and celebrating.” ”Cultivating a heart of worship as response to God.”
- Ministry Support: Helping you “lead in a season of change while providing volunteer and staff development toward your goal.”
Another aspect that I really found helpful was the ministry assessment at the end of each chapter; making this book a great choice for forward thinking ministries who are looking for resources that can engage both staff and volunteers in the challenge of re-imagining family ministry.
I really like the approach of this book and came away with many new insights into the challenges and opportunities of family ministry. If you’re in the business of families and spiritual formation, I highly recommend Dreaming of More.