Helping Our Children Grow in Faith

How the Church Can Nurture the Spiritual Development of Kids

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You can guide children to a deeper, life-long faith

Whether you are a Sunday school teacher, volunteer, leader, or parent, you and your church play a vital role in nurturing children's faith. In this practical book, you will find six principles for fostering the kind of three-dimensional faith that affects a child's head, heart, and spirit. Glean from both theory and theology to explore how to

Helping Our Children Grow in Faith offers great ideas for turning your church into a child-friendly community--a place where children develop faith that affects every aspect of their lives.


"Helping Our Children Grow in Faith offers a thoughtful, accessible, and practical introduction to the basic building blocks of effective ministries with children. Robert J. Keeley takes seriously children and their spiritual development, challenging congregations to move beyond simplistic approaches that don't fully engage children. In the process, he invites leaders to transform congregations to become communities where children are included, loved, valued, and nurtured by a whole community of caring Christians."--Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, co-director, Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence Search Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Drawing on his rich experience as a Children's Ministry Director, Dr. Keeley offers practical suggestions for welcoming children into the faith community as authentic participants. He envisions church as a 'child-friendly culture,' an environment healthy for the spiritual growth of children. And he points the way to forming such a community."--Cathy Stonehouse, dean, School of Practical Theology and Orlean Bullard Beeson Professor of Christian Discipleship, Asbury Theological Seminary

"I loved this book! Robert Keeley points us in the right direction for building a ministry strategy with children. It is a delight to find someone with a clear vision of how the entire life of the church needs to be developed if we want our children to have a healthy, growing faith in Jesus Christ. This is a 'must read' for every children's pastor and lay leader who cares about the spiritual nurture of children."--Dr. Kevin E. Lawson, director, PhD and EdD programs in Educational Studies, Talbot School of Theology; editor, Christian Education Journal

"'Biblical,' 'practical,' and 'scholarly' is one way to describe Robert J. Keeley's book. 'Warm,' 'gentle,' and 'encouraging' are another set of descriptors. Helping Our Children Grow in Faith weaves personal experience with scholarly research and biblical perspectives in offering pastors, parents, and church educators practical wisdom while gently challenging them to consider new ways to offer children a rich, vibrant faith. This would be an excellent study book for parents or a church's Christian education committee."--George Brown, Jr., G.W. and Eddie Haworth Professor of Christian Education; associate dean, Western Theological Seminary

"Helping Our Children Grow in Faith is an engaging look at the opportunities and challenges of nurturing children's faith. Professor Keeley's clear explanation of faith nurture and thoughtful examination of the role of parents and congregations in the process is a refreshing invitation for the church to reprioritize its children's ministry."--Darwin Glassford, associate professor of Church Education; director of MA Programs, Calvin Theological Seminary

"Christians love their children deeply and are concerned for their growth, especially their growth in faith. For that reason Robert J. Keeley gifts us with a delightful, helpful, and accessible book for parents and children's ministry leaders. Helping Our Children Grow in Faith is an excellent resource for shoring up children's growth in faith. It also is an entry point for exploring the burgeoning field of resources available that address the faith and spiritual life of children."--Scottie May, professor, Department of Christian Formation and Ministry Wheaton College

"Keeley has done us all a great service and made very insightful material available. I've always wanted our children to grow in faith, and I've worked hard at it. But now I understand better how it happens, what it takes, and how one stage is different from another. Growing their faith won't happen without growing a church in which they can grow. This book will take you inside the church by taking you inside the process of forming a child's faith!"--Howard Vanderwell, Resource Development Specialist, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

"Robert Keeley combines biblical grounding, educational research, and much experience to create this down-to-earth guide. Readers will find here not only practical advice but also a wise proposal about changing our congregational cultures in ways that benefit young and old. Above all, readers will be inspired by the deep love and respect for children shining through this book."--Debra Rienstra, associate professor of English, Calvin College

"Though this book includes lots of specific 'we could do that' ideas, it is mainly a sweeping vision book. I'd buy it for a parent or committee member who is new to children's ministry or for one who has 'done it all' and needs to remember what it's all about."--Carolyn Brown, children's ministry consultant and author

The Author

  1. Robert J. Keeley

    Robert J. Keeley

    Robert J. Keeley is a professor of education at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and codirector, with his wife, Laura, of children's ministries at Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.

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"Helping Our Children Grow in Faith offers thoughtful, practical, and well researched advice on how to cultivate a sustainable, life-long faith in children. . . . Drawing on a wealth of practical experience, [Keeley] offers wise counsel on how to implement his vision into the life of the local church. . . . There is much to commend in Helping Our Children Grow in Faith. Keeley's ability to integrate biblical scholarship with models of childhood development in a way that is easily accessible to the church leaders is impressive. He offers a fresh vision for children's ministry well-suited for our current cultural context."--Josh Swanson, Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care