Children’s Ministry That Fits; beyond a one size fits all approach to nurturing

David Csinos is a passionate man, passionate and organised. This is a book that reflects those characteristics. He firmly believes that children’s ministry should be both formational and transformational and he rages against flaws in our thinking that have perpetuated in our Sunday Schools merely because they offer simple manageable solutions to what to do with the children while the adults enjoy church. This is a book that pushes us to engage with children at a much deeper level. It is passionate, but it is also practical.We are offered ideas of ways to enable children to encounter God and deepen relationships. The book is basically a write up of a graduate research project with thirteen children between the ages of 7 and 10 from three different churches. Two of these were from a conversion (believers baptism) tradition and the third from a covenantal (or infant baptism) tradition. He held focus groups, interviews and did some social mapping. He identifies four spiritual styles, those who feel close to God by studying him, those who like to have their emotions stimulated, those who enjoy wondering about the mystery of God and those who like doing. The remainder of the book looks at practical ways this understanding might be of benefit to us as we seek to minister among children. I found this book to be helpful to me as I work week on week with the same group of children in my church and I found the appendix particularly helpful in this respect. It also allowed me to frame some of my own concerns over the received wisdom of segregating children into their own groups week after week, removing them from the larger company of fellow travellers on the faith road. It is written in an American context but for all that it speaks beyond culture and into deeply held views of the nature of childhood. This book offers a prophetic voice speaking strongly to the importance of listening to children.

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