Ministry for the 21st Century Child

Ministry for the 21st Century Child

These resources are the top picks of presenter Ivy Beckwith, who led the September 2012 workshop Ministry for the 21st Century Child.


Beckwith, Ivy. Formational Children's Ministry: Shaping Children Using Story, Ritual, and Relationship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010.
This book outlines the components of a formational model for church children's ministry. The author advocates immersing children in the stories of the Bible and the church, the rituals of the family and the faith community, and offering opportunities for quality intergenerational relationships as the means for developing children who will love God and live in the way of Jesus.

Beckwith, Ivy.  Postmodern Children's Ministry: Ministry to Children in the 21st Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.
This book looks at children's ministry in the light of generational change and the postmodern cultural shift. The author offers insight into how family, community and worship contribute to the spiritual formation of children.

Stonehouse, Catherine and Scottie May. Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey: Guidance for Those Who Teach and Nurture. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010.
Throughout more than a decade of field research, children's spirituality experts Stonehouse and May listened to children talk about their relationships with God, observed children and their parents in learning and worship settings, and interviewed adults about their childhood faith experiences. This book reveals their findings to offer a glimpse of the spiritual responsiveness and potential of children. Through case studies, it provides insight into children's perceptions of God and how they process their faith.

Westerhoff, John H. III. Will Our Children Have Faith? 3rd Revised Edition. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2012.
Originally written in 1976, revised in 2000 and 2012, this classic critique of Christian education is expanded and includes Westerhoff’s overview and perspective on the state of Christian education over the past 40 years. Westerhoff discusses how children can learn and experience faith and how adults can nourish and guide children, instead of only teaching the facts.

Yust, Karen Marie. Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Drawn from a three-year study of children's spirituality as well as the best in theological tradition and literature, Real Kids, Real Faith provides insight and a variety of helpful tips for nurturing children's spiritual and religious formation. Yust challenges the prevailing notion that children are unable to grasp religious concepts and encourages parents to recognize children as capable of genuine faith.