What makes us open to mystery, to glimpses of the Transcendent in our daily lives? The power of the imagination, according to Sandra Levy -- a power that has been seriously depleted in today's postmodern culture. To address and redress this situation, Levy first explores how the imagination expresses itself -- through ritual, music, poetry, art, and story -- and then focuses on specific practices that can exercise and enrich our spiritual capacity, thus opening us up to divine encounter. Imagination and the Journey of Faith will speak to both those outside of a religious tradition and those in faith communities who wish to strengthen and deepen the imaginative power of their spiritual lives.
Much ministry to children looks more like mere entertainment than authentic spiritual formation. But what if children's ministries were rooted in a mind set whereby we taught children, with our words and actions, how the story of God, the story of church history, the story of the local community, and the story of the child intersect and speak to one another? What if children's ministry was less about downloading information into kids' heads and more about leading them into these powerful, compelling stories? Beckwith aims to help ministers and parents create a ministry that captures children's imaginations not just to keep them occupied, but to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. In addition to providing theological reasons for formational children's ministry, the book offers examples of how Ivy and other practitioners are implementing a formational model.
Sunday School That Works is a dynamic new resource designed specifically to help you strengthen and enrich your Sunday school ministry while maximizing what you’re already doing on Sundays.Overflowing with expert insights from more than 20 successful ministry leaders, this book guarantees practical solutions for every area of your Sunday school ministry. You’ll learn best tips, creative ideas, and powerful strategies from dynamic leaders including Christine Yount Jones, Dale Hudson, Holly Catterton Allen, Dan Webster, Gina McClain, Linda Ranson Jacobs, Pat Verbal, Amy Dolan, Ricardo Miller, Greg Baird, Patty Smith, Gordon and Becki West, Patrick Snow, and more. Sunday School That Works will equip you in your ministry with these key benefits... • Help for key areas of your Sunday school program including: • developing your Sunday leadership team • keeping kids safe and secure • building a learning philosophy for today's kids • growing your kids spiritually • targeting age-level and special needs ministry • reaching today's families • developing great public relations • meeting the needs of today's kids • and more! • Current insights on today's Sunday school! Experts actively working in the field offer you the most current insights and advice for what's happening in churches--and what's relevant to kids and families today. • Practical ideas that are proven to work! These fresh ideas really work--in actual Sunday school ministries. They've been tested and tweaked to guarantee success in today's churches! • Insights for every level of Sunday school! Whether you're a seasoned veteran or new to Sunday school ministry, you'll refer to this resource regularly for the help you need! Learn how to maximize your Sunday school ministry with Sunday School That Works! From the makers of Children's Ministry That Works which has helped leaders create dynamic and effective ministry programs for over 20 years
Experts develop a biblical theology for family ministry to help churches reach all types of families today, from traditional nuclear homes to single-parent, blended, and gay-partner families, and beyond.
The times are definitely changing. What was once simply referred to as a Nuclear Family in North America has morphed into labels such as Non-Traditional Families, Fragmented Families, Single-Parent Families, Gay-Partner Families, Blended Families, and beyond. "It may not always be pretty, but it is reality, and that's the intersection between biblical ideal and ministry practice," writes editor Michael J. Anthony in A Theology for Family Ministry. With thoroughly researched input from a broad team of family experts, the book advises church and ministry leaders on how to make biblically and philosophically informed choices when reaching out to adults and children within these shifting paradigms. Emphasis is placed on what the Scriptures teach about the composition of the home, followed by discerning and hopefilled strategies for helping all families live out their God-given mandates. "While the family may continue to change into models that bring discomfort and angst to some of us, we rest in the assurance that God has a plan for those who live in any of these new configurations of what we now call family," explains Anthony. Other contributors include Ken Canfield, Michelle D. Anthony, Karen E. Jones, Freddy Cardoza, Michael S. Lawson, Richard Melick Jr., Curt Hamner, Leon Blanchette, Gordon R. Coulter, James W. Thompson, Timothy Paul Jones, Randy Stinson, Kit Rae, and David Keehn.
In most churches, Christian education for children is run by enthusiastic volunteers from the worshipping community. But how much support and training do they receive? Do they get the opportunity to explore and apply principles of child development or current theories of faith development? And to what extent are they supported by their ministers and congregations with a clear focus on children's work? Including empirical research and drawing on the author's extensive experience of working with children, Faith in Children offers a window into the process going on inside our children and enables those who work with them to understand what makes a particular child 'tick'. With insights into a range of teaching methods, learning styles and the unique spirituality of children, this book suggests how adults can truly learn from children as they learn from us. There are tips for ministers and educators on how this precious teaching and nurturing resource can be sustained and used to work with children in a more effective manner. Through this increasing knowledge and understanding, adults can come closer to understanding children understanding God.
Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions provides a forum for prominent religious scholars to examine the state of religious knowledge and theological reflection on spiritual development in childhood and adolescence. Featuring essays from thinkers representing the world's major religious traditions, the book introduces new voices, challenges assumptions, raises new questions, and broadens the base of knowledge and investment in this important domain of life. It specifically and intentionally focuses on theological and philosophical perspectives from within religious traditions, creating space for the religious traditions to find their voices. Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality is firmly grounded in the language and priorities of religious studies, and helps stimulate explorations of whether and how religious communities are tapping their own wisdom and strengths in nurturing today's young people in a complex and changing world. Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality will set the stage for new waves of scholarship and dialogue within and across traditions, disciplines, and cultures that will enrich understanding and strengthen how the world's religious traditions, and others, understand and cultivate the spiritual lives of children and adolescents around the globe.
Exploring and Engaging Spirituality for Today's Children: A Holistic Approach answers questions about the most effective ways to help children, pre-teens, and teens develop spiritually. This collection of research gleaned from presentations during the Fourth Triennial Children's Spirituality Conference at Concordia University in 2012 is divided into four major sections: (1) theological and historical foundations, (2) engaging parents and congregations, (3) engaging methodologies, and (4) exploring children at risk, child pornography, social justice, intercultural diversity, and abstinence education. Researchers acknowledge that the home is the foundation for Christian nurture. In Exploring and Engaging Spirituality for Today's Children, both scholars and ministry leaders come together with parents to promote a holistic environment where children are encouraged to love, respect, and obey God. From birth to high school, children's voices resonate throughout these studies as they are invited to share their reflections and experiences. Exploring and Engaging Spirituality for Today's Children is a lively, easy-to-read collection that reflects a broad range of faith traditions and is ideal for all those who are committed to the spiritual development of children.
How does liturgy impact the formation of faith? The Protestant Church has traditionally emphasized human reason and doctrinal knowledge. But there is another method with great formative power--participation in liturgy. Human beings gain important knowledge not only through traditional, cognitively focused learning, but also through practice and participation. And because knowledge is wholistic, an inability to express an idea in language does not necessarily signify an absence of knowledge. This book shows how liturgy transmits knowledge that transcends human reason. We repeat the liturgy in weekly public worship, and its contents are inscribed on our minds and bodies. Contrary to common belief, this is also true for children and cognitively challenged individuals. They may be unable to verbally express the contents of their faith in a way that satisfies "normal" adult expectations, but these two groups of people are capable of rich religious experiences. This book explores how welcoming them into experience and practice of worship and sacrament can benefit children, cognitively challenged church members, their families, and the church community as a whole, and makes us all a more inclusive community in Christ.
Two children's spirituality experts draw on over a decade of field research to show how adults can effectively work with children to nurture their faith.
Enduring Connections gives churches and ministers significant guidelines for establishing a quality childhood ministry with preschoolers and grade-schoolers. Enduring Connections is especially helpful to ministers and directors of childhood ministry that are called from the laity to staff positions. By focusing on building a childhood ministry that intentionally connects children to God and the community of faith through paths that are driven by relationship rather than programs, Janice Haywood has produced a resource that will help churches of any size design their own unique ministry for children. A TCP Leadership Series title.
Story, Formation, and Culture brings together a myriad of scholars, researchers, and ministry leaders into conversation about how we can effectively nurture the spirituality of children. Built around the three themes of story, formation, and culture, this volume blends cutting-edge research and insights with attention to how we can bring theory into practice in our ministries with children. The work of children's spiritual formation is often a marginalized component in the church's overall ministry. This volume seeks to equip pastors, leaders, and scholars with cutting-edge research and practices that effectively strengthen their ministries with children.
The world is a confusing and painful place for children (and adults). How do you respond faithfully to your kids’ big questions? Learn to craft faithful conversations and be better prepared to talk about the tough stuff with your kids. More than 30 essays from a diverse group of young Christian parents/pastors address today’s toughest topics, including gender, race, bullying, mental illness, death, divorce, money, technology, and generosity. When Kids Ask Hard Questions invites you to take a deep breath, create safe spaces for the hard conversations, and speak the truth in love. Each chapter includes a resource list for further exploration.
