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Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church's #1 Priority Hardcover – November 21, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In the simplest terms, cultivating a biblical worldview means learning to think and act like Jesus. But how can the Church— and parents—teach children something their own parents didn’t know to teach them? Many parents have never had early spiritual training, so they look to the church to provide it for their children. The problem is, churches usually focus on teens and adults—failing to realize that a child’s moral development is set by the age of nine. The answer? George Barna says that churches must begin now to come alongside parents and equip them to provide their children—at the earliest age possible— with biblical precepts that will protect them from a barrage of worldly ideas and teaching that is hostile to the biblical worldview. Churches must also think in terms of providing parents with information and counseling that will help them rear their children to be followers of God. It’s time to wage a spiritual war—time to equip parents to help their children become the spiritually mature Church of tomorrow, literally transforming them into spiritual champions!

About the Author

George Barna is the award-winning author of more than 45 books, including bestsellers such as Revolution, The Power of Vision, The Frog in the Kettle and The Seven Faith Tribes. He is also founder of The Barna Group, a leading research firm that specializes in faith-related surveys. In 2009, George initiated Metaformation, a new organization designed to help people maximize their potential. George has led several churches and lives with his family in Southern California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Regal; Presumed to be 1st as edition is unstated edition (November 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830732934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830732937
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Barna was raised and educated on the East Coast before moving to California in the early 1980s. He held executive positions in advertising, public policy, political campaigns, and media/marketing research before beginning his own company, the Barna Research Group (now The Barna Group), in 1984. The firm analyzes American culture and creates resources and experiences designed to facilitate moral and spiritual transformation. Located in Ventura, California, The Barna Group provides primary research as well as developmental resources and analytic diagnostics. The company has served several hundred parachurch ministries and thousands of Christian churches throughout the country. It has also supplied research to for-profit corporations such as Ford Motor Company, The Walt Disney Company, Visa USA, and Prudential, and has assisted the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army as well.

To date, George Barna has written more than 40 books, predominantly in the areas of leadership, trends, spiritual development, and church health. Included among them are bestsellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, The Power of Vision, and Pagan Christianity? Several of his books have received national awards. He has also written for numerous periodicals and has published various syndicated reports on topics related to faith and lifestyle. He also writes a bimonthly research report, The Barna Update, which is accessed by hundreds of thousands of people through his firm's Web site ( His work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media. He has been hailed as "the most quoted person in the Christian church today" and is counted among its most influential leaders. In 2009, George initiated Metaformation, a new organization designed to help people maximize their potential. More information about his current projects is available from

Barna is a popular speaker at ministry conferences around the world and has taught at several universities and seminaries. He has served as a pastor of a large multiethnic church, has been involved in several church plants, and currently leads an organic church. He has served on the board of directors of various organizations. After graduating summa cum laude from Boston College, Barna earned two master's degrees from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he was awarded the Eagleton Fellowship. He also received a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. He lives with his wife and their three daughters in Southern California. He enjoys spending time with his family, writing, reading novels, playing and listening to guitar, relaxing on the beach, visiting bookstores, and eating pizza.

Customer Reviews

VERY EYE opening.
Jane Gausmann
I will recommend this book to every parent, caretaker, Pastor, and church worker to read.
Barna's book was a great resource for me when I was a Children's Ministry Director.
H. M. Hudson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Valentine Dworak on October 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a good solid book. Too many churches treat children's ministry like a babysitting service and an afterthought. I work at a school that provides MA in Children's and Family ministries and the many many students we have in the program are getting a graduate education in Children's & Family ministries. They are taking this seriuosly, their churches are taking it seriously, and so is George Barna in this book.

There are many stats to back up what he is saying and it is done in plain english. I appreciate the way Barna shares his research and does not seem so profit driven as other Christian writers from big publishing companies.

This, is a good book. Every elder in any church that cares should pick this up and give it a look before the church budgets are set for the following year. I highly recommend it. Joseph Dworak
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J on May 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Barna is known for writing books based on superb research - and this one is no exception. Drawing from several national studies conducted among children, as well as others among families and church pastors, this book really challenged me to re-think my own assumptions and behavior regarding the importance of ministry to children. The book was helpful to me personally, not only by giving useful insights into why focusing on substantive ministry to children is so critical - he offers some very eye-opening information in that regard - but also providing specifics on how to reach kids more effectively. The last few chapters outline what churches can do to facilitate parents being more effective and how churches can assist parents rather than replace them. A disturbing book in some ways - the spiritual state of children, as described, is frightening - but a hugely helpful, practical and needed book. Every parent and every pastor should read this one!!!
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on March 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have never read anything by George Barna, though I have heard a great deal about him, as his statistics seem to be quoted by every Christian speaker under the sun. From that perspective, I expected great things from this book. Truthfully, I was disappointed.

To be fair, he does present a solid case that God cares deeply about children, so the church should care about children, too. But that's not something that any reasonable church leader would dispute.

His description of what effective churches are doing was compelling and caused me to consider those various strategies. However, I wish that he had been more specific through that chapter, to identity what specific churches had done in detail. Instead, he chose to speak in very general platitudes. Again, with such generalities, it is hard to disagree, but it also tends to be much less instructive to the reader.

My first primary criticism of the book is that, as mentioned in some other Amazon reviews, the statistical data seemed to be rather sparse. The book served largely as a forum for Barna to sermonize about ministering to children. Though he had some good things to say, his reputation suggests that he comes from a very objective place of analytical research. That did not seem to be the primary thrust of this book. Maybe I had unreasonable expectations, but this book is not a statistical analysis of the state of contemporary church ministries to children. A few stats are mentioned (and even repeated) throughout, but I wanted more.

I also felt like his claim that children's ministries should be THE primary focus of church ministry was a stretch, and not well-supported. That churches should make ministry to children ONE OF THE primary focal points is something worth articulating.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Timothy McCracken on March 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book that challenges, encourges parents and churches to partner together to mentor children from the earliest years of their lives. Barna admits that for years his focus, and the churches, has been focused on adults when 80% of decisions for Christ are made before the age of 13. A strong case for churches to rethink where their priorities should be in ministry.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tom on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I made the mistake of looking at the title of this book and assuming the book was a resource for parents on how to transform their children into spiritual champions. It is not and I feel a little like this is a bait and switch. The sub-title, in small print, is what this book is primarily about, "Why Children should be your church's #1 Priority". If you already know that children should be your church's number 1 priority, you don't need this book. If you are a parent looking for practical ideas and strategies on how to disciple your children, don't buy this book. If you are an academic, wanting to see research on how most people's ideas and world view are shaped growing up, this is the book for you. If you are a Christian parent looking for practical stuff on how to be more effective in discipling your children, I would not recommend this book.

There is a chapter on what kids need but most Christian parents already know this. We need creative and practical ideas on how to facilitate Bible study, worship, evangelism, and service. To sum up, if you already know that you shouldn't relinquish the spiritual growth of your children to your church, if you accept responsibility for your children's faith and passion for God, you don't need this book. I believe the title is misleading and would submit that the author and publisher should make the sub-title, which is what the book is really about, the actual title. That is why I only rated it as a 1-Star.
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