I’m a big fan of Mark Griffiths’ work around children having used Fusion, Impact, and Detonate several times, and so recently grabbed hold of a copy of One Generation from Extinction: How The Church Connects With The Unchurched Child.
Mark’s PhD thesis for the University of Nottingham was focussed on examining child evangelism in the UK trying to understand both what theology and best practice is needed for successful children’s evangelism and ministry to take place. To do this Griffiths takes Robert Raikes model of child evangelism through the formation of the Sunday School movement in the 1780s and compares that with examples from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Griffiths then examines four key projects from Fraserburgh, Leeds, Hastings and Liverpool before going on to look in more detail at the Slough and Windsor Project – focussed on what they do on a Saturday morning, how they support that ministry through home visits, schools visits and small groups. None of this section is revolutionary, it highlights best practice, and shows with the right vision and volunteer resources what can be done.
Part 2 focusses on the theory – the theology, the sociology and the practice of connecting with the unchurched child. Here the book can be a little academic at times for the average volunteer, or sadly, even children’s minister, but these findings are critical to helping us think how we shape church and children’s activities for outreach. There are ideas and concepts, insights and nuggets of truth on almost every page in this section. In Mark’s conclusion, there are recommendations that deserve more notice than a quick read of my review – they deserve close attention and prayerful action – if we are to grow the church and make sure the title of this book is not prophetic.
If you’re reaching out to under 11s in the UK you MUST read this book – it will give you a great overview and really get you thinking about how you connect with those children.