Children--Religious life

The Dynamics of Spiritual Formation: Selected Case Studies on Christian Marital Health and its Contribution to Child Spiritual Formation

Author
John Henry Peterson Jr. D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Baptist Minister, William Tiptaft coined this relevant declaration, “Children take more notice of what their parents do, than what they say.” Actions speak louder than words. Psychologist Albert Bandura would echo the same sentiment based upon his Bobo Doll experimentation. According to Bandura, people learn through observation, imitation, and modeling. The problem is more about what is not happening in the Christian home than what is happening in the Churches. Thus, the need to investigate the dynamic characteristics of healthy Christian marriages and the influence they have on the spiritual formation in children is a worthy study. This research will not examine the cause and effect of unhealthy marital relationships, but rather focus attention on healthy examples to extrapolate data promoting spiritual formation. The Christian husband and wife relationship plays a significant role in the spiritual formation in children. Children growing up in a family where parents consistently modeled a healthy Christian marriage are more likely to embrace a similar biblical worldview as their parents. Children who grew up in a home where a healthy Christian marriage exist will most likely take ownership of their own faith and spiritual growth as adults. Christian individuals who have parents who demonstrate healthy Christian marriages will be the participants in this study. The individuals interviewed will vary in how they perceive the influence of their parent’s marital relationship in their spiritual growth. The individuals interviewed will identify similarities between their view of life and their parents shared views. The individuals interviewed will exhibit an ongoing desire to maintain an intimate relationship with God and their spouse.

DEVELOPING AND EVALUATING A BIBLICAL PARENTING RESOURCE IN MEDIA MINISTRY

Author
Steven Koster D.Min.
Abstract
Media ministry publishes gospel content on paper, on the air, and online, but few robust feedback systems are in place to measure the spiritual impact of gospel broadcasts. This study articulated a theoretical foundation of a biblical theology and review of pastoral practices on children and parenting, published a resource on biblical parenting for distribution through the Internet, and then asked the audience for feedback.

The resource was rooted in a study of how the Bible regards both children and the task of parenting. The study also explored models of faith formation, pastoral parenting best practices, and a review of the religious landscape of contemporary youth. A 93-page electronic booklet (PDF) called “A Handbook of Biblical Parenting” was developed and shared with over a thousand people online, who were then invited via email to complete an online questionnaire.

The response rate was less than 2%, yet the audience was demographically in line with the expected audience. Most respondents were actively parenting young children, expressed an improvement in their parenting confidence, and found the resource practical, using its ideas several times. Most considered faith important to their parenting and found the resource to be encouraging, biblical, and educational. Most consumed the PDF deeply, even though most used a handheld mobile device. A repeated use of this prototype process would require a greater response rate to be consistently useful. Formatting for a small screen would be wise. The questions would require adaptation for other topics. Alternatively, a shorter version of the questionnaire could focus the inquiry more directly on gathering actionable information.

The Role of Transformational Leadership in Preparing Youth as Future Church Leaders

Author
Michael Kiju Paul D.Min.
Abstract
The membership of St. Peter's Episcopal Church has been on the decline. The most affected members of the church congregants are the youth. In return, this threatens the future of the ministry. The issue is mainly attributed to the failure of former and current church leaders to prepare youth as future ministry leaders. The biblical and theological foundation of the study was based on various passages, such as Gen. 17:4-5, Exod. 3:11, Luke 10:1-16, John 20: 11-18, and 1 Corinthians 11:1, among others. The researcher depended on the above listed biblical passages since they offered insights into Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Apostle Paul’s transformational leadership. The researcher also reviewed literature about transformational leadership traits exhibited by Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Apostle Paul. The researcher also reviewed examples of the actual practice of transformational leadership in the church setting. The review revealed that transformational leaders promote individual development of their followers, empowers followers, encourage creativity by being open to new perspectives, and offer individual mentoring and coaching. A case study approach was employed for the thesis project. The researcher collected primary data from seven pastors and seven youth aged between 18 and 25 years using a self developed interview protocol. The collected data were analyzed using thematic analysis, where main themes were identified. The results revealed that transformational leadership practices, including empowerment, delegation, appreciation, encouraging creativity, and articulation of clear goals, have the potential to help youth to take up church-related roles and promote their church attendance. The thesis project plays a significant role in shaping and challenging the youth ministry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. God challenged me to work on church growth in terms of attendance and youth participation in leadership roles. He also called me to address the issue of declining youth congregants as posing a threat to the continuity of the ministry.

