Passing the Baton (Book Review)

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“If you’re a parent, you want your child to have a growing friendship with Jesus. And if you’re a Christian education leader, you want parents to be successful! But what do parents do? What do they say? Where do they start?”
That’s where Passing the Baton steps in as a ten week church or parent devotional plan for leading your children to a life with Jesus. Written by Grant Edwards of First Steps Ministry, it is a step by step guide to give the children in your life the basics of becoming a lifelong Christ-follower.
Each session takes about 45 minutes, but offers “extras” to extend the lessons. A learning styles chart describes different learning styles and helps parents choose which “extras” best reach their child and maximize retention of the material.
The encouragement in the first chapter alone is worth the purchase price. It states that children are not too young to do real ministry. “When people enter into a relationship with him, he meets them where they are –even if they’re in elementary school.” “You won’t teach your child theology or nail down doctrine in the next 10 weeks, but you will encourage a loving relationship with Jesus and keep your focus on your child’s relationship with Jesus.” I could keep going, but would quote most of the chapter!
The lessons are experiential, and tactile, so they stick with kids. The examples and guidance given to parents before the lesson really help them to be prepared to disciple their child.
The extras add real learning as well as family fun. I especially liked the movie ideas with a “connection” to the lesson of the week. Some of the movies are PG and not appropriate for little ones, but could keep a 13 year old boy interested in devotions and family time. There are also games, art activities, and hikes. Each chapter includes a scrapbooking activity if you choose to remember your experience that way.
At first, I was confused as to the “church” portion of the experience. I felt that there wasn’t a clear guideline as to exactly what the church is supposed to do to help mentor the parents. It seemed there was very little to do, and then I realized that that is beauty of the experience! As a busy church leader, there is very little that needs to be done! Leaders host an opening party that is completely scripted and very simple in design, and encourages the parent in the journey. Then you pray, pray, and pray. Once in a while you send an email of encouragement or make a phone call to check in. Then, you hold a final celebration at the end. Wow!
The only concern I would have would be that too many parents will lean on the script too much and then it becomes a dry reading. If we are teaching about relationship, it is very important to disciple in relationship. I would strongly, very strongly, encourage parents to study the lesson and try to summarize the script so it becomes conversation with the child as opposed to reading to them. Approached in this manner will make it a winning relay.
Pass the Baton is available at Group.com for $14.99 and currently on sale at amazon.com for $11.69.


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