Children s Spirituality Conference: Christian Perspectives

5th Triennial Conference June 12 – 14, 2016 Lipscomb University Nashville, Tennessee Children’s Spirituality Conference: Christian Perspectives ...
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5th Triennial Conference June 12 – 14, 2016 Lipscomb University Nashville, Tennessee

Children’s Spirituality Conference: Christian Perspectives

Table of Contents Welcome from conference planning team .......................................


Welcome from Lipscomb University ................................................


Schedule ............................................................................................ 2-3 Our plenary speakers ........................................................................ 4 Our panel participants ....................................................................... 5 Schedule of seminars/papers and workshops ................................. 6-9

Breakout Session #1: Monday 10:15 – 11:45 ................................. 6

Breakout Session #2: Monday 3:45 – 5:15 ................................... 7

Breakout Session #3: Tuesday 8:45 – 10:15 ................................. 8

Breakout Session #4: Tuesday 10:30 – 12:00 ............................... 9

Ministry model descriptions ............................................................ 10-11 Scholarship award winners ............................................................... 12 Conference planning team (SCS Board of Directors*) .................... 13 Exhibitors ........................................................................................... 14 Abstracts of seminars/papers by presenter’s last name ................. 15-27 * The Society for Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives


Welcome to the 2016 Children’s Spirituality Conference: Christian Perspectives We are delighted you are joining us for the fifth Children’s Spirituality Conference. This unique conference of scholars and practitioners is gathering for the first time at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. The first four conferences, which met at Concordia University Chicago in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012, have contributed significantly over the past fifteen years to the emerging interdisciplinary field of children’s spirituality. The Society for Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives ( is a national organization of academics and thoughtful practitioners dedicated to promoting informed practice regarding children's spirituality. Lipscomb University’s Institute for Christian Spirituality ( joins us as the conference convener. Our Society represents a broad range of Christian faith traditions. The primary goals are to encourage research on children’s spirituality and to create a gathering space to share such research in order to better understand children’s spirituality, ultimately influencing how schools, parents, churches, and parachurch organizations nurture children spiritually. We are pleased you have joined us. God has been preparing your heart to receive what you need to bless the children He has given into your care. This place and this time is for you; the conversations and experiences you have on this campus—the workshops, seminars, ministry models, the plenary speakers, and the informal gatherings—are divine appointments designed to strengthen, inspire, and equip you for your work with children in God’s kingdom. Holly Catterton Allen, Ph.D., President Society for Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives

Welcome from Lipscomb University and the Institute for Christian Spirituality Welcome to Lipscomb University! We are grateful for your presence with us and for your interest in the spirituality of children. We hope that everything about your experience here will be enjoyable and enriching, facilitating new relationships, perspectives, and growth. You are our honored guests. The Institute of Christian Spirituality (ICS) is very pleased to co-sponsor the 5th Triennial Children's Spirituality Conference. The purpose of ICS is to nurture the spirituality of Christian leaders in middle Tennessee and beyond. As Jesus honored children, so ICS desires to honor children by providing a nurturing space for leaders whose vocation includes children. Our mission is to facilitate spiritual vibrancy and you are an important part of how the Spirit of God vitalizes the world today. During our time together, please ask for whatever you need in order for you to gain the most from this experience. There has been much preparation for this time—not only by the various presenters who come from afar and by the workers here on campus—but also by God in all of our lives. There are timely gifts for you here. So, now that you are here, we invite you to slow down, be present, and savor the goodness that God will open up for us. Kris Miller, Ph.D., Director The Institute of Christian Spirituality Lipscomb University


2016 Conference Program Schedule SUNDAY June 12

Exhibits open 2:30 – 7:00

Ezell South Lobby 3:00 – 7:00 Registration table open Ezell 301 5:15 – 6:45 7:00 – 7:45

7:45 – 8:35

Buffet Dinner (prepaid reservations for meal required; meals may be purchased until June 6 at ) Dr. Holly Allen Welcome Dr. Kris Miller Blessing and prayer over the conference Dr. Robert Keeley and Katy Bowser & Flo Paris (Rain for Roots) Worship Dr. Holly Allen Brief discussion of working definition of children’s spirituality Dr. Chris Boyatzis Introduce Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King Main Session #1: Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King Kids and God: Nurturing Spirituality and the Ability to Thrive

8:35 – 8:50 Dr. Chris Boyatzis Response to Dr. King 8:50 – 9:00 Dr. Shirley Morgenthaler Preview of late night discussion groups 9:00 – 10:00 Late night discussion groups − Late night with Dr. Pamela King; Ezell 211 − Late night with Dr. Robbie Castleman; Ezell 232 − Building a basic “core” curriculum for spiritual formation in children/teens; Ezell 155 − Creative ideas for nurturing spiritual formation in young children; Ezell 263 − Creating intergenerational experiences for spiritual formation in all ages; Ezell 207 Ezell 107 and 138 are also available for use if other groups wish to gather informally.

MONDAY June 13

Exhibits open from 10:00 – 6:00

Breakfast on your own Ezell 241 (Doris Swang Chapel) 8:30 – 8:50

Benjamin Espinoza Welcome & worship; introduce Dave Csinos

8:50 – 9:40

Main Session #2: Dave Csinos A Faith Worth Making: Understanding the Cultural Nature of Children's Theology—and Why it Matters

9:40 – 10:00 Ben Espinoza Response to Dave Csinos; preview of Breakout Session #1 10:00 – 10:15 Break 10:15 – 11:45 Breakout Session #1: Seminars/papers and workshop (see p. 6 for options & rooms) 11:45 – 1:15 Lunch on your own (see list of on-campus and nearby restaurants in packet)


Ezell 241 (Doris Swang Chapel) 1:15 – 2:35

Dr. Mimi Larson Facilitator of panel discussion: Nurturing Spiritual Formation in Children Facing Difficult Circumstances Dr. Kathie Amidei, Children of Divorce Dr. Dana Pemberton, Including all children Dr. Dave Scott, Children at risk

2:35 – 3:05

Trevecca Okholm Introduce Ministry Model presenters Ministry model previews (see pp. 10 – 11 for descriptions)

3:05 – 3:15


Ezell 147 3:15 – 3:45

Ministry Models engagement (additional time to visit the models from 5:15 – 5:45)

3:45 – 5:15

Breakout Session #2: Seminars/papers and workshops (see p. 7 for options & rooms)

Ezell 301 5:45 – 7:00

Banquet Dinner (prepaid reservations for meal required)

7:00 – 7:40

Dr. Robert Keeley and Katy Bowser, Flo Paris & children Welcome & worship Dr. Scottie May and Dr. Mimi Larson Presentation of scholarships Dr. La Verne Tolbert Introduce Dr. Almeda Wright

7:40 – 8:30

Main Session #3: Dr. Almeda Wright Called to Live! American Adolescents and the Promise and Challenge of Abundant Life

8:30 – 8:50

Dr. La Verne Tolbert Response to Dr. Wright Dr. James Estep: Preview of late night discussion groups 9:00 – 10:00 Late Night Discussion Groups − Late night with Dave Csinos; Ezell 147 (where ministry models are located) − Late night with Dr. Almeda Wright; Ezell 301 − Late night with Katy Bowser and Flo Paris, Rain for Roots; Ezell 241 (Swang Chapel) − Equipping parents to nurture their children spiritually at home; Ezell 155 − Discussion on contemplative, reflective, wondering approaches to spiritual formation in children/teens (Godly Play; Children & Worship, etc.); Ezell 363 Ezell 322 and 128 are also available for use if other groups wish to gather informally.