Nature as a Means of Adolescent Spiritual Formation

Author
James D Thompson D.Min.
Abstract
The author researched what effect a ninety-day practice of journaling and guided contemplation of God in nature would have on an adolescent's sense of connection with God using the Convergent Parallel Mixed Method approach. Quantitatively, the intervention led to a statistically significant increase from the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale pretest to the posttest. Qualitatively, through student journals and reflections, five clusters of meaning emerged: the adolescent landscape, deeper connection with God, big questions, gratitude, and common nature. If God intends creation to point people to himself, then it is a significant problem if people have lost the capacity or the desire to pay attention to creation.

Training a Select Group of Parents at Tiburon Baptist Church to Nurture Spiritually Their Children toward an Active Relationship with Jesus Christ

Author
Bruce Butler
Abstract
God's design for spiritual development begins at birth and is most deeply impacted during the early years by the child's relationship to his parents. God desires parents to influence their children toward an active relationship with Jesus Christ. In order to facilitate parental spiritual nurture, a program was developed to train a group of parents to spiritually influence children. God's vision for parenting was taught. Participants were trained to prepare and lead home devotions and to engage in teachable moments with their children. Participants successfully developed and practiced skills to become spiritual change agents to their children.

"The deaf shall hear and the blind shall see" facilitating liturgical access for a deafblind child

Author
Scott J Lill
Abstract
This paper recounts a doctoral project to facilitate liturgical access for a five year old deafblind child. With John 9:1-41 as a theological context, and assisted by a team of the child's family members and select parishioners, the pastor developed and executed a plan of liturgical reintroduction by appropriating some best practices from deafblind education, including the use of an intervener and the creation of a "tactile missalete." Implemented over six weeks, the perceived progress of the project, as observed in the child's changing level of engagement, was tracked through group discussions and the sharing of field notes.

The impact of attachment to God and resilience in an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK) after experiencing the separation loss event of leaving home

Author
Gilbert L Kinch
Abstract
The purpose of this thesis was to investigate whether an Adult Third Culture Kid's (ATCK's) attachment to God was based on their faith and their resilience level was associated with the type of grief process experienced after transition back into the passport culture. This grief was experienced after leaving home in their host country from the loss produced by the unavailability of attachments that anchored their lives. The primary focus of the study was to determine whether or not there were correlations between attachment to God, resilience, and grief. This research, using correlation analysis supported the hypothesis that there are correlations.

Moving Good News Club children beyond conversion to obedient biblical discipleship

Author
Jeffrey G Kolk
Abstract
This dissertation traces the development and implementation of a plan to assist the greater Fort Worth chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in fulfilling its purpose to disciple children through Good News Clubs. The study tests the premise that as children are taught spiritual disciplines and learn to practice them on a consistent basis, they grow spiritually and fulfill CEF's purpose to disciple children in the Word of God. Research analysis determines that a 6-week program using a daily workbook assignment with an accountability system to encourage the practice of spiritual disciplines achieved the five goals of the study.

Understanding the relationship of the technologies of cell phones and social media with selected values in students

Author
James D Gribnitz
Abstract
Kids are growing up in a completely different world from their parents, and the technological boom is a major reason for this change. This research will seek to show how this technology relates to their values in three specific areas: authority, narcissism, community. The implications for parents are large, and the responsibility is great. Parents must first learn to model for students the values that they hold and want their kids to hold as well.

Stages of faith: applying current faith development research to a local church context

Author
David W Zirilli
Abstract
This project presented a grounded theory based upon the researcher's interviews and current faith development research. The problem that this project addressed is that there is currently no general understanding of how current faith develpment research can be used to promote the spiritual development of children who are raised in Harmony. The six key areas of spiritual growth identified in these interviews are: relationship with parents, relationships with peers, relationship with significant adults, search for identity, transformative life events, and God's activity. Parents must be more concerned with their child's spiritual development than transferring their own faith to them.
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