Build On Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide to Gospel-Based Children's Ministry

Deepak Reju and Marty Machowski
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Anyone who has tried it, even for a day, knows that children's ministry is challenging. Pastors Deepak Reju and Marty Machowski have been in your shoes and they want to help. Drawing on decades of family ministry experience, they have a passion to help children's ministry directors, pastors, and volunteers remember the "why" of children's ministry and gain a fresh vision for the "how" of effective discipleship and proactive nurturing of the next generation.

As you recruit volunteers, organize materials, set up safety policies, and manage the many needs that come your way, you may feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and wonder if your ministry is even effective. Reju and Machowski have a passion to help those involved in children's ministry remember that it's more than just providing safe childcare so that parents can attend worship services; it's about raising up faithful believers who love the Lord, stand firm in the gospel, treasure Scripture, and have a heart for others. These goals can only be met if the whole church is committed to prioritizing time and energy into disciple-making and sets proactive policies for children's safety.

Readers will learn about highlighting Bible-based content, recruiting church members, planning for emergencies, and partnering with parents. Build On Jesus equips ministry leaders with the right priorities, people, and practicalities needed for fruitful nurturing and care of the youngest disciples in the church.


Deepak Reju, MDiv, PhD, serves as senior pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and a trustee for the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation. He is the author of several books and articles, including On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church, She's Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle, and The Pastor and Counseling, and is coauthor of Build on Jesus. Deepak and his wife, Sarah, have been married since 2001 for twenty years and have five children.

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of a number of family devotionals, curriculums (including the Gospel Story for Kids), children's books, and parenting titles. His latest releases include WonderFull, God Made Me for Heaven, Brave and Bold, and Build on Jesus (coauthored with Deepak Reju). He and his wife, Lois, have six children and several grandchildren, and reside in West Chester, PA.

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"As individuals and as the church, we must invest our energy into raising, shaping, and preparing our children for a life of service to God and humanity. Whether you're a children's ministry veteran or a newbie, a senior pastor or a concerned parent, this book is filled with practical insights for improving the way we shepherd the next generation."
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family

"Build on Jesus is simply superb. It needs to be read by every church leader who shepherds the people of God. In this book, Pastors Reju and Machowski properly position the vital importance of children's ministry in the local church. It is not to be viewed as something secondary and nonessential—it is to be at the very heart of the Bible teaching and discipleship ministries of the church. I wish a book like this have been written decades ago. Thankfully, it has arrived!"
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"The title and subtitle this book say it all and say it well. I've never seen a more thorough, helpful, insightful, practical, and Christ-centered book on children's ministry. Whether you are just beginning a children's ministry or looking to improve an existing one, whether your church is large or small, whether you are a pastor or a layperson, whether you have a paid staff member overseeing the children's ministry or staff it with volunteers only, whether you have many people in your church ministering to children or only a few—this book is for you. I cannot imagine any church or any children's worker who wouldn't find this book immensely useful."
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY; author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Praying the Bible,and Family Worship

"Every church wants an effective children's ministry, but implementing one is easier said than done. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. In Build on Jesus, Deepak Reju and Marty Machowski distill decades of experience into a practical guide for building a culture marked by excellence and molded by gospel grace. As a new pastor, I am immensely grateful for this resource and will be handing it to every children's ministry leader at our church."
Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition; planting pastor, River City Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; author of Deacons and Before You Open Your Bible

"In a post-Christian environment, we must not be casual about evangelizing and discipling the next generation. The need is urgent. I assure you the enemy is not casual in his intent to wound and destroy our children. This book is already helping me refocus and reprioritize how we love and lead the precious children in our church to a rich, vibrant faith in Jesus."
Bob Lepine, Teaching Pastor, Redeemer Community Church, Little Rock; cohost of FamilyLife Today