TUESDAY June 14 Exhibits open from 8:00 – 12:00 Breakfast, on your own 8:45 – 10:15 Breakout Session #3: Seminars/papers and workshops (see p. 8 for options & rooms) 10:15 – 10:30 Break 10:30 – 12:00 Breakout Session #4: Seminars/papers and workshops (see p. 9 for options & rooms) Ezell 301 12:00 – 12:30 Break & pick up box lunch (prepaid reservations for meal required); Dr. Estep, prayer 12:30 – 12:40 Dr. Holly Allen Introduce Dr. Robbie Castleman 12:40 – 1:30

Main Session #4: Dr. Robbie Castleman Parenting in the Pew: The Call, The Challenge, The Cost

1:30 – 2:00

Dr. Holly Allen Response to Dr. Castleman; Dr. Chris Boyatzis Closing reflections; Dr. Shirley Morgenthaler Prayer for children


Our Plenary Speakers (In order of their presentations) Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King, Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science, Fuller Theological Seminary Dr. King joined Fuller as assistant professor of marital and family studies in 2008, and in Fall 2014 was named Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science. She works with the Thrive Center on Human Development and the Fuller Youth Institute. She is coauthor of The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective (IVP, 2016), coeditor of The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence (Sage, 2005), and coauthor of the chapter on research on religious and spiritual development in the seventh edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (Wiley, 2015). King has also published articles in several professional journals and has served on the editorial boards of Developmental Psychology, Journal of Positive Psychology, Applied Developmental Science, the Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science, and the Encyclopedia of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence. King is a member of the Society for Research on Adolescents, Society for Research on Child Development, and Division 36 of the American Psychological Association, and is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Dave Csinos, Atlantic School of Theology; President, Faith Forward David M. Csinos is assistant professor at Atlantic School of Theology and founder and president of Faith Forward, an organization for innovation in ministry with children and youth. He is author of several books and resources related to children’s spirituality and ministry, including Children’s Ministry that Fits (Wipf & Stock, 2011), Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus (IVP, 2013; co-authored with Ivy Beckwith), and Faith Forward: A Dialogue on Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity (Woodlake, 2013) and Faith Forward, Volume 2: Re-Imagining Children’s and Youth Ministry (Copperhouse, 2015), both coedited with Melvin Bray. Csinos speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to children’s and youth ministry, culture, and spiritual formation. He is a doctoral candidate at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, where his research focuses on children, theology, and culture.

Dr. Almeda Wright, Associate Professor of Religious Education, Yale Divinity School Dr. Wright’s research focuses on African American religion, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion and public life. Prior to her arrival at Yale, Wright taught at Pfeiffer University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Wright’s publications include Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World (Chalice Press, 2008) co-edited with Mary Elizabeth Moore, an edited issue of Practical Matters Journal, and various articles in scholarly journals. She has given presentations at a number of conferences including the American Academy of Religion, The Trinity Wall St. Institute (November 2012), and the Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity Conference in Washington, D.C. (May 2012).

Dr. Robbie Castleman, Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, John Brown University Dr. Castleman has been a professor of New Testament theology at JBU for fourteen years. She is concluding her teaching career and retiring this month, June 2016. Castleman is well known for her book, Parenting in the Pew: Guiding your Children into the Joy of Worship, a best seller with InterVarsity Press now in its third edition. Her most recently published books include Story-Shaped Worship (IVP, 2013) and New Testament Essentials: Father, Son, Spirit and Kingdom (IVP, 2014). Castleman is currently working on what she says will be her last book, The God-Breathed Word, a book that addresses the question: “What do we mean when we say the Bible is the Word of God?”


Our Panel Participants Dr. Dana Pemberton Dana Kennamer Pemberton serves as chair of Teacher Education at Abilene Christian University where she teaches early childhood education. She has presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences on topics related to children’s spiritual development and nurture. She is co-editor of the newly released book, Along the Way: Conversations about Children & Faith (Abilene Christian University Press, 2015). Other publications include I Will Change Your Name: Messages from the Father to a Heart Broken by Divorce (Leafwood, 2007), Let All the Children Come to Me: A Practical Guide Including Children with Disabilities In Your Church's Ministry (David C. Cook, 2006), and Beautiful in God’s Eyes: Building Character, Wisdom, and Faith in Young Women (Abingdon, 2002). On Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, she is Teacher Dana to the children at her home congregation.

Dr. David Scott Dr. David Scott is assistant professor of intercultural studies and children at risk at Fuller Theological Seminary. Along with strategic leadership in the area of children at risk at Fuller Seminary, his ministry experience includes almost ten years with Viva, a nonprofit that networks Christian organizations working with children at risk. Scott has contributed the chapter, “Health Missions to Children in Crisis: Theological Contributions for Better Practice” to the collection Health, Healing, and Shalom: Frontiers and Challenges for Christian Healthcare Missions (William Carey Library, 2015), as well as a chapter, “Theological Dignity and Human Rights for Children” in Understanding God’s Heart for Children: Toward a Biblical Framework (World Vision, 2007), a Christian response to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Dr. Kathie Amidei Dr. Kathie Amidei serves as Pastoral Associate of the Catholic Church at St. Anthony on the Lake Parish in Wisconsin. She was formerly the Associate Director for Catechesis and Child Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Her passion is to help families engage in their journey of faith in meaningful and practical ways and to infuse parish catechetical ministry with effective and relevant approaches and programing. She has served in a number of parishes as a teacher and a director of religious education and is the co-author of The Journey: A Guide for Persons, Partners and Parents (K & D Books, 2013; with Doug Meske); Learning Together: Forming Faith in Families: An Intergenerational Resource (St. Anthony on the Lake, 2013, with Lea Boyd and Faith Formation Staff); and Generations Together: Caring, Praying Learning, Celebrating, and Serving Faithfully (LifelongFaith Associates, 2014; with John Roberto and Jim Merhaut).


Seminars and Workshops Schedule (full descriptions by presenter’s last name on pp. 15-29) Breakout Session #1: Monday Morning, 10:15 – 11:45 Ezell 147 Families at the Center of Faith Formation John Roberto, Lifelong Faith Formation (Workshop 10:15 – 11:45) Ezell 155 The Uncoordinated Search of a Faith Family for Liturgies Welcoming Children Ron Bruner (10:15 – 11:00) Hospitality as a Paradigm for Ecclesial Ministry with Children Benjamin D. Espinoza (11:00 – 11:45) Ezell 205 What do you Wonder? The Power of Living in the Questions with Children Dana Pemberton and Suzetta Nutt (Workshop 10:15 – 11:45) Ezell 207 A Review and Evaluation of Children’s Bible Storybooks Elizabeth Caldwell (Workshop 10:15 – 11:45) Ezell 211 Effective Attitudes and Strategies for the Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in Worship Phil Stegink (Workshop 10:15 – 11:00) Building Blocks of Faith as a Framework for Evaluation and Design of Faith Formation Programs Robert J. Keeley & Laura Keeley (Workshop 11:00 – 11:45) Ezell 232 Deconstructing Bible Stories with Preschoolers: One Teacher's Auto-Ethnographical Conversation Sandra Ludlow (10:15 – 11:00) Children’s Spirituality Definitions & Measuring Spiritual Development from a Theological Perspective Karissa Glanville (11:00 – 11:45) Ezell 241 - Doris Swang Chapel The Intersection of Intellectual Giftedness and Faith Development in Children Amy Boone (10:15 – 11:00) Making Meaning of God: The Faith Experiences of Preschool Children Mimi Larson (11:00 – 11:45) Ezell 263 The Power of Story in Children’s Spiritual Development: Implications and Conclusions Marva Hoopes (10:15 – 11:00) Around the Dinner Table: The Uniform Lesson Series Unites Families . . . and Churches La Verne Tolbert, Cheryl Price, and Amber Travis (Workshop; 11:00 – 11:45)


Seminars and Workshops Schedule (full descriptions by presenter’s last name on pp. 15-29) Breakout Session #2: Monday Afternoon 3:45 – 5:15 Ezell 107 The Visual Faith Project: A Methodology for Engaging the Power of Scripture with Images Nancy Going (Workshop 3:45 – 4:30) A Four Phase Experiential Pedagogy for Middle School Students Jerry Bowling (Workshop 4:30 – 5:15) Ezell 138 Creating Space for Contemplative Practices with Elementary Children Shannon Rains (Workshop 3:45 – 5:15) Ezell 155 The Moral/Spiritual Formation of Children through Christian Instruction: Confronting Kohlberg’s Legacy James Riley Estep (3:45 – 4:30) Moral Formation of Children Ages 0-11 Preparation of the Heart, Body, and Mind Catherine Maresca (4:30 – 5:15) Ezell 205 Planted Like Trees: Developing Spiritual Formation Practices to Sustain Children for a Lifetime of Service in a Broken World Andrew McDonough (Workshop 3:45 – 5:15) Ezell 207 Congregational Discernment, Methods, and Outcomes of Intergenerational Spiritual Formation through Community Service J.P. Conway (3:45 – 4:30) How Intergenerational Experiences in Childhood Influence the Faith Practices of Young Adults Brian Medaris (4:30 – 5:15) Ezell 211 Nurturing the Infant Soul: Spiritual Formation and Very Young Children Shirley Morgenthaler, Jeff Keiser, and Mimi Larson (3:45 – 4:30) What do Kindergarteners’ Spiritual Experiences and Expressions Look Like in a Secular Classroom? Jennifer Mata-McMahon (4:30 – 5:15) Ezell 232 Connecting Children with God through Nature Beverly Christian (3:45 – 4:30) Inspiring Wonder & Stewardship through Creation Care Camp for Elementary Children Grace Spriggs (4:30 – 5:15) Ezell 263 Toward a Theology of Inclusion for Children and Families Affected by Disability Quentin Kinnison (Workshop 3:45 – 5:15)


