Series 3

Volume 13, Issue 1

Spring 2016, Christian Education and Special Needs Ministry

Special focus issues also contain articles of general interest to the field of Christian education.

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Articles in this Issue

  1. Editorial: The Least of These?

    By Dr. Kevin E Lawson — Pages 3-6

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  2. Relationships Matter: The Impact of Relationships upon Emerging Adult Retention

    By Dr. Megan G. Brown — Pages 7-27

    In recent years, a number of studies have surfaced focusing upon attrition and retention issues as they relate to emerging adult church attendance. Both researchers and practitioners have shown interest in the attendance pattern of emerging adults. This article explores the experiences of emerging adults and provides evidence for the importance of relationships, when emerging adult retention is considered. Understanding the impact of relationships may provide ministries with helpful information to consider in the quest to retain emerging adults. The findings presented are followed by potential ministry implications for a variety of ministry contexts.

    Key Words: Emerging Adults, Retention, Ministry, Church, Relationships

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  3. Assessing the "Buzz" about Mirror Neurons: A Modest Theological Critique

    By Dr. Daryl Frederick Busby — Pages 28-42

    Mirror neurons provide a case study for grappling with the role that neuroscience can play in the integrative work of Christian educators. Drawing upon previous efforts to integrate Christian education and selected sciences, the article offers some advice when engaging with this new field. Also, using the image of a movie with various roles, the article offers theological reflections for addressing possible integration between neuroscience and the biblical text. The article also suggests practical applications for the classroom

    Key Words: mirror neurons, theology and Christian educators

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  4. Parenting that Reflects the Character of God

    By Dr. Perry W. H. Shaw — Pages 43-58

    Children’s initial understandings of God are profoundly shaped by their relationships with their earthly parents. Quality Christian parenting will strive to reflect the character of God as a key element in nurturing the child’s emerging relationship with God. Through providing unconditional love with clear boundaries we lay a foundation for children to experience the love and holiness of God.

    Key words: parenting, character of God, love, holiness, boundaries

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  5. "Conquering the 'Tyrranical Commander:'" Richard Baxter on the Perils of Pride in Christian Ministry

    By Dr. David P Setran — Pages 59-80

    Pride continues to be a prevalent vice among those who serve as professional ministers and Christian leaders. English Puritan Richard Baxter (1615–1691) was attentive to this concern and wrote a great deal on ministerial pride in his various publications. He explored the ways in which pride infected ministers both through an elevated personal assessment and through a heightened desire for human praise. This article examines his diagnosis of the diverse manifestations of ministerial pride and looks carefully at his recommendations for addressing its corrosive influence, providing insights and suggestions for contemporary Christian ministers.

    Key Words: Richard Baxter, pride, envy, vice, ministry, leadership

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  6. Guest Editorial: Reaching Those with Special Needs-Christian Education and Special Needs Ministry

    By Dr. Gregory C. Carlson — Pages 81-84

    Christian educators have long asserted that every individual God gives us to teach should have access to sound learning opportunities. This is true whether considering the teaching-learning process (LeBar, 1989, p. 175), learning styles (LeFever, 1995), or transformed lives (Newton, 2012). Curriculum as a “pathway for believers” to move toward maturity (Estep, White, & Estep, 2012, p. 2), motivation for church attendance (Shultz & Schultz, 2013, p. 28) and enhanced Christian formation (Smith, 2011, p. 140) necessitates a focus on the student’s needs. According to Gregory’s classic The Seven Laws of Teaching (1884/1995), gradual advancement through the stages of learning is the best way for the learner to grasp the material. (p. 42). Unfortunately, for many individuals with special needs these learning opportunities are limited and the process is too abrupt.

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  7. Special Needs Goes to Church: A Special Education Primer for Ministry

    By Dr. Peter L. Wright and Dr. Ruby L. Owiny — Pages 85-108

    Before church ministry practitioners can fully implement ministries to meet the needs of those with disabilities and their families, it is important for them to have a basic understanding of special education. This article provides information to help readers understand foundational concepts and vocabulary related to disabilities in order to allow them to understand those that are, or could be, part of their congregation. The article concludes with ideas for churches to consider in developing ministries that serve those with disabilities and their families.

    Keywords: disabilities, church, primer, foundation of special education

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  8. Recommendations for Including People with Intellectual Disabilities in Faith Communities

    By Victoria Slocum — Pages 109-126

    Although people with intellectual disabilities have a low rate of participation in faith communities, such participation has been identified as playing a significant role in their quality of life. This literature review examines the literature for recommendations of specific strategies to increase the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the life and activities of faith communities. The results indicate that there is a need for meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in faith communities beyond physical presence. Several strategies for doing so are recommended, including utilizing the expertise of special educators, using explicit teaching strategies, and providing training for leaders and members of faith communities. Recommendations for further research are discussed.

    Key Words: faith communities, religion, spirituality, disabilities, inclusion

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  9. Being Present Versus Having a Presence: Dimensions of Belonging for Young People with Disabilities and Their Families

    By Dr. Eric W. Carter and Elizabeth E. Biggs and Thomas L. Boehm — Pages 127-146

    Faith communities aspire to be places of healing, hope, and healthy relationships that bring life to every member. For individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families, finding a place of belonging within such a community can have great importance. In this qualitative study, we explored the experiences of belonging among 25 parents who were involved in a local church and had a son or daughter with IDD. We present 10 dimensions of belonging that reflect a trajectory of deepening relationship—beginning with being present and culminating in being loved. We discuss implications of this framework for cultivating inclusive communities and offer recommendations for future research at the intersection of faith and disability.

