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Postmodern Children's Ministry: Ministry to Children in the 21st Century Church (Emergent YS) Paperback – 1 Sep 2004


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"You'll learn that preschoolers can learn to worship, how to develop family and intergenerational worship, and how to include children fully in the church community. This is a great study for church leadership." * YouthWorker Journal * YouthWorker Journal

About the Author

Ivy Beckwith is a graduate of Gordon College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and holds a PhD in education from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Born and raised in new England, Ivy has been children's minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota, since July 2000. Her primary responsibility is preschool and children's education, where her focus is the spiritual formation of Colonial's children and families.

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
AWESOME! A must-read for anyone who deals with the public! 14 Nov. 2005
By Joseph T. Reinckens II - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
UPDATE: I'm re-reading this book and although I agree with the review below, there is one caveat: Beckwith's terminology is a bit out of date. She uses the terms Gen Y and Millennials interchangeably. Nowadays, the sequence is considered to be WW II Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials. What she calls "adaptives" are now referred to as Millennials. So when reading the book, just be aware that when she refers to "millennials" she's really talking about Gen Y.

I am an attorney, and theologian and webmaster of numerous religious websites. I 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.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A unique combination of education and spiritual development 30 Oct. 2006
By Douglas R. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
open the door for a new conversation 30 Aug. 2004
By Timothy P. Fitch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
but not a great resource for children's ministry 3 Nov. 2014
By Robert R Moore/Hampton Road Baptist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK, but not a great resource for children's ministry.
Five Stars 4 Mar. 2015
By Marc Raphael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book! Easy to read, practical, convicting!
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