This work presents an evangelical theology of the child nurtured in the context of American evangelicalism and affluence. It employs an eclectic theological-critical method to produce a theological anthropology of the affluent American-evangelical child (AAEC) through interdisciplinary evangelical engagement of American history, sociology, and economics. Sims articulates how affluence constitutes a significant impediment to evangelical nurture of the AAEC in the "discipline and instruction of the Lord." Thus, the problem he addresses is nurture in evangelical affluence, conceived as a theological-anthropological problem. Nurture in the cultural matrices of the evangelical affluence generated by technological consumer capitalism in the U.S. impedes spiritual and moral formation of the AAEC for discipleship in the way of the cross. This impediment risks disciplinary formation of the AAEC for capitalist culture, cultivates delusional belief that life consists in an abundance of possessions, and hinders the practice of evangelical liberation of the poor on humanity's underside. The result is the AAEC's spiritual-moral "lack" in late modernity. Chapter 1 introduces the problem of the AAEC. Chapters 2 and 3 provide a diachronic lens for the theological anthropology of the AAEC through critical assessment of the theological anthropologies of the child in Jonathan Edwards, Horace Bushnell, and Lawrence Richards. Chapters 4 and 5 constitute the synchronic perspective of the AAEC. Chapter 4 presents an evangelical sociology of the AAEC, drawing upon William Corsaro's theory of "interpretive reproductions," and chapter 5 constructs an evangelical theology of the AAEC through critical interaction with John Schneider's moral theology of affluence. Chapter 6, "Whither the AAEC?," concludes with a recapitulation of the work and a forecast of possible futures for the AAEC in the twenty-first century.
In every part of the world children lack cultural and social citizenship. They seem to be excluded from the basic standards of universal human rights. This is scandalous both morally and politically. Wyller, Nayar and their internationally renowned authors ask how to improve this situation. They agree that the world can expect religion to contribute to an improvement of children's rights and citizenship worldwide. Read this volume in order to find out how.
From brain science to language development and social skills, we've never known more about how children's minds develop in the first five years of life. Yet with all the information available, Christian parents may find themselves confused about how to apply these learnings to daily life with their children. In Little Steps, Big Faith, early childhood expert Dr. Dawn Rundman navigates the research to arrive at surprising insights about how very young children experience God, and how parents can use science to teach faith.
Talking with your child about sex can be scary! Sex + Faith helps parents incorporate their faith values with sexual information so they can answer questions, discuss sexuality at each stage of childhood, and show support of sexual differences. Section one explains how faith relates to sexuality and the essential role parents play in forming healthy, faithful, sexually educated children. The second section designates a chapter for four age groupings of children from infancy through high school. Each chapter explains the biological and developmental issues of the age, answers questions children tend to have, provides relevant Biblical and faith stories helpful to discuss with children of that age, and lists five to ten key educational issues for parents to keep in mind. Shaded text boxes are interspersed throughout the book with real life, practical questions that parents and children ask. Expertly written by Kate Ott, Sex + Faith is an easy to use reference guide for parents of kids of all ages.
Salvation is the finished work of God through Christ’s death and resurrection, given freely along with the faith to receive it. But the daily working-out of faith in the trenches and choices of life can be hard work. Suitable for devotional use, the short readings in Real Faith is Hard Work are a collection of the author’s thought-provoking blogposts, combining truth from God’s Word with stories and practical examples to encourage you in various aspects of your walk of faith. “Michelle’s succinct and articulate reflections share truth with clarity, making me want to read, reflect, reread, and keep applying what she writes. She has gained a heart of wisdom by journeying with the Lord throughout her life, shining a bright light for us all and providing the shovel so I can dig deeper into my heart.” —Karen Farris, Blogger at Friday Tidings “Michelle has an honest and real approach, and she clings to the Word of God as her anchor. Her maturity in Christ and love for his Word are contagious.” —Lydia Sanders, Pastor’s wife / Women’s Ministry leader
This book, now in its second edition, brings together the best available understandings of human development from a multidisciplinary perspective. Uniquely inclusive of the moral and faith dimensions of context and life-cycle development, Human Development and Faith examines the interplay of mind, body, family, community, and soul at every stage of development. It addresses two central questions: What are the "good-enough" conditions of parenting, family, and community in each phase of life, from birth to death, that support growth and development? What gives life adequate meaning as development proceeds? If human development describes the normative and hoped-for passages of life, then faith provides the necessary component of meaning. Throughout the various perspectives offered in this volume is the premise that faith is that quality of living that makes it possible to fully live.The Journal of Pastoral Theology called the first edition of Human Development and Faith "an excellent text for pastoral theology courses, because it fulfills its ambitious goal of bringing a holistic faith perspective to the usual topics of development." This second edition includes a new chapter on infancy, updates reflecting our growing awareness of cultural diversity, and a new preface.
Nearly twenty percent of adolescents have developmental disabilities, yet far too often they are marginalized within churches. Amplifying Our Witness challenges congregations to adopt a new, practice-centered approach to congregational ministry -- one that includes and amplifies the witness of adolescents with developmental disabilities. Replete with stories taken from Benjamin Conner's own extensive experience with befriending and discipling adolescents with developmental disabilities, Amplifying Our Witness Shows how churches exclude the mentally disabled in various structural and even theological ways Stresses the intrinsic value of kids with developmental disabilities Reconceptualizes evangelism to adolescents with developmental disabilities, emphasizing hospitality and friendship.