    Keywords: faith, autism, inclusion, social relationships, religion


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  10. Equipping Minds for Christian Education: Learning from Neuroscience for Christian Educators

    By Carol T. Brown — Pages 147-168

    The purpose of this article is to use the discoveries in neuroscience and the theories, programs, and research of Dr. Reuven Feuerstein to bring hope to parents, Christian educators, and interventionists of learners with neurodevelopmental learning disorders (NLD): autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), specific learning disorder, intellectual disability (Intellectual Developmental Disorder), communication disorders, and motor disorders. For sake of privacy, the name used in the case study is a pseudonym.

    Key Words: Neuroplasticity, Cognitive development, Feuerstein, Equipping Minds, Working memory, Neurodevelopment disorders, Down syndrome, Mediated learning

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  11. The Gospel of Luke: A Framework for a Theology of Disability

    By Dr. Kathy McReynolds — Pages 169-178

    A disability is anything that puts one at a disadvantage. This article will argue that Christ’s ministry to the vulnerable and the outcast provides a model and a mandate for the church to reach out to those with disabilities. In Luke, Jesus highlights those with disabilities as “unexpected” disciples, as examples of true humility—a hallmark of discipleship—and as those who will be most welcome into the kingdom of God.

    Key Words: Suffering, Disability, Luke, Ministry

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  12. Book Reviews

    By — Pages 179-229

    Seven family ministry essentials: A strategy for culture change in children’s and student ministries. By Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook. 2015. 235pp.
    Review by Lynette J. Miller, Former Children’s Ministry Director, Maple City Chapel, Goshen, IN.

    Developing a faith-based education: A teacher’s manual. By Barbara J. Fisher. Macksville, New South Wales: David Barlow Publishing. 2010. 234pp.
    Review by Mimi L. Larson, Guest Assistant Professor, Wheaton College, Wheaton IL.

    Reimagining faith formation for the 21st century: Engaging all ages & generations. By John Roberto. Naugatuck, CT: Lifelong Faith Publications. 2015. 138pp.
    Review by Colleen Derr, Associate Professor of Congregational Formation and Christian Ministries, Wesley Seminary, Marion, IN.

    Saying is believing: The necessity of testimony in adolescent spiritual development. By Amanda Hontz Drury. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    2015. 173 pp.
    Review by Matthew D. Deprez, Intergenerational Pastor, Frontline Church, Grand Rapids, MI.

    Generations together. By Kathie Amidei, Jim Merhaut, and John Roberto. Naugatuck, CT: Lifelong Faith Publications. 2014. 174pp.
    Review by Cory L. Seibel, Point Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Edmonton, Alberta.

    Youth ministry in the 21st century: Five views. By Chap Clark (Ed.), Fernando Arzola, Brian Cosby, Ron Hunter, and Greg Sier. Grand Rapids, MI:
    Baker Academic. 2015. 180 pp.
    Review by Darwin K. Glassford, Professor of Church Education and Director of M.A. Programs, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI; and Executive Pastor, Harderwyk Ministries, Holland, MI.

    Spiritual formation in emerging adulthood: A practical theology for college and young adult ministry. By David P. Setran and Chris A. Kiesling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2013. 239 pp.
    Review by Sheila Lanky, Youth and Family Ministry student, Denver Seminary, Littleton, CO.

    Foundations of education: A Christian vision. Edited by Matthew Etherington. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. 2014. 257pp.
    Review by David P. Setran, Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.

    Teaching the way of Jesus: Educating Christians for faithful living. By Jack L. Seymour. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2014. 201 pp. 

    Teaching biblical faith: Leading small group Bible studies. By Jack L. Seymour. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2015. 116 pp.

    Bible-shaped teaching. By John Shortt. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock. 2014. 76pp.
    Review by Dawn R. Morton, Associate Dean for Institutional Assessment and Assistant Professor of Christian Formation and Leadership, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, OH.

    Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Series: Vol. 50. Religious education in thirteenth-century England: The creed and articles of faith. By Andrew Reeves. Boston, MA: Brill. 2015. 218pp.
    Review by Ted Newell, Education Faculty, Crandall University, Moncton, Canada.

    Dictionary of Christian spirituality. Edited by Glen G. Scorgie, Simon Chan, Gordon T. Smith, and James D. Smith III. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
    2011. 852 pp.
    Review by Mark D. Eckel, President, The Comenius Institute, Indianapolis, IN and Professor of Leadership, Education and Discipleship, Capital Seminary and Graduate School, Washington, D.C.

    Mapping your academic career: Charting the course of a professor’s life. By Gary M. Burge. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press. 2015. 144pp.
    Review by Nishanth Thomas, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Spiritual Development, Pillar College, Newark, NJ.

    The professor’s puzzle: Teaching in Christian academics. By Michael S. Lawson. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic. 2015. 296 pp.
    Review by Josh T. Amwago, part time lecturer, Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya.

    Undisciplining knowledge: Interdisciplinarity in the twentieth century. By Harvey J. Graff. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2015. 323 pp. Review by Mark D. Eckel, President, The Comenius Institute, Indianapolis, IN; Professor of Leadership, Education and Discipleship, Capital Seminary and Graduate School, Washington, D.C.

    Called to be saints: An invitation to Christian maturity. By Gordon T. Smith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. 2014. 250 pp.
    Review by Mary W. Mwangi, Educational Ministries, International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya.

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