The best books for building faith through intergenerational experiences

Robbie Castleman Author Of Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship
By Robbie Castleman

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.

The books I picked & why

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The Grandparenting Effect

By Trevecca Okholm,

Book cover of The Grandparenting Effect

Why 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!

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

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

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

Why 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.

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

By Holly Catterton Allen, Christine Lawton Ross,

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

Why 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.

Faith on the Edge: Daring to Follow Jesus

By Paul Tokunaga (editor),

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

Why 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!

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

By Eugene H. Peterson,

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

Why 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.

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