Item description for Postmodern Children's Ministry: Ministry to Children in the 21st Century Church by Ivy Beckwith...
Overview Presents a new paradigm for children?s ministry in the emerging church of the 21st century and explores current ways churches are putting that vision into practice.
Publishers Description This practical, thought-provoking book presents a new paradigm for children's ministry in the emerging 21ST century and explores how churches are currently putting that vision into practice. Advocating the need to regard children as full participants in their faith communities, the book provides strategies for building intergenerational community where children feel they belong and have the opportunity to serve.
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Ivy Beckwith (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the author of "Postmodern Children's Ministry" and has served churches of all sizes. She has worked as an editor and education consultant for Group Publishing and Gospel Light Publications. She currently serves the Congregational Church of New Canaan, Connecticut, as the Minister for Children and Families.
Reviews - What do customers think about Postmodern Children's Ministry?
A unique combination of education and spiritual development Oct 30, 2006
Ivy Beckwith confronts what I believe to be the most important issue of any time: the generational transmission of cultural knowledge and wisdom, and the preparation of children for a meaningful and truly human life. Beckwith recognizes that the cultural, communal and familial project of raising children is both ontological (spiritual) and epistemological (educational). Thus, with inspiring grace and beauty, Beckwith approaches the topic of children's ministry as central to the life of a church community. In other words, Beckwith challenges Christians and Christian communities to be what they believe and to live what they teach. This, simply, is what postmodern children's ministry means to Beckwith. Beckwith begins by describing the idea of modern and postmodern as a process of cultural transition. Our culture and society is going through a transition from modern to postmodern that is lasting generations. There is no single point in time or event in which a shift from something called modern to something called postmodern occurred, occurs, or will occur. Nonetheless, Beckwith suggests that the youngest generations, especially the post 9/11 generation now entering school, is much more postmodern in sensibilities than previous generations. A strength of this book is Beckwith's explanation of modern and postmodern and exactly what she means with her description of the newest generation as one with "postmodern sensibilities." Simply, Beckwith suggests that the newest generations use information, process and think about knowledge, and communicate in new, unpredictable, and postmodern ways. Within this postmodern milieu, however, we still understand the psychosocial and spiritual development of children. Beckwith cites and uses the work of Eric Erikson and James Fowler to explain the development of identify and spiritual understanding of children. Key to successful child spiritual development is community. Beckwith states, "All churches are some kind of social community, but it takes thought, intent, and hard work to become a biblical community of faith that is foundational to the spiritual development not only of its children, but also of all its members" (72-73). Later, she continues, "Faith is not something that develops in a vacuum. Having faith, understanding faith, exploring faith, and questioning faith are not solo activities. These things are meant to be done with others who are on the same path or looking for the same path. These things are meant to be done with people older than us, the same age as us, and younger than us. These things are meant to be done with people who look, think, and live differently than we do" (74). From this foundational assumption, Beckwith proceeds to provide practical advice and wisdom on how to engage children in full community participation, the role of family in community and the spiritual growth of children and community, how to engage children in a living and meaningful Bible, and how to involve and include children in worship. The power of this work partially stems, I believe, from Beckwith's knowledge and experience as an educator. Simply, Beckwith is able to integrate strong professional knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy with spiritual development. One could, in fact, substitute the term "education" for "spiritual/religious development" and the work would remain nonetheless valid. Beckwith declares that the development of children into caring, productive, and world transforming adults is a community activity and responsibility. It is not a product bought from and delivered by an educational service provider in an isolated classroom or institution. This is true whether in a Sunday school classroom, a church, or a public or private school.
Good Ideas along with some weird ones. Mar 23, 2006
At some points in the book she seems to contradict herself. A little bit of the book is confusing to read, and some of her ideas seemed a little weird (but I guess everybody is different). She did say that she was saved before she asked Jesus into her heart and to forgive her of her sins (I strongly disagree with this). On the positive side, she did have some thought provoking statements that might be worth reading if you are in Children's ministry or are going to enter into it. Just don't buy the book for full price.
Loved this book Feb 18, 2006
This book had an easy read quality. Explained children of the twenty-first century in accurate detail! I recommend this book to anyone who works with kids!
AWESOME! A must-read for anyone who deals with the public! Nov 14, 2005
I am an attorney, and theologian and webmaster of numerous religious websites. I have taught in Children's Church about 7 years.
This book discusses the CULTURAL SHIFT from the Modern Age (1700-1980 A.D.) to Postmodern. The first chapter alone is so important on this that I faxed parts to the Texas Bar Journal and State Bar of Texas Continuing Legal Education Section telling them they need to teach us lawyers this information for dealing with clients, employees, adverse parties, etc. I also gave excerpts to our denomination's Senior Bishop, our Senior Pastor and the head of our church's training ministry because the information applies far beyond children. Beckwith explains that what many view as only a "generation gap" is in fact a much more fundamental shift, equal to the shift from the Middle Ages' mystical worldview to the Enlightenment's rationalistic "Age of Reason" worldview.
The book is not about "Children's Church" programs per se although it discusses various aspect of those in a good bit of detail. It is about MINISTERING TO CHILDREN and CHILDREN'S SPIRITUAL GROWTH. It includes things like children's cognitive abilities and ability to understand abstract concepts at various ages, how children grow spiritually, the role and effect of the family, the importance of children being involved in church activities, not just babysat. This book is an excellent resource for parents and non-religious teachers as well as churches.
Beckwith is well-qualified by both experience and education. Although she is highly critical of practices often found in children's ministry, she explains the problems and describes realistic alternatives, many of which have been successfully implemented. She points out convincingly that if the church does not understand the worldview of the Postmoderns and adapt its approach, it will be viewed as irrelevant, just one view among a substantial number of views, all of which will be considered equally valid although they are mutually contradictory. Again, this is not limited to children's ministry.
open the door for a new conversation Aug 30, 2004
Ivy says what many of us in children's ministry have been thinking. We need to realy need to think about how we treat kids in church. Ivy opens the conversation with a book which is well though out and written with her open and honest style. It comes not only with philosphical thoughts but also with practical ideas. A must read for all who care about children in the church.