Although I enjoyed Grace Based Parenting, I will say that Connecting Church and Home is a better written, and more persuasive look at how to go about ministry to children, in families and churches, with a gospel focus.
Kimmel notes with concern that our western culture encourages parents to outsource “spiritual heavy lifting” to “professionals” in churches, which isn’t God’s model, nor is it very effective. He points out that children adopt the culture of their homes, and two hours a week at Sunday School and church is not going to give them a deeply rooted faith.
I thought Kimmel’s section on defining your philosophy was particularly helpful.
He points out that some people think strategically (big picture, priorities, goals–this is me!) and others think tactically (executing on the actual plan, details–this is not me!), but that neither strategic nor tactical thinking will get you anywhere in parenting or ministry if you haven’t clearly defined the overarching philosophy of what you’re trying to do. Goals and activities may be great, but if you don’t have a clear view of why you’re doing things or what you’re really aiming for, you won’t be effective. Kimmel believes that our philosophy needs to be that of showing grace. We can focus on scripture and doctrine and theology (all good things and needful!) but if they aren’t grounded in grace, they won’t reach our kids at the heart level.
Kimmel notes that “most parents get preoccupied with raising kids who go through childhood right” rather than focusing on kids who turn out right. “Grace assumes that children will struggle with wrong behavior, but doesn’t overreact to it. It corrects as it goes along, but its true focus is on building character into the child’s heart.”
Kimmel then weaves in a discussion of the main ideas from Grace Based Parenting such as how to meet kids’ deepest needs, make your home a place of grace, and build character. As I mentioned above, I think the treatment of these themes in Connecting Church and Home is far superior to the original book, perhaps because Kimmel integrates the ways that churches can support and equip families in this.
The book also includes numerous references to other resources for churches that want to develop a robust ministry to families, and for parents who want to be better equipped to lead their families spiritually.
I think Connecting Church & Home is a great book and would highly recommend it to parents as well as to pastors or ministry leaders who work with children. It gives a great vision and lots of practical ideas, without being too narrowly prescriptive.
The publisher graciously offered a giveaway copy of Connecting Church & Home to one A Spirited Mind reader. If you’d like to win a copy of the book, leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on showing grace in relationships or a particular parenting challenge you think could use more grace before 8pm EST Tuesday March 5. I’ll post the winner on Wednesday March 6.
Disclosure: The publisher sent me a review copy of this book, but the opinions in this review are my own. The links to Connecting Church & Home above are affiliate links.