Chris Shirley was one of the reasons I returned to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for training in family ministry. He serves as the Associate Dean of the Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries and is a professor of educational ministries. His expertise includes, but is not limited to, family ministry and discipleship. With a deep love for Jesus, decades of experience in ministry, training countless ministers, and a Ph.D. in foundations of education, Dr. Shirley is a valuable voice. His balanced and calm demeanor combined with helpful and accountable research in order to produce this very helpful book. Those in leadership within a local church would benefit greatly from slowly working through this book as they hope to disciple their members effectively. Their biblical view of the family and its connection to the local church will be strengthened with sound theology and practical strategy.
Although it was difficult to narrow the list down. Here are my top 5 quotes from this important book:
- “Family Ministry is the shared service of all disciples in a local church–called by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit–to strengthen families and equip them to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the home, as the church, and throughout the world.” (12)
- “The family’s evangelistic mission begins at home as parents take seriously their role as disciple makers and spiritual leaders of their children. Parents are responsible for sharing the gospel with their children and, as God works in their lives, bringing them into a saving relationship with Christ. This responsibility continues as parents provide–and the church supplements–ongoing spiritual development for their children.” (70)
- “When we as pastors think of family ministry, we often think of a programmatic component of the church’s ministry that involves the core twenty percent of our families who participate in nearly everything. According to the Bible though, this is not the proper way to think about family ministry. Ironically, if it were up to me solely, I would not use the term family ministry to label any program within the church. Instead, family ministry is part of the way churches should make disciples.” (113)
- “In my experience, churches with senior pastors who take the lead when it comes to family ministry thrive in making disciples across the generations. The inverse is also true. Churches who attempt a connecting-church-and-home strategy without the strong leadership of the senior pastor are less likely to thrive.” (116)
- “Parents awakening to the supremacy of Jesus, parents more deeply adoring Him on His throne, and parents daily arising to join Him in His kingdom activity, offers the brightest hope for teenagers moving in those same directions the rest of their lives.” (200)
This book provides a wealth of helpful information and pulls from a large list of cited resources that will enrich your church’s awareness of discipleship within the home and its connection to the local church. Each chapter contains a recommended resource list as well if leaders want to dive deeper into one of the chapter topics.
Parents and grandparents will also benefit from reading through this resource in order to gain a better understanding of what God has called them to do. They can walk away from this book having received great ideas and rich theology related to the family members they have been given.