Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Book: Invitation to Educational Ministry

What does it look like to make disciples within the church? While there is a strong case to be made for the importance of one-to-one relationships that cannot be ignored, there is also a definite role for organized educational ministry within churches.

That is where today’s book, Invitation to Educational Ministry, comes in quite handy. The work is edited by George M. Hillman, Jr., and Sue G. Edwards, who assembled contributions from more than a dozen of their colleagues at Dallas Theological Seminary.

First, let’s be clear about what Invitation is. It’s a textbook. Some of you will immediately start to fade away, because in your mind “textbook” is equivalent to “boring, useless, old.” One cannot hold the editors, or Kregel Academic Publishing, responsible for your poor prior experiences with textbooks. Textbooks are simply compiled resources intended for use in teaching—and this is a book compiled to teach about teaching. And you need it in your ministry.

Because, fundamentally, organizing for educational discipleship is a wheel you do not need to spend the time re-inventing. Edwards and Hillman have shaped this book to start with the foundation of teaching—who does it, why do it, and what are basic principles, then move through the specifics of various populations and onto concepts of leading and teaching small groups.

Each chapter is put together by a contributor with experience in its specific field, such as youth or children’s ministry, or experience in senior adult work. All of the chapters provide both theory and discussion questions to help cement your understanding of the material.

For the minister already at work, trying to reshape a stalled church education program, chapter 21 turns out to be the most useful—it provides worksheets to help you walk through a process in your church.

All-in-all, Invitation to Educational Ministry fits well with the rest of Kregel’s “Invitation” series: all-encompassing works that help beginners and experienced workers grow in their understanding of a field, with plenty of guidance for further study if desired.

I received my copy of this book from Kregel Academic in exchange for the review.

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