Customer Reviews: Children's Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas
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on September 2, 2007
Children's Ministry in the 21st Century is a refreshing approach to the basics of Children's Ministry for today. I've read a mountain of books that theorize and pontificate on the subject, but Craig Jutila's book delivers more than just theory. This book delivers the goods. He explains the latest trends in Childrens' Ministry then at the end of each chapter, he gives you good concrete suggestions for activities that you can implement to bring your church's children's ministry into the 21st century. Whether you have a small church or a mega church or you work with babies or preteens, you can find many activities and suggestions for your classroom, small group Bible Study, or church wide event in this easy to read and reference resource.
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on September 14, 2013
This book is a great compilation of relevant Children's Ministry ideas, tips, and helpful content. I like that a group of authors joined together to compound different ideas from their experiences. I found great value in reading about how to teach kids of all different ages, learning styles, disabilities, and life stories.
The chapter on How to Minister to Kids of All Kinds was one of my favorites. From autism to kids that are victims of abuse, this chapter gives insight on how to minister to these kids and what resources are available to do this to the fullest capacity. It also touches on childhood obesity, how to be sensitive to this subject and encourage kids to be healthy while also tailoring your ministry to be welcoming to these kids. I feel like these issues are not thought through until they are encountered in ministry, so it was good to read about how to deal with these special situations before I encounter them personally.
Chapter six is called Reaching the Edges: Preschoolers and Preteens. This chapter is all about staying relevant and being a part of the digital era we live in, and how we can use this to our advantage as ministers. I think anyone trying to update their ministry and become a Children's Pastor that is focused on what's happening in today's churches, this is exactly what to read. This chapter encourages electronics in a ministry and how to use them in order to teach kids about Jesus. This chapter also talks about safety in a Children's Ministry--an important piece of ministry today. The safer your ministry can be, and keeping that organized and easy, the better. I loved the guidance this chapter gives in how to keep your ministry a safe place for kids.
I would recommend this book to anyone in Children's Ministry, whether you're a full-time staff person or a volunteer. This is the perfect tool to use when updating your ministry, and is a book I refer to often when I am stuck.
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on March 13, 2008
This is one of the most practical resources I own! Each chapter is relavant to children's ministry right now. Each chapter has a list of easy to use, ministry-tested ideas that you can read and implement today.
This entire series by Group Publishing is a must have for staff/volunteers involved in church ministry in the 21st century.

Group has so many incredible resources for children's are a few to check out!
The Humongous Book of Preschool Ideas
The Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children's Ministry with CD (Audio)
The Humongous Book of Children's Messages
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
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on November 16, 2013
Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century is a book by a group of authors to help children’s ministers stay up to date in the way they minister to children. In each chapter, an author writes briefly about how a child learns, what they will react to, and what is unique about the children of the 21st century. At the end of each chapter, 10 activities are given to implement what was taught by the author in the chapter. Activities are often family/adult inclusive. For instance, a family movie night is one of the activities suggested to minister to the family unit, and not just to the child. After the movie, the kids, parents, and children’s minister meet in a home to discuss the quality of the movie and what Jesus would think. This activity is useful because it helps children think critically about the activities they are frequently involved in. That way, Christianity is not just a way to look at things, but a lens by which we look at everything else. Another benefit of this book is that it outlines what a family ministry entails. Methods are given to support the family in their effort to lead their children spiritually, which is highly necessary.
Personally, I doubted there was any major revamping needed to the way we do ministry to children due to their generational difference, because the Word of God bears fruit no matter where it goes, and no effort of man will make a soul receive the Word of God. However, I was convinced that it is still useful after the book presented the surprising statistics on the amount of time that children spend on technology. They are engaged in 6.5 hours of media a day! Biblically, 1 Chronicles 12:32 notes about the men of Issachar that they “understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” This reminded me of If you visit their website, they have a whole online gaming program that teaches children Biblical principles! This part of the website is solely dedicated to children.
Overall, Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century is an effective resource to understand the times and implement ideas accordingly. Readers won’t have problems running out of ideas to embolden their ministry. Even if all the ideas in the book were used, it gives the understanding necessary to create original ideas for your children’s ministry.
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on October 9, 2007
This book does an amazing job at helping us to see, beyond the obvious, how kids are growing up differently, now more than ever before; and how the church needs to be prepared to meet them where they are at, or even where they will be - or risk becoming "irrelevant" in our rapidly changing world. Then, you are given fun, practical ideas of how to put these new concepts into practice. Every person who works with kids should read this book!!!
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on October 8, 2012
Children's Ministry in the 21st century is a great brook that opens up an understanding of younger generations. The vibe this book gives off is one that is targeted towards older generations. The book goes much further into the 21st century and effective ministry, but breaks down the distinct changes between the years. His diagram on page 13 clearly describes and explains the different changes. Which underlines a theme and movement that is happening in the world. Kids are growing up faster. The world today is pushing kids to grow up faster in the way they dress, talk, learn and their knowledge of technology. With these challenges ministry today is complicated. There has to be a newer way of ministering kids to be kids, in their development and how to be Christian in a liquid world.
What else I liked about this book was the Bible activities at the end of each chapter. They were practical and had reproducible materials. This was nice addition for the reader be able to use. There was plenty of ideas a person can use, but also had fully developed ideas. Honestly there is always a plus when authors are talking about their ways of ministry and then have practical examples. If you are looking for practical ways of children/ student/ and family ministry this book has some good ideas.
Chapter 2 was well put in how we can minister to Generation M today. They talked about all the characteristics from this generation. Talked about how frustrating, and the unique ticks of their generation. With all those ticks they are taken into account and the author shares how we can minister to them. This book truly looks expansively into the 21st century and the changes that occur. With the culture shift today the author then talks about how we can effectively reach those generations. This is the rewiring of how we do ministry. Examining the new and then trying to figure out how to minister to the newer generation.
With the new generation the authors talked about problems kids face. There is a child with autism or some other special needs. Ministry today is not equipped and nowhere close to being educated. There is a responsibility to have education for workers and for pastors. There needs to be education as there are more persons today with special needs then ever. The church needs to be a restorative place and these authors assess this issue. Other issue he talks about is multimedia, obesity, and children are in transition. The authors talk about kids in transition as those who are being adopted.
Overall this book is great in practical ministry and eye openers for ministers. There is great information about ministering to the 21st century. The authors try and grasp the struggles of new generations and the culture shifts. While examining these views the authors also tackle ways to minister to the different groups, and make-up of the newer generations. This book is great if a person is struggling to connect with their kids and want a new way of looking at ministry. I recommend this book to stagnate ministers.
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on March 15, 2014
Children's ministry in the 21st century is a great resource for anyone who desires to work or serve in ministry for children. There are many different aspects that I appreciate from this book. The first is its easy ability to read. The book doesn't consist of long drawn out chapters, but of concise, to the point articles. The articles are written by a variety of different authors. It isn't bad to read a book by one author, but in an ever changing and growing society, it is good to see a variety of views and methods to ensure a successful and efficient ministry. The article topics range from changing trends in society, ministry and education, and how to reach different types of kids and how they are growing and changing and how our ministry should respond appropriately. I also enjoy the activities at the end of each chapter. There are about ten activities for each article, ranging from lesson illustrations to fun games and even get togethers for families and other members of the church. I enjoyed those especially because I feel that ministries within todays church's are too disjointed from one another, and should be more synergistic, working and growing together. Finally, I appreciate the focus and Scripture. All too often we search for new, creative and revolutionary ways to revamp our ministries, and we forget about the whole reason we are doing ministry; that is too bring glory to God and to bring those who need it to a relationship with him.
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on October 11, 2012
This book was a phenomenal book to read. It included topics that I had not even thought about, especially in regards to disabled children, obese children, and children who have been abused. I really enjoyed how each chapter was written by a different author because it kept the book interesting, with different tones and different ways of writing in each chapter. This was a fun and thought-inspiring book! This book really focused on how the generations have changed and how to engage children while connecting them with Christ. The part that I liked best of this book, were the sections after each chapter that gave different games or lessons to use with kids to get them involved and to also keep their parents involved. There was so much about this book that I cannot touch on everything that I enjoyed and learned from it, so here are a few examples from several of the chapters that I found most interesting.

The first chapter was about how the generations have changed in technology and how to reach kids through the different sense, images, real life examples, and relatable topics. The lessons need to be technologically at their level and need to demonstrate a positive worldview. This chapter also includes parents in teaching their kids about Christ and teaching parents how to actively be encouraging, teaching and protecting their children in the world we live in.

As a psychology major, I really enjoyed chapter three. Dunn explains the different types of intelligences (i.e. word smarts, music smart, picture smart, etc.) and some examples as to how to reach each child's type of intelligence. She also discussed different types of teaching for brain based learning and collaborative learning and gave examples of how to utilize both of those. She also stated that kids will always be curious. Their curiosity will never change, so that is something that pastors can rely on when dealing with children (Dunn, 66). One of the lessons that backed up this chapter was to have stations for the kids. I don't ever remember having stations growing up in the church and I think that these stations would be very beneficial in the development of faith for children, because they can use all of their senses to learn about Christ.

