Book Review: Collaborate

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In light of the title of the book, Collaborate is a collaborative effort by many ministers in the field of children, family, and student ministry to bring the best of the best of their ideas to the table. Chanley, at Southeast in Louisville, KY, put together these short chapters filled with excellent events you can do at your church to help bridge the gap that is evident in ministries and families across America.
Good things about this book:
1. Rob Rienow’s chapter. I had read a bulk of the material for since I am familiar with Rob’s writings, but it was a good reminder of WHY we do family ministry and WHY THERE IS A NEED for family ministry. The reason this chapter, for me, was the best out of this book is because it is the only one whose main focus was the theological reason behind family ministry. Others definitely drove Deut 6.4-9 into the ground and used that as an imperative for ministry – but Rob opened up the biblical mandate for Family Ministry and parenting and the church and the gospel. Theology, I know, wasn’t the main point of this book. And Chanley and others definitely succeded in the aim of this book. (That’s why there are multiple books out there, each with its specific niche.)
2. Rob Bradbury encouraged me by his list. Not only will this chapter be helpful as people sit down to plan out events – but he started with the most important, yet most often overlooked element. PRAYER. He listed prayer before advertising. How often to do plan, advertise, talk up, poster-up, get volunteers – even before we pray. At the church I serve, we have even noticed that this is not as big of a focus as we need it to be. So, we are taking many efforts to strengthen our prayer times in staff meetings or in our lives personally. Today, even, stopping in the middle of staff meeting to pray for a lady who walked through our doors during Joy Prom and said she had never (in 62 years, in the South) walked into a church. These are the things that need praying for.
3. Short chapters. I like books with short chapters because I feel like I can plow through a book without having to sit down and read for 2 hours straight. I like being able to end at a chapter, not in the middle of one.
4. Very practical. If you need ideas, or are stuck and uncreative (like I often am), this book will help bring some fresh new ideas from literally around the world to you.

One word of caution with this book: Picking up this book would lead some to believe that is all about activity – or events. Family Ministry is not event driven. It must NOT be. It has to be theology and gospel driven. God can and does use events to draw people to themselves (take Joy Prom for example, or youth camp, or VBS, or Family Fall night, but if it is event driven, we will just fill up a calendar and spend money. If it is gospel-driven – then hopefully God will use the church to make an impact in the lives of families. You can’t get your people on board with events unless they know the why behind what you do.

That is my daily challenge. May it be your’s as well.