Book Review, Children, Gospel Spirituality, Redeemer Church


Periodically I do a little book review in order to equip readers for the practical works of service the Lord provides each of us (Ephesians 4:12). Parents, particularly fathers, we are called to pastor the hearts of their children. Long before there were church buildings and paid pastoral staff and organized Sunday School programmes, children had parents who taught them the truths of God’s Word and how to faithfully live according to those truths (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Today I want to share with you a resource that has blessed my family as well as how we use the book.


“The Ology” is written by Marty Machowski and is beautifully illustrated by Andy McGuire. If you are familiar with Systematic Theologies then you will recognize that the book is organized along traditional Systematic Theology categories. It is divided into 11 sections spanning 71 chapters. The chapters are only a couple of pages long. The sections include “The Ology” of: God, People, Sin, Promise and the Law, Christ, Holy Spirit, Adoption into God’s Family, Change, Church, End Times, and God’s Word.


I love its intentionality to grab the larger redemptive message of the Bible. It is helpful that each chapter is only one to two pages in length, thus can be read in just a couple of minutes. The Adoption section is a strength because it helps children understand what the gospel accomplishes in our lives. My favorite section is the seven chapters on Change. This book explains spiritual growth and sanctification from a distinctively biblical approach as well as a gospel-grounded approach. Children, like adults, need to know how to live faithfully as well as what to do when they mess up.


After our two children bathe, brush teeth, and get into PJs we give 15 to 20 minutes to praying, talking, reading, and singing. We vary our reading, but lately it has been to read a biblical type reading (like “The Ology”) then something fun. Our readings stir up good conversation, but we also take time to simply take about their days. I then pray for the kids, and my wife sings with them. Most nights I spend time with the children separately but some evenings I gather both of them together. It can feel chaotic at times and some nights we skip, but I have to admit that it is my favorite part of my day.


Last Spring I began reading “The Ology” with my 7-year-old daughter during our bedtime routine. She reports that she loves the pictures. McGuire provides truly beautiful illustrations. Apparently my daughter is concentrating as I read because she said that she loves the “detail” of his pictures. The way Machowski explains complex ideas is also a highlight for her. My daughter told me that she gets into each little explanation and really understands what he is saying. Finally, my 7-year-old also said she loves the verses he provides in each chapter.

Even as I write these words I am blown away by the impact this little book has had on my little girl. I cherish these biblical truths and I cherish time discussing them with my daughter. Dads, especially if you have a preschooler or a young elementary student, I commend to you “The Ology.”

Children, Church, Redeemer Church

Shepherds for Your Children

God has given children two institutions to shepherd their hearts, their home and their church.  Understanding this truth has revolutionized how I parent my kids as well as understand my role as a pastor.


Many parents struggle living in the balance of the poles of church and home.  Some parents rightly understand that they have the primary responsibility of raising up their children in the faith, but go so far as to believe they are their only shepherds.  Some parents rightly try to get their children involved in church, but struggle with their role and responsibilities at home.  Some of these parents can go so far as think that they don’t have much responsibility in fostering their children’s spiritual lives thinking it is the church’s job.  A better understanding of the relationship between the home and church is needed.

Parents are to raise up their children in the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 says that fathers are to bring their children up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  I would argue that God desires for parents, not the church, to be the primary shepherds of their children.  But, pastors have the solemn and intimidating task of keeping watch over the souls in their church (Hebrews 13:17).  These souls include the souls of the children in their church.  I would argue that even though parents should be the primary shepherds of their children’s souls, they are not the exclusive shepherds.

Redeemer Church is striving to live within this balance.  We are making our ministry to children a priority.  The pastors of this church are heavily invested in the ministry to children.  We are creating safe and fun environments for our kids, but we aren’t satisfied with just good childcare.  We are working diligently to foster their faith through gospel-centered biblical lessons.  We went so far as to bring in Josh Yen as our Associate Pastor largely based upon his successful experience ministering to children.  We are also working to provide resources to help parents shepherd their kiddos.  Finally, the pastors are striving to create a culture in our church where we encourage men to shepherd the hearts of their children.

All of these efforts drive toward our goal of seeing moms and dads pastor the little guys that God has brought into their lives.  We know that the biggest influencers and heroes in the lives of your kids are you!  Kids will model what their parents do not just want they say.  Studies show that kid’s perception of their heavenly Father is largely based upon their experience with their earthly father.  We know we will never be perfect, but will led our parents to shepherd the hearts of their kids as well as own our responsibility of being a church that ministers the gospel to children.