Seminars and Workshops Schedule (full descriptions by presenter’s last name on pp. 15-29) Breakout Session #3: Tuesday Morning, 8:45 – 10:15 Ezell 107 Sustainable Children’s Ministry: Developing a Thriving Ministry for the Discipleship of Children and Families Kathy McCarron (Workshop 8:45 – 10:15) Ezell 155 Faith Formation and Bible Stories: A Pedagogical Framework for Nurturing Faith Formation through Study of Biblical Narratives Barbara Fisher (8:45 – 9:30) Evaluation of Narrative Theology as a Foundation for Children’s Ministry Taryn Cleaves (9:30 – 10:15) Ezell 205 Technology Tools & Media Literacy Curriculum for the Digital Natives in Children’s Ministry Classes Danielle Shrock (Workshop 8:45 – 10:15) Ezell 207 Developing and Utilizing a Narrative Framework for Spiritual Formation in a Secondary Christian School Douglas Williams and Amy Welch (Workshop 8:45 – 10:15) Ezell 211 Honoring Children’s Voices in Developing a Spiritual Nurture of Children Framework for a Humanitarian Development Organization Louis Cadang and Gizela Papadhpuli (8:45 – 9:30) Ezell 241 (Doris Swang Chapel) Environmental and Spiritual Considerations of an Intentionally Diverse Congregation and the Impact It Has Within Ministry Jennifer Schroeder (Workshop 8:45 – 10:15) Ezell 263 Nurturing Spiritual Development in Five Children Whose Parents Are Incarcerated Holly Allen & students Carly Brandvold, Alana Petit, Jessica Salazar, ErinTrageser (8:45 - 9:30) Divorce: The Impact it has on Children’s View of God and Their Faith Formation. Lindsay Jackson (9:30 – 10:15) Ezell 363 Cotton Patch Rebel: The Story of Clarence Jordan Ann M. Trousdale (8:45 – 9:30) Spiritual Coping Mechanisms for the Bind between Trauma and Ambiguous Loss for Foster Children Ron Bruner and Chase Thompson (9:30 – 10:15)


Seminars and Workshops Schedule (full descriptions by presenter’s last name on pp. 15-29) Breakout Session #4: Tuesday Morning, 10:30 – 12:00 noon Ezell 155 The Lived Experience of Conversion in the Lives of Third-and-Greater-Generation Believers Edyta Jankiewicz (10:30 – 11:15) Development of a Religious and Spiritual Struggle Scale for Adolescents: A Retrospective Pilot Study Steffany Homolka (11:15 – 12:00) Ezell 205 Worship and Wonder Models for Spiritual Formation Trevecca Okholm (Workshop 10:30 – 11:15) The Kingdom of God and Bellybuttons: How We can Love and Serve Children Katy Bowser Hutson, Rain for Roots (Workshop 11:15 – 12:00) Ezell 207 LOGOS Intergenerational Ministry: Generations Growing Together in Faith Modeled After Acts 2:42 Suzie Lane (Workshop 10:30 - 12:00) Ezell 211 God and Digital Narratives: Exploring How Tweens' High Tech Habits Relate to Their Spiritual Lives Pam Ovigwigho (10:30 - 11:15) Research on Competencies for Professionals in Children's Ministry Susan Payne (11:15 - 12:00) Ezell 232 Embodied Spirituality in Christian Worship: Faith Formation that Honors the Spiritual Gifts of Children Rebecca Chafee (10:30 – 11:15) Roles We Play: A Qualitative Study of Roles in Familial Spiritual Communication among Evangelical Protestants Rebecca Jones (11:15 - 12:00) Ezell 263 Research on Communally Discerning the Legitimacy of Children’s Revelatory Experiences with God Karissa Glanville (10:30 – 11:15) Making Space: Recognizing, Fostering, and Inviting Children’s Unique Spiritual Practices Erin Minta-Johnson (11:15 - 12:00) Ezell 363 Spirituality and Nature: Opening the Door to Spiritual Disciplines in the Natural World Cynthia Coe (Workshop 10:15 – 11:45)


Ministry Model Descriptions Intergenerational Worship, the Practice of Liturgy and Building Biblical Literacy with Children Robin Floch, freelance curriculum writer, Children's Pastor [email protected]

With the purpose of practicing liturgy and building Biblical literacy with children in partnership with an intergenerational worship environment, this model equips liturgical churches with four years of carefully crafted lessons to help children know God through the meta-narrative of Scripture and prepare children and adults for intergenerational worship through learning and responding to the Scriptures and church traditions together.

Gifts for our Children: A Practical Model/Resource Bringing Churches and Homes Together to Enhance Children's Spiritual Formation Daron Pratt, Family & Children's Ministries Director, North New South Wales Conference of the SeventhDay Adventist Church [email protected] We live in an age of plenty where our children are the richest generation the world has ever seen. Our children are drowning under the weight of 'good gifts' that we as parents have given them. The digital revolution has impacted our children's lives like never before. We have also seen a golden age of awesome church resources and programs produced for our child's every need. Despite this, we are losing at least half and in some cases up to 90% of our children from our churches. Many have made the decision to leave before they reach their teenage years. "Gifts for our Children” is a practical model/resource bringing churches and homes together to intentionally align the two to enhance children’s spiritual formation. The model includes a series of discussion posters and discussion guides for churches and parents.

Munches Wes Gallagher, Children's Minister [email protected]

About four times per year a group of young children and their parents bring a simple lunch, gather around comfortable tables, and invite the seniors in their church family to join them. The resulting intergenerational experience is called "munches," and they share much more than food. As they gather they are creating and cultivating relationships among the children, parents, and senior members who previously had little interaction with the church community. One benefit is the development of mutual respect; another is giving space for the children to hear stories and play games and begin to see these "older folks" as Christian "grandparents" in their community. Sample agendas and pictures from previous events will be displayed as well as a list of future theme ideas. This model shares a practical and creative method for integrating multiple generations in a formative, relational, theme-based setting around a communal meal.

567Ministries: Parenting Tools for Inspiring Family Faith Conversations David Ludwig, Family Minister [email protected]

By creating beautiful and inviting tools such as a set of family meal placemats with original artwork by Jago (illustrator for The Jesus Storybook Bible), our goal is to provide easy-to-use opportunities for parents to share their faith. The objective of this ministry is to introduce tools to help parents (the most significant faith influence on kids), to have faith conversations (the most important conversations), at the most opportune times.


LOGOS Intergenerational Ministry: Generations Growing Together in Faith Modeled after Acts 2:42 Susie Lane, Program Director, GenOn Ministries [email protected]

LOGOS, a weekly intergenerational experience for young people, creates an intentional arena for all ages, together, to practice the art of growing Christian relationships. In these cross-generational LOGOS gatherings, adults and young people eat together, play together, study together, and prepare for and lead worship together. In this ministry model, participants will have access to pictures and stories from LOGOS churches, and resources for each of the four parts of LOGOS: Bible Study, Family Time, Worship Arts, and Recreation. Participants can experience several Recreation and Worship Arts activities that may be done in a LOGOS gathering. Adults who visit the ministry model can learn more by attending the LOGOS workshop.

Lost Sheep Resources Andrew McDonough, creator and director of Lost Sheep Resources [email protected]

There is a growing theological and social unease at sending the kids to children’s church while the adults worship in the main auditorium. While people love the concept of an all age-worship service, it is a struggle to put into practice. One of the main issues is this: What becomes of the Bible teaching content of the service? Do you shorten the sermon and just do a children’s talk, or is there a better way? One model is to use biblical storytelling resources that engage the children but also profoundly affect adults. We have over 30 stories that do exactly that!