A quote that I found very important was "Serving and loving one child may even impact the future of the nation and shape generations yet unborn" (Dr. H.B. London Jr., For Kids' Sake, 85). When I think about this quote it amazes me. The one child that I am impacting today can impact so many others, and may even impact their kids. That puts a lot of pressure on people who are involved with children on a regular basis. If we can impact at least one child in a positive way, it will help shape many generations for the better, but the same can happen in a negative way if we do not teach and treat our kids in an appropriate way. This concept is very important in children's ministry.

One of the main focuses of this book was how technologically driven this generation of kids have become. They are on social media sites, can surf the web in a moments notice, and have full access to youtube and other interactive websites. One of the examples that I really liked was to give a group of kids a camera, and a laptop and allow the children to learn about a lesson, and then present the lesson to their peers through technology. This is a fun and creative way to learn about Christ and His word.
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on February 8, 2013
This is a great book for everyone who works with kids. It's a fun fast read filled with all sorts of helpful information. It starts out with pointing out how our culture is changing the way we have to teach. Each child is wired differently which makes us have to teach them differently, pointing out the types of intelligence, word smarts, music smarts, sensory, images, real life examples, games. We need to embrace the new technology as it comes forth and then use that technology in our ministries to teach the children. I think the only thing we always have to be cautious of it to be aware of your kids. You don't want to isolate a child because some kids who may not have the money to have the some of the technology. Be sensitive to it.

One of the other areas this book touches on that is very helpful is discussing different types of kids, whether they are obese, learning disabilities, adopted or come from divorced homes, blind or deaf, there are different ways we need to minister to them. The authors give some concrete ideas how to teach them and how to teach the other kids to help them to not look at these kids differently but to accept them. The activities at the end of this chapter has some great ways for kids to learn, ex, sign language and blind art.

I also appreciate the chapter towards family ministry. Family ministry has the unique quality of building a legacy. The family can grow in their faith, together.

The best part of this book is it doesn't just preach to you but it then gives you reproducible lessons and activities you can do with the kids. Each chapter ends with numerous activities and lessons you can use. The best part of the activities is that they can be used if you have 10 kids or 100 kids.

This book is also fun because each chapter are written by different authors so it gives different prospectives.
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on October 9, 2012
The children in our ministries are children of the twenty-first century, and living in a world full of technological advances that we as children could only dream of; they are living in a postmodern world. We as Children's Ministers and Children's Directors need our ministries to reflect the children's world, a postmodern, twenty-first century world; whether it is making sure that our lessons are applicable to their world or teaching in way that will reach the children in the best way. Children's Ministry in the 21st Century is a great resource for ideas about how to minister to children in the twenty-first century in a twenty-first century way.
Children's Ministry in the 21st Century easy to read and easy to understand, that offers instruction on teaching techniques, which are being used in schools today and thus add some consistency for your children, and that will engage children's minds and keep them interested in the lesson. Each chapter offers ten different activities that correspond with the topic of that chapter. These activities are also interchange able and have many different dimensions. One of my favorite chapters in Children's Ministry in the 21st Century is the one about reaching the youngest in your ministry and the oldest in your ministry. The birth through preschool part was especially interesting and had wonderful activities that you easily be applied to the ministry of our infants, toddlers, and young children.
The main goal of Children's Ministry in the 21st Century is not just to inform about education trends or how to ministry to children of the twenty-first century. One of the key points in Children's Ministry in the 21st Century is how to connect to children of the twenty-first century and make them feel safe and know that they are loved. This is the underlying theme in all of the chapters and activities. No matter how trendy your ministry is, your ministry will not prosper or fulfill its purpose if it is not a place that welcomes children and genuine love.
One thing I would caution is when you pick the activities you want to do in your ministry. Children's Ministry in the 21st Century activities seem to be directed towards children of the middle or upper class. There are a couple of activities that involve electronics and technology, and that is a big part of our children's world, but be conscious of your children's economic status, just because technology is a part of the world doesn't mean it is a part of children's household. We don't want children to feel inadequate or out of place. When using Children's Ministry in the 21st Century it is important to remember that this is a book of ideas, you don't have to apply all of the ideas in the book, just pick out the ones, and even modify some, to fit your ministry and the children of your ministry.
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