I continue to struggle with narrowing my dissertation topic. When I first began considering it several years ago I was asking the question, “Why do we do children’s ministry the way we do it?” Not long after, I began asking, “Why do we do church the way we do it?” Currently I am asking, “Why do we do life the way we do it?” There was a natural progression in the questions. I expect that there may be more to follow in the coming weeks and months.
My hope is to write a practical theology of children and family ministry with a view toward rethinking the assumptions of how we do ministry, particularly in light of our cultural worldview. I am weary of a consumer-based paradigm of ministry, treating children as products to be modified or consumers to be pleased (so long as they remain segregated into their age appropriate religious ghettos), especially as an extension of their parents, the keepers of the cash and controllers of their time. Yes that is a provocative statement and intentionally so. I am interested in challenging myself and my church to move into a way of living and ministering in the culture which honors children as persons and families as integral to holistic community life, so that discipleship and mission flow hand-in-hand as natural expressions of faith. I am interested in seeing children grow up as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ, rather than checking out of a life of faith altogether as soon as they are old enough to distance themselves from anything resembling life in Christ.