"Deepak and Marty's Build on Jesus is a great foundational resource for building a Christ-centered children's ministry. Theologically astute and sensible, this book is a great summary of what children's ministry should be all about. Applying these principles will help your children grow in Christian discipleship in a safe environment. The appendices are extremely helpful in developing a child protection policy that will ensure that your church is equipped to care for the most vulnerable in your congregation: your children."
Jeff Dalrymple, Executive Director, Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention

"Deepak and Marty share a message that resonates deeply, one that the church needs to hear more than ever: children matter and so does children's ministry. Build on Jesus is weighty yet accessible, comprehensive yet succinct. From the purpose of children's ministry, to leadership roles, to ways to teach and protect children, this book provides ideal help for those new to ministry and is a valuable refresher for those who are seasoned."
Brian Dembowczyk, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project; author of Cornerstones: 200 Questions and Answers to Learn Truth and Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry

"When I was a children's and family pastor, I benefited greatly from Marty and Deepak's biblical resources, and I highly recommend Build on Jesus. This isn't one of those pragmatic, entertainment-driven, or church-growth kinds of books. It's a doctrinally strong, biblically-based, gospel-centered guide by two experienced shepherds that is well worth your time. If you are involved in children's ministry, then you need to buy this book. Better yet, buy three copies and give one to your team and senior pastor. You will be glad you did!"
Josh Mulvihill, Author of 50 Things Every Child Needs to Know Before Leaving Home

"Written by two seasoned family pastors, Build on Jesus is a perceptive portrayal of the blessings and challenges of ministry to children. Their book is engaging and replete with wise counsel gleaned from real life situations. This much-needed book will help children's ministry leaders set priorities, care for the people in children's ministry, and find practical guidance."
David and Sally Michael, Cofounders of Truth78

"Build on Jesus has a biblical foundation and includes ready-to-implement counsel for ministries and classrooms. But the strength of this book is Marty and Deepak's conviction that God uses people—pastors, the children's minister, church members, and parents—to proclaim his glory to the next generation. This focus is why I'll be reading Build on Jesus with children's ministry leaders for many years."
Jared Kennedy, Managing Editor of Gospel-Centered Family; author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible and Keeping Your Children's Ministry on Mission.

"What a great handbook for children's ministry! Build on Jesus is practical, spiritual, and an easy read. The authors give clear guidance for creating a ministry that is effective, sensible, safe, and fun. This book will be a great resource to those new to children's ministry and a great checkup for veteran children's ministers."
Annette Safstrom, Coauthor of Sustainable Children's Ministry; senior consultant, Ministry Architects

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2 Reviews

  • 5
    Essential Read for Children's Ministry Directors

    Posted by Leslie Cheyne on 05 04 2022

    Thank you Deepak and Marty; I cannot rate "Build on Jesus" high enough! This is an essential read for all Children's Ministry Directors or leaders within Children's Ministry. I am a team leader for Children's Ministry in our Church Plant, and "Build on Jesus" was the exact encouragement and practical instruction I needed! It truly is a comprehensive guide to Gospel-based Children's ministry. It is enjoyable and encouraging to read with practical application and clear instruction. The entire Children's Ministry Leadership Team of our church plant has read through this book together, and we read through Chapter 4 with our Lead Pastor and Elder over Children's. This book, along with Deepak's book, "On Guard", is helping our Church to build and gospel-centered and safety-minded foundation that is focused on teaching the great truth of the Gospel to the next generation! I am so grateful to Marty Machowski for his many books, family devotionals and curriculums as well! They are all SO WONDERFUL!

  • 5
    A Must Read

    Posted by Heather Bendele on 11 09 2021

    I have found this book so encouraging! Its almost like I feel these men were sitting in front of me giving this encouragement.. I am the children's ministry director at our church and this book has been so encouraging! I look forward to finishing it & referencing it often! I love the gospel basis in it very essential to all that we do. We purchased a copy for all the teachers in our children's ministry. If you are a children's ministry director or a parent or a teacher in children's ministry or anyone that attends a church and wants to know how to pray for the kids and parents and pastor this book would be a great encouragement for you.. A must read!

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