The Whole Church Learning: A Pedagogical Approach to Contextualizing the Uniform Lesson Series for the African American Market La Verne Tolbert, Vice President Editorial, Urban Ministries, Inc. [email protected]

Publishers often overlook or marginally address the African American community when producing Sunday school and Bible study curriculum. In 1970, inspired by Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” Dr. Melvin Banks and his wife began printing in their basement a Bible study magazine for urban teenagers. Today, Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) is the largest independent Christian African American publishing company in world serving churches and denominations throughout the United States, Africa, and Europe with Bible studies and Sunday school curricula for all age groups, plus Vacation Bible School kits, Bible study commentaries, and a host of books and magazines. This ministry model evaluates the success of UMI‘s approach to contextualizing the Uniform Lesson Series by focusing on culture, history, and justice to target black churches and denominations ensuring that the whole church is learning.

D6 Ministries Ron Hunter, Executive Director and CEO of Randall House and D6 Family Ministries [email protected]

D6 connects the church to home and families to one another. D6 is based on the principles of Deuteronomy 6:5-9—love God, love His Word, and teach your children to do the same. D6 Curriculum aligns small group environments at church so the entire family is studying the same theme at the same time. The cool thing is, it doesn’t stop at the church worship experience. This one-of-a-kind discipleship curriculum goes beyond the small group experience and helps parents and grandparents to reconnect with kids and teens through the use of devotional study guides, the D6 Family app, Splink, Home Connection, and other take-home resources that help equip the home. Generational Discipleship builds believers through church and home.


CONGRATULATIONS TO THE STONEHOUSE/MAY RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT AMY BOONE The Stonehouse/May Scholarship is awarded for scholarly excellence in children’s spirituality research. We grant this award to a graduate student whose research has been approved by his/her university’s committee and whose paper has been approved for presentation at the conference. The recipient must be currently enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program and be in good standing. The winner is chosen from the graduate students who applied for the scholarship. This year’s recipient of the Stonehouse/May Research Scholarship is Amy Boone. Amy has a B.S. in Communications from Abilene Christian University and is a graduate student completing a Master’s in Gifted Education at Hardin-Simmons University. She serves as a pre-kindergarten teacher and as a youth ministry volunteer. Her areas of focused interest are gifted girls and social/emotional issues. Amy’s research presented at this conference is titled, “The Intersection of Intellectual Giftedness and Faith Development in Children.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TINA LILLIG BEST-PRACTICES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT SHANNON RAINS The Tina Lillig Best Practices Scholarship is awarded for excellence in best practices in children’s spirituality. We grant this award to a graduate student whose ministry model or workshop has been approved for presentation at the conference. The recipient must currently be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program and be in good standing. The winner is chosen from the graduate students who applied for the scholarship. This year’s recipient of the Tina Lillig Best Practices Scholarship is Shannon Rains. Shannon is a DMin student in spiritual formation at Abilene Christian University and has been a full-time children’s minister for fifteen years. This fall, Shannon is transitioning to academia as Assistant Professor of Children’s Ministry at Lubbock Christian University. Her workshop presentation, titled “Creating Space for Contemplative Practices with Elementary Students,” details her experiences and practices with the third through fifth grade Bible class at Kingwood Church of Christ.



Holly Allen, Ph.D., President Professor of Family Science Professor of Christian Ministries Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN

Ben Espinoza, M.A., Vice-President Ph.D. Student Michigan State University East Lansing, MI

James Estep, Ph.D., Secretary Professor of Christian Education Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL

Robert Keeley, Ph.D., Treasurer Professor of Education, Calvin College, Director of Distance Learning, Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) Grand Rapids, MI

Kathie Amidei, Ed.D. Pastoral Associate St. Anthony on the Lake Parish Pewaukee, WI

Chris Boyatzis, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA

Mimi Larson, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Shirley Morgenthaler, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Education Concordia University Chicago River Forest, IL

Trevecca Okholm, M.A. Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA

La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D. Vice President Editorial Urban Ministries, Inc., Calumet City, IL

The Conference Site Team from Lipscomb and the Nashville Area We want to express our appreciation to: - Rhonda Lowry, whose enthusiastic support created the opportunity to bring the conference to the Lipscomb University campus; - Dr. Randy Lowry and Danny Taylor for making initial funds available; - Greg Perry (Lipscomb Academy) and Melanie Brown (Children’s Minister, Otter Creek Church of Christ) for their efforts to welcome conference participants to campus, set up exhibits, conduct airport runs for speakers, and expedite registration and check-in procedures; - Dr. Leonard Allen, Frank Guertin, Kathy Bickel, and Kellye McCool, Lipscomb College of Bible and Ministry (home for the Institute for Christian Spirituality) for their preparations and service to make this conference a success; - Other Lipscomb support staff: the ETS team (technology); the event planning coordinator, Brittany Cleaver; our photographer, Andrea Turner; our dorm liaison, Willie Charpentier; and the caterer, Sodexo with Jody Young as the manager. Thank you!


Exhibitors for the Children’s Spirituality Conference June 2016 Publishers Baker Academic and Brazos Press 6030 E. Fulton, Ada, MI 49301 Contact: Debbie Deacon, [email protected] Broadman & Holman/Lifeway Christian Resources One LifeWay Plaza Nashville, TN 37234 Contact: Chris Reese, [email protected] D6 Ministries/Randall House PO Box 17306 Nashville, TN 37217 / Contact: Ron Hunter; [email protected] Lost Sheep Ministries PO Box 3191, Unley SA 5061, Australia Contact: Andrew McDonough, [email protected] The Rabbit Room online store/ publisher Brentwood, TN Contact: Jennifer Peterson, [email protected]

Ministry Support/Products 567Ministries: Placing Faith at the Center of Family Mealtime Contact: David Ludwig, [email protected] D6 Ministries/Randall House PO Box 17306 Nashville, TN 37217 / Contact: Ron Hunter, [email protected] Worship Woodworks: Affordable, quality materials for Children & Worship 207 W. Walnut, PO Box 385, Protection, KS 67127/ (620) 622-4568/ (888) 689-6757 Contact: Sally Selzer, [email protected]

University Degree Programs in Christian Ministry Bethel Seminary MA and Certificate Programs in Ministry Locations: St. Paul; San Diego; online Contact: Amara Falk, [email protected]

Talbot School of Theology, Biola University Ph.D. and Ed.D. Programs in Educational Studies, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA Contact: Dr. Kevin Lawson, [email protected]

Lipscomb University College of Bible and Ministry One University Park Drive, Nashville, TN (800) 333-4358/(615) 966-1000 Contact: Leonard Allen, [email protected]

Vanderbilt Divinity School M. Div, M.T.S., Certificate Programs in Christian Ministry Contact: Katherine Smith [email protected]


Abstracts for Seminars/Papers and Workshops (Listed alphabetically by presenter’s last name)

Nurturing Spiritual Development in Five Children Whose Parents are Incarcerated: A Holistic Approach Holly Allen with Lipscomb students Carly Brandvold, Alana Petit, Jessica Salazar, Erin Trageser [email protected] Last fall, university students in a service-learning course called “Nurturing Spiritual Development with Children" spent one-on-one time with children ages 7-11 whose parents are incarcerated. During the course, the university students walked a labyrinth with the children, read good children’s literature, shared Godly Play lessons with the children, posed wondering questions during outdoor walks, and wrote letters to God. This presentation will draw connections between these activities and the children’s relationships with self, others, the world, and God. The presentation will also share how the student/child experiences addressed unique challenges and needs of children whose parents are incarcerated, as outlined by Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry (a community organization that serves these children) and as described in the literature that discusses the needs of this unique population of children.

The Intersection of Intellectual Giftedness and Faith Development in Children Amy Boone, winner of the Stonehouse-May Research Scholarship [email protected] Gifted children often experience asynchrony in their development. Asynchrony involves development and awareness in physical, cognitive, emotional, or spiritual matters that are out of step with given norms. Asynchrony often profoundly affects gifted children producing frustration, confusion, and even anger. If gifted children experience asynchrony in spiritual matters, this might cause the child to worry about abstract matters of faith before the child’s emotional capacity to process such depth is able. This paper seeks to flesh out giftedness, cognitive development, moral development, and faith development and how these various developmental pieces of an individual interact with each other.

A Four-Phase Experiential Pedagogy for Middle School Students Jerry Bowling, Harding University [email protected] This session explores an experiential pedagogy created for use in family and congregational life that fosters spirituality in middle school children. This is an integrative, four-phase model of teaching that uses a multi-modal formational approach (visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic) with children. The aim is to demonstrate how to implement each stage of this model when teaching a Bible lesson, equipping teachers with a creative teaching model to enhance formative spiritual learning with middle school children.

Spiritual Coping Mechanisms for the Bind between Trauma and Ambiguous Loss for Foster Children Ron Bruner and Chase Thompson; Westview Boy’s Home [email protected] Foster children often leave their families of origin following trauma occurring within familial relationships. The safety necessary for healing sometimes requires separation from that family, at least for a time; the distance from family members creates a situation where loved ones are physically absent but constantly mentally present. This state is one of the forms of ambiguous loss, a theoretical construct described by Pauline Boss. Foster children experience a bind; they need safe distance from family to heal, but because of ambiguous loss, their reduced level of functioning inhibits post-traumatic recovery,


reconciliation, and reunification. This work uses the construct of ambiguous loss to define useful therapeutic approaches, including positive spiritual coping techniques.

The Uncoordinated Search of a Faith Family for Liturgies Welcoming Children Ron Bruner, Westview Boy’s Home [email protected] Scholars and practitioners on the leading edge of intergenerational ministry remind readers that congregational worship is core to the spiritual formation of children. What worship practices must change or emerge to properly form the spirituality of children? Among a cappella Churches of Christ (a part of the Stone-Campbell Movement), several factors complicate such change. Historically, these churches have valued children and their operative theology of children views them positively. Only in recent decades, though, have many congregations begun to see the importance of children actively participating in worship. This work reports local theologies and practices among a purposeful sample of Churches of Christ in the United States and seeks to stimulate conversations among scholars and practitioners about useful theological constructs, promising practices, and ways to move forward.

Honoring Children’s Voices in Developing a Spiritual Nurture of Children Framework for a Humanitarian Development Organization Louie Cadaing & Ekaterina Papadhopuli, World Vision International [email protected] / [email protected] World Vision (WV), a Christian Humanitarian and Development organization, recognizes that children’s spiritual nurture is an important part of development, and is affected by multiple factors: especially the relationships, care, context and environment in which children live. Therefore, working to nurture children’s spirituality is a critical aspect of WV’s holistic child development approach. This paper presents WV’s research with children from as young as 5 years old up to 21 years of age from six countries (Uganda, Cambodia, Mali, Albania, Nicaragua and the Philippines) with mixed faith and traditions, about their own perspective and understanding of God and how children’s perspective helped shaped WV’s understanding and approach to children’s spiritual development and nurture.

Review and Evaluation of Bible Storybooks for Children Elizabeth F. Caldwell, Vanderbilt University [email protected] Parents and church leaders have a wide variety of Bible storybooks available for reading with children. Reading a Bible storybook with a child is an important part of a child’s spiritual formation, but it can also become an important spiritual practice for parents. In this workshop, participants will have the chance to become familiar with the variety of Bible storybooks appropriate for different age groups of children, wrestle with new interpretations of two stories (Jonah and parable of the Good Shepherd) and see how they are retold in eight Bible storybooks (content and artwork). Participants will also be encouraged to imagine how these stories can be written for children in light of the new interpretations and discuss ways parents can be supported in their role in the spiritual formation of a child.

Embodied Spirituality in Christian Worship: Faith Formation that Honors the Spiritual Gifts of Children Rebecca Chafee, Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church [email protected] “Embodied spirituality” describes what happens when normally quiet, solitary spiritual practices meet the very active, sometimes noisy, and often messy spirituality that children express. Ritual, symbol, and narrative speak to children as well as adults, and worship services are a perfect place to bring the


generations together around this common ground of spiritual practices and worship experiences. Embodied faith formation that takes the form of Godly Play, Pretending Bible Stories, Praying in Color, Praying with the Body, and Dramatic Tableaux allow children to encounter God, deepen their own spirituality, and share their faith in multi-generational worship.

Connecting Children with God through Nature: Why We Should and How We Can Beverly Christian, Avondale College of Higher Education [email protected] Unrelenting rural-urban migration across the globe is resulting in the withdrawal of children from interaction with the natural world. This paper builds a case for the intentional inclusion of nature experiences in the faith education of children in a school, church, or home context. It explores the role of nature in connecting children with God, and offers practical suggestions for creating spiritual moments that can enhance a child’s relationship with God as they experience the wonder of His creation.

Evaluation of Narrative Theology as a Foundation for Children’s Ministry Taryn Cleaves, New Hope Church [email protected] Within narrative theology is the opportunity to grow within the whole framework of God’s story and our place in that story. For far too long, children’s ministry has focused on character studies and moral lessons. The church’s children are growing up with a lot of factual nuggets that are the equivalent of theological appetizers rather than the meat and potatoes of personal spiritual growth rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. Children’s pastors have been content on teaching factual knowledge rather than doing the hard work of teaching from a narrative theology viewpoint that encompasses both the Old and New Testaments appropriately. This has resulted in thousands of children’s pastors who don’t know how to connect each and every lesson back to Jesus—the primary objective of narrative theology. This presentation seeks a conceptual evaluation of building a foundation of narrative theology within the local children’s and family ministry context.

Wild Faith: Nature-Based Spirituality for Children and Youth Cindy Coe, The Episcopal Church [email protected] This highly interactive workshop will offer a learning center filled with nature-based spirituality activities for children and youth. After a brief introduction to these activities, you are free to try these activities at your own pace. Exercises will include art, Montessori-based reflections of the parables of Jesus, meditative and nature-based crafting, meditative walking (weather permitting), and journaling. Cynthia Coe is a 2014-2016 Environmental Stewardship Fellow of The Episcopal Church and is based on her farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her recently published curricula, Wild Faith and Earth, Our Garden Home, feature the activities offered in this workshop.

Intergenerational Community Service as a Means towards Spiritual Formation J.P. Conway, Lipscomb University [email protected] In recent years, teen ministry leaders have sought to reverse age segregation trends and consumerist tendencies. Many have championed teen ministry’s increased focus on intergenerational ministry and consistent, ongoing community service, as well as related outcomes on spiritual formation and faith retention. One local church sought to extend these emphases from teens to elementary age children, even toddlers. Over a yearlong period, the congregation experimented with various types of intergenerational community service that engaged families with small children. In doing so, they discerned what types of service work well for children. Then, they developed practices and traditions that engage all generations in


safe, meaningful service. As a result, they have experienced a tangible increase in spiritual formation among all generations.

Hospitality as a Paradigm for Ecclesial Ministry with Children Benjamin D. Espinoza, Michigan State University [email protected] The purpose of this paper is to explore how hospitality serves as a theological resource and paradigm that undergirds a robust, holistic approach to children’s ministry. The paper will first explore the biblical and theological vision of the early church. This theological vision of hospitality will be shown to be a radical impulse wherein the lines of guest and host are blurred, and all are welcome to the table of mission and ecclesial service. With these foundations in place, the paper will engage relevant educational and practice‐ based literature in order to craft a holistic paradigm for ecclesial children’s ministry. In particular, the paper will attend to four aspects of the church’s ministry (preaching and teaching the gospel, cultivating worship, creating community, and living on mission) and demonstrate how a theology of hospitality radically shapes and transforms the way we conceptualize children’s ministry.

The Moral/Spiritual Formation of Children through Christian Instruction: Confronting the Legacy of Kohlberg James Riley Estep, Jr., Lincoln Christian University [email protected] Are religion and morality like oil and water, or are they more like wood and flame? Oftentimes Lawrence Kohlberg, as well as his adherents and successors, has been attributed with fostering this perception, i.e. that religious instruction hinders and even prohibits moral development. However, is this accurate in childhood? Three caveats to Kohlberg must be recognized: (1) His critique may be legitimate for adult moral development, (2) Kohlberg himself in his later works acknowledged the need for some form of instruction in moral precepts in childhood education, and (3) Does this mean religion is actually irrelevant, or is it a challenge for childhood Christian education to recalibrate itself to become more effective in facilitating moral development?

Faith Formation and Bible stories: A Biblical Framework for Nurturing Faith Formation through the Study of Biblical Narratives Barbara Fisher, Avondale College of Higher Education [email protected] An essential aspect of children’s faith formation involves nurturing their personal love of, knowledge about, and interactive engagement with biblical narratives. Scripture Teachers need to be aware of the unintentional danger of reducing biblical narratives to a values education program, engaging entertainment, self-help stories, cautionary tales or a collection of ‘good’ stories. Therefore to assist Scripture Teachers from inadvertently falling into this trap, the following Four H’s Biblical Framework (Four H’s), was designed. The Four H’s is an interactive, multisensory approach that aims to support Scripture Teachers in preparing an engaging and transformational Bible study experience. The Four H’s are as follows: History (listening and discovering), Head (learning and knowing), Heart (loving and responding), and Hand (living and giving). Each aspect of the Four H Biblical Framework is vital if this holistic approach to biblical study is to be realized.

