Leading KidMin: How To Drive Real Change In Children’s Ministry, by Pat Cimo & Matt Markins
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
From time to time I am amused as a reader when I see books end up being corporate strategies when I expected them to be Bible-based. Such was the case with this book. I have no objection in principle at least to statistical based methods of managing behavior, but I am often puzzled by the way these books work out in practice when it comes to issues of churches and the practice of Christianity . My great-great-uncle, for example, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the ineffectiveness of Sunday School education about 90 years ago, and I am amused to be reading about this issue still, even more so as someone who is involved as a volunteer in my congregation’s Sabbath School program . In reading this book, therefore, I do so as someone who was not asked to participate in the survey this book is largely based on, but someone for whom this book is definitely personally relevant.
In terms of its contents, this book is a fairly short book of under 200 pages. The authors seem to assume that the reader is someone who wants to lead change within their children’s ministry, which suggests an attitude that may be part of the problems discussed in the rest of the book concerning alignment of goals and so on. The first part of the book contains three chapters that encourage the reader to help others see what the reader sees. The second part then looks at how leaders of children’s ministries influence the grander vision of a church through alignment, carefully studying the senior minister, and building partnerships that work. The third part of the book looks at how people in children’s ministries lead from within by listening to aha moments, using their leadership voice, and focusing on winning. After that comes some notes, a look at the journey forward, as well as some notes about the research shown throughout the book, which consists of 5-point Likert scales arranged in fairly basic pie charts. This is not particularly deep data with vivid visual presentation, not in the least. A discussion guide, acknowledgements section, and some notes about the authors close the book and keep it around 180 pages or so in length.
For long stretches of this book the authors sound like they are writing to people engaged in corporate strategies of change management. In my view the children’s ministry of a church has a rather simple and straightforward mission–to assist parents in teaching God’s ways to children and in helping to prepare those children to participate in the events and ministry of the larger congregation. Neither of these tasks would appear to demand a great deal in the way of change management, and neither should be especially problematic when it comes to aligning the goals of children’s ministry with the larger congregation as a whole. What is it that children’s ministries are trying to do that the people who run them feel like division leaders of a corporation concerned with strategy and how to butter up a lead pastor in order to provide the political capital necessary to engage in massive change efforts that require going to conferences and implementing a lot of new programs. Perhaps the issue is that the people who run children’s ministries are often just way too ambitious and forget the rather limited nature of their mandate–they are not educating children in place of parents, but in addition to parents. This should not be that complicated.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: