I have just read the newly published book by Dr. Tim Kimmel and it has been one of the most practical and helpful books I have read on how to reframe family ministry in such a way that connects the church and home better.
In the opening chapter of the book he writes,
“This book is about how a family leverages its collective assets to raise the spiritual stock value of its local church…and how a local church leverages its collective assets to raise the spiritual stock value of its families-and both of these done with the combined goal of enhancing God’s power and presence within our culture.” (p. 2)
In a very straightforward and easy to read way he unpacks this throughout the rest of his book. With humour and years of experience in family ministry Kimmel presents a fresh approach to how churches and families can best partner together in passing on faith to the next generation. Even if your church does not have a “formal” children’s or youth ministry, he shows how ministry is and can be happening among the young.
Kimmel pulls no punches as he challenges churches that if they are going to spend money on trained professionals to oversee programs and invest in buildings and equipment then does it make sense to have a family ministry whose main goal is “just to present quality programs supplemented by crafts, cookies, and take home papers?” (p.16)
Instead, Kimmel offers an approach that will be effective regardless of the style, format or model of family ministry within a church. He does not present a specific strategy or tactics but rather a philosophy that needs to undergird whatever is happening in family ministry. That philosophy is grace.
He thoroughly, yet concisely unpacks what he means by a grace-based ministry: what it looks like in ministry and relationships, based on how God interacts with his children.
“God’s grace creates a relationship that inclines a people’s heart toward the good news, gives credibility to the truth we want to embed in their hearts, and gives passion to the influence God wants them to have in the lives of the people they touch.” (p.59)
The grace-based ministry philosophy Kimmel presents is not a model. As he states, models come and go. And there are many different helpful and good models that churches can choose from. Every ministry or faith community will need to operate from a particular model. But no matter how good of a model used, if the underlying philosophy of grace is not understood it will not be effective.
This book will help you to rethink how you approach your ministry. It also has a very helpful visual, in the form of a ‘map’ to illustrate the concepts Kimmel presents. You can take a look at this map and get a sense of his thinking here. This is a book that every church leader, whether paid or volunteer and parent should read when it comes to understanding the partnership that should exist between church and home!