** It was an honor to be asked to participate in an online book tour of the new book, "Shift: What it takes to finally reach families today" by Brian Hayes Thanks, Henry! **
Pastor Hayes opens the book with an excellent explanation of the biblical concept of "The Shema" (found in Deuteronomy 6), God's plan for spiritual formation. It is God's desire that we communicate the truth of His Word and that we impact and equip the next generation.
The path laid out by Pastor Hayes to achieve this goal implements a strategy designed to equip parents to be their children's 'primary faith influencer'. Each milestone is clearly defined: The birth of a baby (Dedication), the Faith Commitment, Preparing for Adolescence, Commitment to Purity, Passage to Adulthood, High School Graduation and A Life in Christ.
In order for it to be most effective, it must be implemented by a fully integrated generational team. Each team member takes responsibility for their milestone and its accompanying programmatic elements. While some of these roles may overlap, the pastoral staff and volunteer servants must be dedicated to implementing the strategy as a team.
Pastor Hayes is very clear that implementing these milestones may require a paradigm shift. Sometimes a very significant shift. If you serve a church which has consciously chosen a more 'simple' relational path to ministry - focusing on Sundays, Service and Small Groups - choosing to implement this strategy will require the introduction of parent education events, including parent conferences and seminars, whole church events and the facilitation of family celebrations.
My one concern in reading the book, and it surfaced frequently, was what about our non-traditional families? Our single moms/dads, our infrequent attenders, our children who attend with friends and not their parents? How do we reach out to those families who do not meet our stereotypical expectations of what a 'church' family is? Especially when these milestones are so completely implemented within the walls of the church building itself?
I do love that he is so intentional about wanting to create opportunities to equip and support parents. This book is chock-full of really great ideas and I will admit that I am still processing it, turning possibilities over in my head.
Overall, I found it well worth the time and I'm looking forward to discussing possibilities with my own church leadership team.