Thursday Book Club: Collaborate

UncategorizedJared Kennedy2 Comments

Collaborate, Family + Church by Michael Chanley + the group of 34, (Minister's Label, 2010).

On the back cover of Collaborate, there are pictures of the many authors connected via a web of relationships to the project's initiator and editor, Michael Chanley.  This is because the Collaborate book project  flows from Michael’s passion to connect.  The book, which is published by Minister’s Label, is not about Michael’s personal philosophy of family ministry.  Rather, it is a collaboration of 35 ministers, teachers, leaders, and thinkers that blends their ideas for connecting family and church.   As the web on the back hints, the book is not written as a linear or logical argument (unless you count alphabetical order by each chapter author's first name).  Rather, it reads as a loose collection of essays about family ministry.

As a linear thinker, I found myself wanting a reference guide to help me remember where to find the ideas in the book when I'm thinking through these issues in the future.  So, instead of writing a traditional review, I'm taking the time to write out a short reference guide (below).  Is this helpful?  What do you think?  Would you organize this differently?  I'd love to hear if you'd put chapters in a different place.  I'd love to hear from the authors especially.


  • 01 Rising Tide by Michael Chanley (page 7)--includes an introduction to contemporary family ministry issues and Michael's convicting personal testimony.

Theology and Philsophy--Read these when thinking through theological principles and philosophy/purpose statements guiding your ministry.

  • 28 Building a Theology of Family Ministry by Dr. Rob Rienow (page 147)
  • 15 The Missing Piece--Developing a Biblical worldview in your Children by Jim Wideman (page 81)
  • 20 Church DNA: How Church Culture Impacts the Initiative by Team KIDMO (page 111)
  • 33 Young at Heart by Steve Young--Living by the Shema.

Strategy and Re-Organization--Read these sections when you are taking the time to "work on" the ministry.  The following list of ideas involve a more holistic strategy change.  These are not merely ideas that a church can "add on" or implement as a part of their overall plan to reach families.  These are plans for re-organizing and re-orienting staff, strategy, and language to connect church and family.  For those who are already, thinking Orange, these are good resources to use to help improve your communication about how your family ministry is organized:

  • 26 Where Do You Start? by Reggie Joiner (page 135)--Read this first.  Read it and read it again.
  • 32 The Small Conquering the Big by Steven Dilla (page 171)--Burnout, life planning, and the little things.  Read this second.
  • Three great articles for talking and thinking through vision with a church's senior or executive leadership: 07 The Change You Need to Embrace: A Senior Pastor's Journey by Carey Nieuwhof (page 35) 20 Church DNA: How Church Culture Impacts the Initiative by Team KIDMO (page 111) 30 Fighting Staff Infections by Ryan Frank--this essay is MONEY!
  • 04 The Big Idea by Brad S. Tate (page 19)--Brad overviews his church's unified teaching strategy--adults, kids, and youth all studying the same passage.
  • These chapters outline best practices for milestones/benchmark strategies: 05 Make a Shift in Your Ministry: Use Milestones to Connect Church & Home by Brian Haynes (page 23) 06 Putting the Pieces Together by Brian Vander Ark (page 29) 13 Connecting Youth Ministry with Family by Jeremy Hall (page 71)--outlines their "breakthrough" strategy 18 PJ's All Stars Leadership Program by Justyn Smith (page 97) 19 Reinventing Baptism by Kenny Conley (page 103)
  • 24 Double It by Nevan Hooker (page 127)--brief thought on goal setting

Ideas for Church Ministries Connecting Church & Family

  • Children's Ministry Ideas for Equipping Families: 03 Family Connect by Becky Arthur (page 15)--an extensive list of good ideas 08 Families Serving Together by Dick Gruber (page 45)
  • Youth Ministry Ideas for Equipping Families: 02 Parent Liasons by Anna J. Light (page 11)--parents as an advisory and hospitality team for the youth ministry 13 Connecting Youth Ministry with Families by Jeremy Hall (page 71) 14 First Voice, Second Voice: Partnering with the Parents of Preteens by Jim Kast-Keat (page 77)
  • Ideas for Planning Attractional Environments and Events 16 How to offer a truly family-friendly event by Jonathan Cliff (page 87) 22 Environment Changes that Need Changing by Matt McKee (page 119) 27 Selling Out--Sold Out by Rob Bradburry (page 141) 29 Engaging Families Through Involvement... Kidz Blitz Style! by Roger Fields (page 159)
  • 17 Family Nourishment by Joyce Oglesby--teaching young wives biblical hospitality through marriage mentoring (photocopy for our women's minister)
  • 23 Family Fitness by Michelle Romain (page 123)
  • Ministry to Special Needs Kids: 11 Proverbs 16 by Heather Wimsett (page 61) 25 God's Heart for Families Affected by Special Needs by Pat Verbal

Ideas for Parents to Use at Home

  • 09 Doing Book by Fred Stoeker (page 49)--super convicting and helpful article about learning together with your kids.
  • 10 I Hate Homework! by Gina McClain (page 55)--putting together a vision for your family and parenting (**copy this for the couple teaching our First Steps class)
  • 15 The Missing Piece--Developing a Biblical worldview in your Children by Jim Wideman (page 81)
  • 12 Our Journey by Jason Houser (page 65)--great "How To" chapter for family worship
  • 21 Paramount Parenting by Matt Markins (page 115)
  • 34 Living the Shema as a Dad by Timothy Smith (page 179)--about how dad pastors his home
  • 35 Music: The Language Everyone Speaks by Yancy (page 185)

I received a complimentary copy of Collaborate from Minister's Label as part of the book blog tour.  This did not affect my opinion of the book in one way or another.