Examining Definitions of Children’s “Spirituality,” “Spiritual Maturity,” and “Measuring Spiritual Development,” from a Theological Perspective Karissa Glanville, Fuller Theological Seminary [email protected]


Finding an agreed-upon definition of “spirituality” has been elusive. Are psychology-based definitions able to give us the complete picture? Could the Bible be helpful in helping us define spirituality in ways that would then help us understand what spiritual maturity looks like and how we can measure spiritual development? Come join the discussion and hear what Karissa Glanville has to share from her recent PhD studies.

Creating and Cultivating a Community Context Where Children are Being Trained to Hear From God and Grow In Discernment: Four Case Studies Karissa Glanville, Fuller Theological Seminary [email protected]

There are a growing number of churches that are training their children to hear from God, engage with God experientially, and participate in various forms of ministry. Karissa Glanville recently conducted case studies at four of these churches to find out how they discern whether or not their children’s various experiences are from God. From her research, a community model emerged that proved to be much more holistic and comprehensive than she expected. Come hear how these communities are creating and cultivating a context where children are being trained to hear from God and grow in discernment, all in the context of a nurturing community.

The Visual Faith Project Nancy S. Going, Vibrant Faith [email protected] This workshop will share the research insights and theory behind the Visual Faith Project being undertaken by Vibrant Faith. The Visual Faith Project is an action research project using evocative photographic images as a vehicle for Scriptural engagement and Christian transformation. In an image-rich world, we know that provocative images can connect people’s imaginations and hearts to form convictions with their minds and allow them to act in the ways of Jesus across the myriad of life’s contexts. This project seeks to test and expand our knowledge by connecting the power of image with the promised power of God’s Word. At its core, this project is exploring a methodology for discipling, engaging, and teaching the messages of Scripture. The methodology consists of pairing images with sections of scripture and participants are encouraged to connect with Scripture through the story in the images. We will spend time together exploring theory, methodology and the results of Vibrant Faith’s initial round of research.

Religious and Spiritual Struggles among Adolescents Steffany J. Homolka, Julie J. Exline, Joshua Wilt, Case Western Reserve University; Ken Pargament, Bowling Green State University Little is known about adolescents’ r/s struggles (i.e., challenging r/s experiences, beliefs, and practices that lead to or perpetuate distress). This study’s goals were to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Religious and Spiritual Struggles scale (RSS; Exline, Pargament, Grubbs, & Yali, 2014) with adolescents, to develop struggle subscales more specific to adolescents, and to examine the correlates and qualities of struggles. High school (Catholic and secular) students (N= 351) indicated they experience divine, demonic, interpersonal, ultimate meaning, moral, peer, and parent/family r/s struggles typically at low levels. The RSS and the new scales demonstrated good fit. Significant differences in struggles between ages, school types, and personal and parental r/s. Struggles were associated with poor mental and physical health, insecure attachment, and low r/s. Adolescents also described struggles related to sexuality, academics, and r/s identity development, among others.

A Literature Review of the Power of Story in Children’s Spiritual Development: Implications and Conclusions Marva Hoopes, Malone University [email protected]


This research investigates empirical, theoretical, and theological literature related to how story can be used by Christian educators and parents to benefit the instruction and spiritual growth of children. Beginning with an analysis of the spiritual life of children, it will then be shown how story affects the whole person, rendering it a very powerful medium. Using Luke 10:27 as an organizing principle, story is analyzed as to how it affects the heart, the affective realm; the soul, the spiritual realm; strength, the behavioral realm; the mind, the cognitive realm; and loving neighbor as oneself, the social realm. These realms, together, comprise a faith that involves the whole person and a totality of commitment. Recommendations are then made as to how parents and Christian educators can use the power of story to benefit the instruction and spiritual growth of children.

The Kingdom of God and Belly Buttons: How we can Love and Serve Children with Music Katy Bowser Hutson, Rain for Roots [email protected] Why does Jesus put a child in the midst of the disciples to show them the nature of the kingdom of Heaven? Katy Bowser Hutson is a performing songwriter and mother of two young children. She is part of the Indelible Grace Community, Coal Train Railroad (a critically acclaimed jazz band for kids and their families) and Rain for Roots (a band of songwriter/mothers who write biblically-rooted songs for families). Through music and stories, she’ll tell how sharing art with children can and should be a means of bringing the Kingdom of God to bear, in them and in us.

Divorce: The Impact It Has on Children’s View of God and their Faith Formation Lindsay Jackson, Wheaton College [email protected] This session will present research that investigated the impact childhood divorce has had on emerging adults, particularly how they view God, relationships, and marriage. The researcher collected data from emerging adults currently attending Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois. Of the entire population surveyed, 372 emerging adults responded, which was equivalent to 15.5% response rate. Analysis of the data revealed three areas that showed a significant difference between those whose parents were divorced compared and those who came from intact families. The areas that showed a significant difference were how the faith of the parents influenced the faith formation of the respondents, the respondents’ ability to trust a friend or a partner in a relationship, and how the marriage of the parents influenced the respondent’s view of marriage as an institution. The presentation will offer ways churches may support children whose parents are divorced based on the information found.

The Experience of Conversion in the Lives of Those Nurtured in Faith Edyta Jankiewicz , Andrews University [email protected] While the New Testament Scriptures describe how first-generation Christians come to faith, they do not comment on the conversion experiences of those nurtured in faith. As a consequence, second- and greatergeneration Christians may question the legitimacy of their conversion experiences, and thus their salvation. This phenomenological study explores the conversion experiences of third- and greatergeneration young adult believers, providing those nurtured in faith with a framework for understanding their experiences, and thus a language for articulating their conversion narratives.

Roles We Play: A Qualitative Study of Roles in Familial Spiritual Communication among Evangelical Protestants Rebecca Jones, Ouachita Baptist University [email protected]


Drawn from in-depth interviews with parents and children (ages 4-15), the paper examines familial perspectives on roles played by mothers, fathers, and children in the sharing and co-creation of meaning regarding spiritual, faith-centered, or sacred subjects. Beyond this, the paper considers participant perceptions about the roles of faith communities in children’s spiritual development and familial support. The study uncovers perceptions among family members of challenges they face in their roles as spiritual communicators within their families and needs for enhanced faith community support. The paper also offers insights on ways faith communities have contributed to flourishing in spiritual interactions.

Using Building Blocks of Faith as a Framework for Evaluation and Design of Faith Formation Programs Robert Keeley, Calvin College & Calvin Theological Seminary; Laura Keeley, Christian Reformed Church [email protected] The Building Blocks of Faith model answers the simple question “What do people need in order to grow in their faith?” This model helps us to see how a wide variety of ministries and activities can work toward common goals. By framing conversations about faith formation in terms of belonging, knowing, hoping and being called and equipped, ministry programs, including and especially those for children, can be grounded in an overall picture of your church’s ministry and give you a foothold to see beyond where you are and to dream about where you want to be. This model allows us to put children’s ministries in the context of faith formation for the entire congregation.

Toward a Theology of Inclusion for Children and Families Affected by Disability Quentin P. Kinnison, Fresno Pacific University [email protected] According to key leaders in the disability community, people affected by disability including children are the most under-reached people group in the world. Often the first opportunity a church has to engage in disability ministry is with children. However, too often we fail to employ our theological resources as preparation for why such ministry is important. With the help of the work of Thomas Reynolds, and others, this workshop will guide participants to consider how our biblical and theological understandings shape responses of inclusion and welcome to the benefit of children, families, and our communities of faith.

LOGOS Intergenerational Ministry: Generations Growing Together in Faith Modeled after Acts 2:42 Suzie Lane, GenOn Ministries [email protected] In this workshop, participants will be introduced to LOGOS intergenerational ministry as a whole church model for growing Christian relationships among all ages. By actively engaging in the four parts of LOGOS—eating together, playing together, studying the Bible together, and preparing for worship together—participants will see how LOGOS brings vibrancy to a church, offers clergy an intentional opportunity to build relationships with all ages, serves as an engaging way for people to discover and use their gifts and talents, and brings new energy to worship.

