The best Christian books for building faith through intergenerational experiences

Who am I?

I’ve had the joy of “making disciples” for a long time. From the time I became a Christian while in college, to raising my own sons as disciples, to 15 years of work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on secular campuses, to the last third of my life as a Professor of Bible and Theology at a Christian University, I have responded to Jesus’ Great Commission to “make disciples” with both the joys and sorrows that calling includes. I have experienced the richness of intergenerational congregations that my pastor-husband has led, and seen our sons grow and mature as Christians through “parenting in the pew” before it was a book!


I wrote...

Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship

By Robbie Castleman,

Book cover of Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship

What is my book about?

Robbie Castleman believes that Sunday morning isn't a success if she has only managed to keep the kids quiet. And she knows there's more to church for kids than trying out their new coloring books. Children are at church for the same reason as their parents: for the privilege of worshiping God.

Worship, Castleman writes, is "the most important thing you can ever train your child to do." So with infectious passion, nitty-gritty advice, and a touch of humor, she shows you how to help your children (from toddlers to teenagers) enter into worship.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Grandparenting Effect

Robbie Castleman Why did I love this book?

Let's get 'RE&AL' about grandparenting is the mantra of The Grandparenting Effect: 'Relationally Engaged' and 'Always Listening'! Well-documented research, thoughtful advice, engaging stories from a wide variety of grandparenting situations, helpful chapter summaries, ideas for grandchildren from toddlers to adults--plus prayers and bridge stories as well as timely help for conversations with grandchildren about race and cultural differences--this is an insightful and practical book for grandparents (volunteers, too!), pastors, and church educators to bridge the generational gap with wisdom and joy!

By Trevecca Okholm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grandparenting Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whatever life gives you and wherever life takes you, there is always a story. Life and relationships all begin and are sustained in the context of a story. This is not a how-to-do-it-right book as much as it is a book of stories—personal stories from the author, biblical stories, and stories of ordinary grandparents and grandchildren who have been willing to share their own stories with which you may be able to identify and be encouraged in your own adventures of grandparenting. This is a book for everyone that either has biological grandchildren or has the potential to influence the…


Book cover of Bridging Theory and Practice in Children's Spirituality: New Directions for Education, Ministry, and Discipleship

Robbie Castleman Why did I love this book?

This book builds a well-constructed bridge from biblical foundations and educational theories to a multitude of practices in which every person in a congregation is involved in the Christian discipleship of children. The team of diverse writers are bridge builders who have crossed this bridge many times as insightful teachers and well-tested practitioners. From engaging children with age-sensitive and creative ideas for dealing with the ABC's of the gospel to often-neglected areas of children's ministry like grief, disappointment, and racial prejudice, this book will help educators, teachers, leaders, and volunteers in children's ministry give children a head start at lifelong discipleship.

By Mimi L. Larson (editor), Robert J. Keeley (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bridging Theory and Practice in Children's Spirituality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bridging Theory and Practice in Children's Spirituality explores the different contexts, methods, and situations that influence and foster a child's spirituality and faith development. Through a blend of theoretical understanding held in tension with practical application, it equips those who are in, or being prepared for, the varied contexts where children are spiritually formed.

It represents a broad range of Christian expression writing from a Christ-centered perspective that furthers the conversation about the next steps in children's spirituality and faith development. Moving beyond the basics of faith nurture and what makes for effective ministry, this resource deepens our understanding of…


Book cover of Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship

Robbie Castleman Why did I love this book?

This book is for pastors, lay leaders and professional church educators, and students who want to model congregational life on the kingdom of God instead of marketing strategies designed to appeal to generational narcissism based on individual preference. This is one book that will both encourage and equip congregations to be less 'conformed to the world,' less prone to say, 'I have no need for you.' This is a book that argues persuasively from solid research, as well as the biblical mandate, for congregations to really 'love one another.' This book is honest about the costly demands of intentional intergenerational development as well as its rich rewards.

By Holly Catterton Allen, Christine Lawton Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intergenerational Christian Formation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts." -Psalm 145:4
Most churches and faith communities segment their ministries by age and generation. The kids go to children's church, the teens go to youth group. Worship services are geared toward different generational preferences, and small groups gather people at the same life stage, whether singles, young marrieds, parents, or empty nesters. In some congregations, people may never interact with those of other ages.
But it was not always so. Throughout biblical tradition and the majority of history, communities of faith included people of all ages together…


Book cover of Faith on the Edge: Daring to Follow Jesus

Robbie Castleman Why did I love this book?

This multi-author book is a terrific resource for older teens and college students to navigate “growing up” well and maturing in their own faith commitment and practices. Chapters offer good advice and the reasons behind the advice for faith challenges, dealing with failure, forgiving parents as a part of loving them, finding a new congregation for worship, work, and witness, as well as dealing with sexuality, morals, justice issues, vision for missions, and creation care and much more! This book is a practical as well as a biblically faithful guide for the transformation of a lifetime as children empty the nest into adulthood. I give this book as a graduation gift to every high-schooler I know!

By Paul Tokunaga (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faith on the Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to live for Jesus but struggle with what that means day by day? The deep desire of our hearts to be close to God is so easily sidetracked by daily realities. This book is designed to cover the areas of faith and life that you most want to bring together under God's leadership: decision-making dating and relationships racial reconciliation suffering experiencing God loving your parents emotional healing time management everyday evangelism hope for times of failure Following Jesus is a wild and wonderful journey. It is perhaps the riskiest choice you will ever make. And the most…


Book cover of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society

Robbie Castleman Why did I love this book?

This is simply the best book on biblical discipleship I have ever read, and I have read it multiple times in disciplining my own children, grandchildren as well as the college students I have taught for many years. The book is a devotional commentary based on the “Psalms of Ascent”, Psalm 120—134. These psalms are pilgrim songs to sing throughout a lifetime, as we journey from where we are and who we are, to being “brought to completion” as mature disciples of the Lord Jesus. This book is as honest as the psalms themselves dealing with both the hazards of the journey in times and places with people who are hostile to faith as well as the discouragements and confusion all God’s people experience when disappointed by God, emptied of hope and asking, “is this journey worth it?” Peterson’s pastoral heart and poignant wisdom in this book is a priceless walking stick to help believers journey well in one direction to the glory that awaits.

By Eugene H. Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Long Obedience in the Same Direction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since Eugene Peterson first wrote this spiritual formation classic nearly forty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been inspired by its call to deeper discipleship. As a society, we are still obsessed with the immediate; new technologies have only intensified our quest for the quick fix. But Peterson's time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same-a long obedience in the same direction. Following Jesus in this way requires a deepening life of prayer, and throughout history Christians have learned to pray from the Psalms. Peterson finds encouragement for today's pilgrims in the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134), sung by…


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At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

Book cover of At What Cost, Silence?

Karen Lynne Klink Author Of At What Cost, Silence?

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Child abuse survivor Reader Adventure traveler Animal lover

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Secrets, misunderstandings, and a plethora of family conflicts abound in this historical novel set along the Brazos River in antebellum Washington County, East Texas.

It is a compelling story of two neighboring plantation families and a few of the enslaved people who serve them. These two plantations are a microcosm of a country on the brink of war, encompassing a variety of issues: love and friendship between men, relationships between fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, slavery, and the position of women in society.

At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

What is this book about?

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears-but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob's betrayal of Adrien's trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien's wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres,…


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