The Main Idea:

The ministries of the church must partner with and equip families for discipleship within the family. Here are clearly defined and simple principles and processes, called Legacy Milestones, that Bryan Haynes implemented in his home and church to accomplish that goal.

The Good:

This book is concise, clear, thorough, and practical in laying out a strategy for the church to equip and encourage parents for family ministry.

The Bad:

Very little – this is an excellent text. I had a minor quibble with his perspective on Sunday evening church programming

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, but he wasn’t overly dogmatic about it, nor is it at all vital to his process.

Brian Haynes, author of Shift and now pastor of Bay Area First Baptist Church

The Rest:

Shift is another book dealing with the current movement in age-graded ministries to recognize the priority of discipleship happening primarily in the home. Check out D6 [website] or Orange [website | my review] for similar perspectives. Brian Haynes, as others have done, points to Deuteronomy 6 and similar themes in the Bible to show the Biblical model for discipling children – a home that is intentional and immersive in Biblical principles. He also, as others have done, points to the great disparity of time that children spend in church programming compared to their time in the home. Both of these ideas are correct and convincing, and I am in complete accord that ministers that want to effectively and consistently grow families into Christ must place a high priority on equipping parents for consistent and pervasive home ministry.

Where this book excels, however, is in its clear focus on a practical and effective process for making that transition in a church. Haynes spent the time to consider obstacles, strategize with a team, and implement within the family ministry of his church a step-by-step comprehensive plan that encouraged and equipped parents for this ministry. He calls this program Legacy Milestones. After introducing it in a couple of chapters, he spends the rest of the text stepping through each discipleship milestone in the life of a child/adult in his church.

Here is some of the basic terminology in his book (42-47)…

Milestone – a significant point of progression that every believer experiences in their relationship with Christ

Core Competencies – a person’s understanding of key spiritual truths that define their progression from one milestone to the next

Faith Talks – Intentional and scheduled once-a-week times for parents to have spiritual talks/instruction with their family.

God Sightings – less formal everyday opportunities for parents to seize to teach children about God

Church Events – regular planned events that reinforce or celebrate milestones, providing opportunities for teaching or celebrating a milestone achieved

Parent Summit Conference – Twice-yearly conference that teaches about the milestones, encourages parents, and breaks down information about each specific milestone to equip the parents to lead their kids

Parent Seminars – targeted seminars to educate, encourage, and equip parents with information and resources needed for leading their kids through and to a specific milestone.

Family Celebrations – suggested home events that families can enact that recognize and reinforce a child’s growth through the milestones

Take-Home Sunday – Particular Sundays that the small group lessons throughout the church are targeted toward informing about and encouraging the Milestones strategy.

Just that brief explanation gives you a good overview of the comprehensive thought that went into preparing this strategy. While the best source of information would be reading the book, you can get a lot of further information on individual milestones and their resources from the excellent Legacy Milestones website.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for the minister that wants to maximize a lasting spiritual impact on the children in their ministry.

Haynes, Brian. Shift: What It Takes To Finally Reach Families Today. Loveland, CO.: Group Publishing, Inc., 2009. 139 pp. $10.08.