Making Meaning of God: The Faith Experiences of Preschool Children Mimi Larson, Wheaton College [email protected] Framed in Westerhoff’s understanding of Experienced Faith, this qualitative study explores how 25 preschool children make meaning of their faith experiences. The children heard a biblical story told three different ways and then responded by drawing pictures and sharing their personal understandings of the


story. Data demonstrated that children engaged in verbal and non-verbal behavior, utilizing an integrated approach including language, play, story, and relationships to make meaning of their faith experiences. The findings confirm that children exhibit significant insights and understandings of faith. Those involved in Christian education are encouraged to embrace the young child’s faith experience where the children can holistically explore the biblical story, aided by intentional experiences where meaning can be constructed, and engage in informal and formal interactions with other “faithing selves” where the faith of both the young child and the adult is nurtured and grows.

Deconstructing Bible Storytelling with Preschoolers: Metacognition and Reciprocity Sandra Ludlow, Avondale College of Higher Education [email protected] Three-to-five-year-old children’s spiritual awareness, biblical knowledge, and faith formation is grounded in the process of meaning making as they listen to and reflect on Bible stories. As Christian early childhood teachers research, pray, prepare props, tell the story and reflect on the Bible story time, they consciously and unconsciously apply theoretical and pedagogical constructs to the process of intentionally nurturing young children’s spiritual awareness and faith formation. This paper reflects on and teases out, the storyteller’s metacognition before, during and after storytelling. It pays attention to the reciprocity of the relationship between the storyteller and listener as a catalyst for spiritual awareness, biblical knowledge and faith formation. The paper seeks to answer the question: What application to and implications for practice do these theories and pedagogies have for Christian educator’s Bible storytelling practices?

Sofia Cavalletti and Maria Montessori on the Moral Formation of Children, Ages 0-12 Catherine Maresca, Center for Children and Theology [email protected] This paper extracts principles of moral formation from the catechetical work of Sofia Cavalletti and the pedagogical work of Maria Montessori. Together the observation of these women yields the following elements of moral formation: • Preparation of the heart: Children live in relationship with God and others, helped by wonder and compassion. These relationships begin with life, long before the formation of conscience begins, but become the root of moral conduct after age six. • Preparation of the mind: At the age of six the facility for judgment, the conscience, begins to be formed. Help is offered with moral prophecies, parables, and maxims from the Scriptures. • Preparation of the body: The body can carry out the choice of the heart and mind only if self-discipline is present. A strong connection between will and action is fostered by the Montessori Method's use of choice, freedom, and movement.

What do Kindergarteners’ Spiritual Experiences and Expressions look like in a Secular Classroom? Jennifer Mata-McMahon, DePaul University [email protected] Findings from a phenomenological qualitative research study show that kindergarteners express their spirituality in everyday experiences and interactions through demonstrations of joy, compassion and kindness, their sense of relating to others, and/or their creative and imaginative self (Mata, 2015). This paper explores the literature on children’s spirituality, looking at different approaches to define the term. A review of empirical research studies conducted with children and an explanation of the conceptual framework used (Elkins, 1990; Hart, 2003; Hay & Nye, 2006) are also included. Parts of the data organized in thick descriptions (Merriam, 1998) and individual profiles for each of the four focal children are shared. Also, recommendations are offered for early childhood practitioners and teachers as to how to


begin incorporating strategies for spiritual support in the classroom, suggestions for further empirical research studies with children, and a call for the need to look into interdisciplinary studies through a pluricultural perspective of children’s spirituality (Mata-McMahon, 2016).

Sustainable Children’s Ministry: Developing a Thriving Ministry for the Discipleship of Children and Families Kathy McCarron, Youth Ministry Architects [email protected] Do you find yourself trying to rescue children’s programs singlehandedly? Can you leap over piles of curriculum and supplies in a single bound? Do you really want to? Children’s ministry doesn’t need a superman. Ministry that is poised to be transformational for children and families needs to be shared by the congregation, with staff, volunteers, and parents working together. This workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect on our ministries and consider their abilities to sustain the church’s vision and goals for children. Participants will discover tools for building sustainable ministries that provide the framework for transformation, growth, and creativity.

Planted like Trees: Developing Spiritual Formation Practices to Sustain Children for a Lifetime of Service in a Broken World Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources [email protected] The purpose of this workshop is to explore how we prepare children so they have the tools, the narrative and the practices to sustain a lifetime of service in this broken world. This workshop draws on the tree image in Psalm 1. The need for this workshop grows out of my experience working alongside refugees, the homeless, and other marginalized people, as well as being a pastor and spiritual director to community workers, missionaries, church ministers and young activists. Over the last 10 years, the presenter focused on writing and illustrating resources to prepare children for the ups and downs of kingdom work. This workshop is targeted for children’s ministry practitioners and those who produce curricula and resources. Its value is to encourage practitioners to think beyond childhood faith to what each person will need if they are to spend 70 more years serving Jesus.

How Intergenerational Experiences in Childhood Influence the Faith Practices of Young Adults Brian Medaris, Manhattan Christian College [email protected] The value of intergenerational faith experiences in the spiritual development of the child is well known. We value them because they help children develop a sticky faith. But what kinds of experiences are most influential over time? What kinds of practices with parents and other adults in the faith community are most beneficial? This paper presents research findings from a project conducted at Manhattan Christian College and Kansas State University identifying what role intergenerational practices in childhood have in influencing the current faith practices of young adults. The purpose of this research is to discover what types of childhood experiences involving parents and adults in the faith community correlate to formational practices as a young adult.

Making Space: Recognizing, Fostering, and Inviting Children’s Unique Spiritual Practices Erin Minta-Johnson, Vanderbilt University [email protected] Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change, and many children in the US experience childhood in the context of a fast-paced and goal driven society. While God’s presence can be known in the chaos as well


as in the calm, spiritual practices help to develop rhythms of attending to God that are important for people of all ages. This paper explores the implications of making space for children’s unique expressions of spirituality. Rather than adult caregivers instructing children in the ideologies of spirituality and religion, I suggest that we honor or create spaces in which a child can experience connection with God in that child's own way—spaces in which children can attend to the voice of God. My hope is that by doing this we all may better recognize the spiritual wisdom of children and be present to our own points of connection with God, accepting God’s invitation to live more fully.

Nurturing the Infant Soul: Spiritual Formation and Very Young Children Shirley K. Morgenthaler and Jeff B. Keiser, Concordia University; Mimi Larson (Wheaton College [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] The idea by Tertullian that Christians are made and not born informs this research which focuses on how the church can nurture the souls of very young children. Along with the Holy Spirit, the faith community embraces the child and serves to shape and nurture their spiritual development. This research explores the theoretical and conceptual issues found in the writings of Lev Vygotsky and John Westerhoff. The connections between them include subjectivity and dialogical relationships; distancing and expanding faith; the genetic law of cultural development and enculturation; and private speech and learning. This presentation will explore an understanding of nurturing the faith formation of young children based on these connections.

Worship and Wonder Models for Spiritual Formation Trevecca Okholm, Azusa Pacific University [email protected] “This is a place where we walk more slowly, talk more softly, and have all the time we need to worship God.” Thus begins the invitation to enter into a worship and wonder model of faith formation. Living in a culture—including a church culture—that fills every moment of our children’s lives with activity and entertainment, a contemplative model of faith formation holds unique potential and appeal. In this workshop you are invited to experience the rhythm and wonder that goes by such names as Children and Worship, Godly Play, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and consider ways in which such models create sacred space for holiness and the mystery of God’s presence in our lives.

God & Digital Natives: Exploring How Tweens’ High Tech Habits Relate to Their Spiritual Lives Pam Ovigwigho, Back to the Bible [email protected] Many researchers, educators, and child development experts express concerns about how growing up in the digital age will ultimately impact children’s physical (e.g., obesity), emotional (e.g., empathy), social (e.g., ability to hold conversations) and cognitive development (e.g., attention span). Less attention has focused on the spiritual implications. This paper reports on a study exploring the intersection of high-tech habits, spiritual beliefs, and spiritual practices. A survey of 1,002 tweens ages 8 to 12 assessed children’s technology habits, with a particular focus on how much time they spend playing video games. Several established instruments measuring how they view God, their tendency to avoid particular private experiences (e.g., emotions, thoughts), their empathic ability, and their basic spiritual beliefs (e.g., God’s existence) were part of the survey. This presentation will explore the relationship between tweens’ hightech habits and their spiritual lives and share implications for children’s ministry practitioners concerning the need to consider how tweens high tech habits may be impacting (or be impacted by) their faith.


