This book comes at a timely moment for me, as pastor of a church that is concerned about continuing a pattern of godly, biblical training for all ages. For the last 15 years, we’ve attempted (not without struggles, mind you) to create a more favorable multi-generational approach to Christian Education. We don’t want our children to feel isolated. This is the problem that so often leads to teens abandoning the church once they’ve left home––they’ve never been made to feel like they belong there in the first place. We also want our parents to realize that what we offer at the church is not to be the frontline of discipleship for their children: they are!
Trained in the Fear of God might not be the easiest book to read, at least in the opening portion, as the authors lay out some of the historical background, but if you’re willing to dig deep here, it lays a good foundation for where we need to go next. The practical sections will give the most help, but don’t neglect the foundational building blocks of the theological reasons “why” we should be involved in family-equipping ministry. If you just jump to the “how to’s” you’ll simply be adding programs to your church––something you don’t need to do.
I would recommend this book to leaders within churches, both vocational and lay leaders. I’m convinced the future demands that we take this approach. I recommend it for parents as well, but my initial thought is they may need encouragement to stick with the reading. It almost comes across as more of an academic, college-class-type of approach and most moms and dads aren’t going to tackle something on that level, especially if they’re feeling “desperate.”
About the Book: Trained in the Fear of God encourages the church and its leaders and pastors to shift away from the current “silos” paradigm of age-specific youth ministries to a more holistic approach rooted in ministry to and by families. Stinson and Jones draw upon the expertise of seventeen scholars and practitioners to provide the biblical and theological foundation for doing so, followed by practical steps in implementing foundational insights. Among the seventeen contributors are Albert Mohler, Robert Plummer, Bruce Ware, and James Hamilton.
About the Authors/Editors: Randy Stinson (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the School of Church Ministries at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and serves as president of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Timothy Paul Jones (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of leadership and church ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written a number of books, including Misquoting Truth and Perspectives on Family Ministry.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.