Many Christians face blockages in their quest for spiritual maturity that retard that process. These can be spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological in nature. This article reports on a mixed-methods research study evaluating the effectiveness of the transformational learning resulting from a discipleship process called “the Immersion Experience” by Aphesis Group Ministries. This ministry and process seek to “take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the innermost parts of the human heart.” The theoretical framework of this study was drawn from Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory, Argyris and Schon’s double-loop learning, and Kegan and Lahey’s Immunity to Change. Key Words: Transformative Learning; Discipleship; Spiritual Formation; Inner-Life Issues; Narrative Pedagogy; Spiritual Struggles.
Recent theological work on foundations of Christian education has explored a wide range of important systematic theology topics (e.g., sanctification, ecclesiology, pneumatology, Trinity, the nature of Scripture). An area that has not received much attention is eschatology. How do understandings of Christ’s promised return impact the focus of educational ministries in the church? What is important for us to learn in this time of waiting? This paper focuses on biblical images and themes associated with waiting for Christ’s return and key issues that should have an impact on Christian educators’ ministry efforts. It explores how eschatological views give direction and shape to the church’s teaching ministries.
Key Words: Eschatology, Theological foundations, Christ’s Return
The Children and Worship education approach stems from the value of children experiencing God through age-appropriate sensorimotor learning in preparation for corporate worship community. The origins of the philosophy behind Children and Worship led to the development of its distinctive approach based on the Montessori educational method. Founded by Jerome W. Berryman and Sonja Stewart in the 1980s, Children and Worship uses nonverbal and verbal experiences to teach children priorities in worship. Children and Worship is a product of rich dialogue and discovery—an approach centered on trusting God to be the leading force in child spiritual development.
Key Words: children, worship, sensorimotor learning, encountering God
This article introduces a comprehensive Christian formation model, drawing from the Genesis narrative of being created in the imago Dei (image of God) through godly love. Applicable in the Christian academy, church, and ministry contexts, this approach incorporates seven dimensions (i.e., spirit, emotions, relationships, intellect, vocation, physical health, and resource stewardship, referring to how believers handle the earth, money, and possessions). Ethical living stands as an outcome of integrated growth across these dimensions and as the vehicle to love and serve God and others. Christian educators are encouraged to apply this approach in their various contexts to foster holistic transformation.
Keywords: Whole-person Formation, Christian Formation, Spiritual Formation, Holistic Transformation, Imago Dei, Godly Love
This research explored the conceptual compatibility of Transformative Learning Theory (TLT) in accounts of spiritual renewal at Wheaton College in 1995. TLT was applied using quadrants of experience, critical reflection, rational dialogue, and action. The sample was drawn from the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. These audio interviews involved 28 people. The findings confirmed compatibility between TLT and these Christian spiritual renewal accounts. Implications involved prioritizing prayer, expanding vision, and clarifying intentions personally and collectively.
Key Words: transformative learning, Jack Mezirow, spiritual renewal, revival, Jonathan Edwards, God’s presence, Holy Spirit, Bible, confession, prayer.
Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory became a topic of focus in church education circles early in the 20th century. Gaines S. Dobbins in particular embraced and extended the principles of scientific management and efficiency at that time. This article contends that his application of these principles to church education effectively redirected the emphasis of church educational ministries to an unbalanced focus on systems and measurements. Analysis of his earlier formative works reveals a contradiction between Dobbins’s sound theological views and the practical ministry applications he developed through adoption of scientific management principles.
Key Words: Educational Ministry, Church Efficiency, Gaines S. Dobbins, Scientific Management Theory, Sunday School
The Christian Education Journal’s (CEJ) special focus for fall 2015 highlights current scholarship concerning “Curriculum Issues in Christian Education.” The apparent ongoing need to address this topic fully remains ominous. The topic is varied in width, depth, and context, as is the work of Christian educators in ministry. Few, if any, current books, textbooks, and articles address curriculum topics, as there continues to be a void in the research and practice surrounding curriculum issues. What has been written is dated, though it is still being referenced foundationally, biblically, and theologically, as well as practically, in the field. However, there are online discussions, newsletters, and blogs for practitioners networking in the field. Thus, this is a relevant topic for the Christian Educator Journal, as it has been about 20 years since CEJ has used this topic as a special focus theme. The five pieces of scholarship that have been highlighted in this edition are evidence of the breadth of this topic, which is global in nature for Christian educators in the 21st century.
As Christian educators how should we view social media? Friend or enemy? Embrace or ignore? Encourage or discourage it? How does social media affect relationships, especially relationships in terms of community and discipleship? Can social media be used as part of a discipleship strategy? The uses of social media are evident in many congregations today. This article explores the philosophical, theological, and practical questions about the uses of social media as part of a discipleship strategy. Who are the people using social media and how does their use affect the church’s discipleship strategy? The article concludes by recommending some key questions that ministry leaders must ask if they are to consider using social media as part of their discipleship strategy.
Key Words: Technology, Discipleship, Social Media
Universal truths found throughout the disciplines need to be taught through a biblical mindset. Christian interdisciplinarity hinges on the doctrine of coherence “by Him are all things held together” (Col 1:17). Framed within the boundaries of biblical theology, interdisciplinarity honors God-given reason under the rule of Divine revelation. Christian education, thoroughly permeated by biblical thinking, creates the possibility for transformational outcomes, essential questions, interactive methods, interrelational collaboration, and imaginative projects. Examples of interdisciplinarity include syllabi objectives, class creation, film discussion, crosscurrents between literature with science, as well as how economics intersects with poverty. A final diagram gives a visual implication for history, creativity, assessment, collaboration, coherence, and legacy.
Key Words: Interdisciplinary education, biblical theology of reason, project-based learning, praxis
Discipleship is the process of learning the Scriptures, internalizing them to shape one’s belief system, and then applying them to change one’s life. It is the church’s role to be actively involved in following the command given in the Great Commission (Matt 28:19–20), but contemporary research related to discipleship has revealed several concerns that the 21st-century church must acknowledge as it seeks to disciple believers. Today, more than ever, it is essential that the church develop curriculum that accurately and systematically teaches believers how to be a true disciple of Christ. To do so, church leaders must understand the process to develop and accurately design discipleship curriculum for the church. This article provides the rationale and importance for developing theologically sound discipleship curriculum by applying the 10-step model of Dick, Carey, and Carey’s Systems Approach Model for designing instruction to 21st-century church contexts.
Key Words: Discipleship, disciple, Christian education, biblical teaching, curriculum, curriculum design, biblical literacy, church education