A Study of Competencies for Professionals in Children’s Ministry in the Local Church in the United States Susan E. Payne, University of Northwestern [email protected] This will be a presentation of a mixed method research study conducted to determine the core competencies for Children’s Ministry Professionals in the local church in the United States. After a review of the literature, competencies were defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes that when put into action are necessary to enable professionals to perform their job at an appropriate level of proficiency. This mixed method research had two phases. In the first phase, focus groups of veteran Children’s Ministry Professionals were held to determine core competencies for a person who is hired to do a job in Children’s Ministry in the local church. The findings of these focus groups were analyzed and 96 separate competencies were organized into a competency grid. The grid separated the statements by the four types from the definition (knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes) and then seven themes that emerged from the data (Children, Bible/Christianity, Leadership, Management, People, Practical, and Personal/Self). The second phase of the research used the competency grid to develop an online survey, which was distributed to a database of 4,341 Children’s Ministry professionals. The qualitative and quantitative data will be discussed, along with conclusions, applications, and areas for further research.

What do you Wonder? The Power of Living in the Questions with Children Dana Pemberton and Suzetta Nutt, Abilene Christian University [email protected] The spiritual journey is as much about questions as answers. Like Sonjia Stewart (2000), we believe that the communal process of wondering is “a way of remaining open to the Holy Spirit, a way of meditating so that the story becomes a part of the group’s life”. Wondering invites children to go deeper into the story to find what they can discover about God and themselves. In this workshop, we will share our own experiences in wondering together with children. We will invite participants to spend some time wondering with us to discover what we might learn by living in the questions with children.

Creating Space for Contemplative Practices with Elementary Children Shannon Rains, Lubbock Christian University Winner of the Tina Lillig Best-Practices Scholarship [email protected] Children’s lives are busy and filled with noise that drowns out God’s gentle voice. The ability to withdraw, center on God, and identify God’s presence is essential in our world. Apprenticing children in these practices will prepare them to engage God in their own lives, without prompting from adults. Strength of faith and a solid identity in Christ is cultivated in times of silence, solitude, and contemplation. The goal, through this workshop, is to equip other leaders to create space for these simple, life-giving practices in any ministry model and give leaders the confidence to implement these practices, even in faith traditions new to contemplative thought.

Families at the Center of Faith Formation John Roberto, LifelongFaith Associates [email protected] This workshop is guided by the conviction that families are at the center of Christian faith formation; that parents and the family are the most powerful influence for virtually every child and youth outcome— personal, academic, social, and spiritual-religious—and that parents are the most important influence on the social and religious lives of children, youth, and emerging adults. The workshop will present a Familyat- the-Center Approach to faith formation and eight strategies for bringing it to life: 1) discovering God in everyday life, 2) forming faith at home through the life cycle, 3) forming faith through milestones, 4)


celebrating seasonal events through the year, 5) encountering God in the Bible through the year, 6) connecting families intergenerationally, 7) developing a strong family life, and 8) empowering parents and grandparents as faith formers.

Technology Tools and Media Literacy Curriculum for the Digital Natives in Children’s Ministry Classes Danielle Shrock, Mayfair Church of Christ [email protected] Children in today’s Bible classes are digital natives and need to critically interpret messages from many types of media. This is especially important as they become Christian adolescents in a digital world. This workshop offers methods for using technology to enhance children’s ministry curriculum, encourage spiritual learning, and respond to lessons from the Bible. Participants will discuss learning characteristics of digital natives and relate those characteristics to children’s ministry classes. They will learn techniques for teaching biblical concepts, helping students respond to biblical lessons, and checking for understanding. The workshop will also explain types of media and media literacy skills, especially as they apply to spiritual formation in children’s ministry, such as digital citizenship. Participants will receive examples of digital content and curriculum resources for use in bringing media literacy to their children’s ministries.

Environmental and Spiritual Considerations of an Intentionally Diverse Congregation and the Impact It Has Within Ministry Jennifer Schroeder, North Atlanta Church of Christ [email protected] While diversity in the body of Christ is a wonderful thing, we rarely see it fully embodied in the local church. This workshop will help children’s ministry leaders walk through the different considerations that impact decision-making in a diverse congregation and equip them with ministry tools for themselves, other church leaders, and their volunteers. The goals and objectives of this workshop revolve around discovering the great possibilities as well as the challenges that exist with being an ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse church and how that diversity impacts the spiritual growth. It is my intent for participants to come away with a powerful understanding of how to generate and navigate the necessary paradigm shifts throughout the congregation to ensure that everyone has the chance to know Jesus.

Inspiring Wonder and Stewardship through Creation Care Camp for Elementary Children Grace Spriggs, Church of the Redeemer [email protected] Creation Care Camp invites a sense of wonder and teaches children about creation and the Creator by combining God’s word, science, and hands-on activities. Creation Care Camp is ideal for churches, children’s ministers, and parents who are interested in an alternative to the traditional VBS camp. At camp, children explore and discover local plants and wildlife, habitats and water systems, while learning and applying biblical stewardship and discipleship to their interaction with the people and places around them. Our primary goal is to connect children’s natural wonder with active stewardship. We will share how camp uniquely integrates outdoor play and exploration with theological and ecological learning. Come learn how we developed this curriculum and why it has become a valued part of our children’s ministry by making time and space for our children to know, love, and care for God’s creation.

A Review of Effective Attitudes and Strategies for the Inclusion of Children in Worship Experiences Philip Stegink, Calvin College [email protected]


Whether it is because of overt behaviors associated with an identified disability or because unobserved disabilities lead to difficulty imagining how we might include others, children with disabilities are frequently not part of worship experiences available to non-disabled peers. This presentation will address this issue and will argue that worship communities must include children with disabilities if the community is to be a fully functioning community that reflects God’s kingdom on earth. A framework for understanding disability and worship differences will be offered as participants investigate their attitudes towards worship and their practices in worship in the context of those with disabilities.

Around the Dinner Table: The Uniform Lesson Series Unites Families . . . and Churches La Verne Tolbert, Cheryl Price, and Amber Travis, Urban Ministries, Inc. [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] A 130-year exercise in Christian unity occurs in churches across cultures, communities, and denominations weekly. The Uniform Series International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching are lessons for Christians of widely diverse theologies. Children, youth and adults apply Scripture to cope with life challenges—purpose, loss, disability, racism, drugs, and cults. It began with a resolution of the National SundaySchool Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. on April 16-19, 1872 when attendees asked for "a general study of the whole Bible". The first International Lesson Committee was appointed at that Convention, which began the historic work that continues to this day. Ecumenical history brought the Uniform Series into the National Council of Churches at the NCC’s founding, in 1950.

Cotton Patch Rebel: The Story of Clarence Jordan Ann M. Trousdale, Louisiana State University [email protected] Clarence Jordan seemed to be born with an ability to see things just a little bit differently than other people did…like his views on racial equality…like his views on how to deal with war and violence and hatred. For Clarence, the Gospel was very clear about these issues. Moreover, Jesus’ teachings were not just abstract principles; they were meant to be applied directly to everyday life. All of this got him into a lot of trouble. Today, Clarence Jordan is one of America’s unsung heroes, best known as author of the Cotton Patch Gospels and as the inspiration for Habitat for Humanity. In this session, author Ann Trousdale introduces Cotton Patch Rebel, her inspiring children’s biography of a man characterized by profound faith and courage and integrity and loving-kindness—all enlivened with an irrepressible sense of humor.

Developing and Utilizing a Narrative Framework for Spiritual Formation in a Secondary Christian School Douglas Williams and Amy Welch, Lipscomb Academy [email protected] In an effort to be intentional about the practice of spiritual formation, Lipscomb Academy has created a framework to provide guidance for faculty as they teach, coach, and mentor students. The framework includes a definition of spiritual formation, six values that shape practices, as well as standards for Bible classes and other content area courses. This session will describe the framework, the process Lipscomb Academy went through to create this framework, examples of how the framework is used, and encourage schools and churches to have similar conversations. Disclaimer Regarding Event Photos During the conference, photographs of the various activities and events will be taken for use in reporting on the conference and in promoting future conferences. These photos may be posted on our conference website, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, and may be used in articles, flyers, and other materials for reporting and promotional purposes. Anyone objecting to being included in photos is advised to register their request at the registration desk.

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