There is great potential for faith development in intergenerational settings, but it is not always easy to know how to make this work for the benefit of all ages. The “Special Focus” of this issue of the journal looks at the potential, power, and promise of intergenerational ministry in the church. Holly Allen is our guest editor, and I thank her for pulling together a strong collection of articles to inform and challenge us. She provides an editorial to explain more about the focus of this special focus and what each of the authors has contributed. I hope you find this special focus section beneficial for thinking more carefully about your own ministry and teaching. It has made me reflect back over my own experiences, encouraging me to learn from them and not settle for a default approach to ministry that keeps the generations apart.
This article seeks to articulate the outlines of a framework that can be used for the development of a philosophy of ministry. Against the foil of the well-known model proposed by William K. Frankena in the 1960s, this model seeks to make room for a more comprehensive approach, highlighting four distinct ministry domains: learners, leaders, external communities, and systems. Seeking to delineate aims, practices, and missions for all four categories, the model attempts to recognize the need for focused theological, philosophical, and empirical attention in each domain. Finally, the article attempts to demonstrate how the model can be used as a means of facilitating the real-life implementation of the developed philosophy.
Historically, there has been theological evaluation of Christian religious education curricula, but there is a lack of systematic pedagogical evaluation of Christian religious education material. Consumer and market demand for material has resulted in very little serious examining of the material being produced. Consequently, Christian religious education material used in the church context often remains virtually unchallenged. Using current research and existing evaluation documents, this exploration raises possible parameters for a method through which to examine and evaluate curriculum, recognizing the need for an approach that critically examines the approaches to teaching and learning that undergird existing Christian religious education materials.
The objective of this article is to assist Christian educators as well as the Christian community as a whole in understanding the characteristics of childhood grief by noting the information obtained in a qualitative study composed of past childhood grievers. The participants were young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 who had lost a significant familial or relational figure when they were between ages 6 and 12. The overall purpose of the investigation was to identify constructive ways in which to support childhood grievers as they work through the grieving process.
The spiritual effects of anger in families are devastating. However, the Bible offers hope; it provides guidance on how to deal with anger constructively. This article will address the dynamics of angry families and the crucial role of parents. It will explore the contemplative method and its potential to provide biblical guidance and restoration to angry children. Specifically, the article proposes meditation and journaling as viable solutions to help children with habitual anger.
Families with children who have special needs often roam from church to church, never finding a true “home.” Parents are typically more interested in locating a supportive group that accepts their child before identifying a place they feel comfortable to grow and develop spiritually. In turn, many children’s ministry leaders are now questioning the readiness of their programs, volunteers, and facilities to minister to children with special needs. This paper examines the teachings of Jesus and how to implement the Christian calling. Woven throughout is a realistic but fictional account of a family in search of a spiritual home, the author uses Scripture to reinforce the importance of God’s acceptance of all individuals. Finally, based on Carter’s (2007) framework, the article provides an outline for children’s ministers interested in developing an inclusive ministry program.
My interest in intergenerationality grew from my family’s life-changing experiences in the 1990s with a faith community that met weekly in intergenerational small groups. Those years prompted me to change my career focus and to pursue a doctorate in Christian education which was driven by one burning question: What can explain the profound spiritual effects I observed and experienced in those intergenerational small groups? Since finishing my dissertation (Allen, 2002), I have followed the literature that tracks the growing interest in intergenerationality, which includes 46 doctoral dissertations on the topic and scores of articles as well as the books mentioned below. In general, it is the premise of those who promote intergenerational approaches in faith communities that cross-generational life together uniquely fosters spiritual formation in all age cohorts, and conversely, that perennially segregating the various generations is inherently diminishing.
During the last hundred years steady changes have occurred in society that have separated the families and segregated age groups, not only in educational settings, but in life in general. Faith communities are perhaps the only places where families, singles, couples, children, teens, grandparents—all generations—come together on a regular interacting basis. Yet, the societal trend toward age segregation has moved into churches also. Though church leaders endorse intergenerational approaches in theory, in practice American mainline and evangelical churches generally conduct many of their services and activities (worship, Sunday school, fellowship, outreach, service, etc.) in agesegregated settings. Consequently, in the second decade of twenty-first century America, all generations of the faith community—babies through octogenarians—are seldom together.
Christian congregations across the United States are rediscovering the importance of intergenerational faith formation and relationship building and making it a defining characteristic of their community life. This rediscovery comes at a time when research is finding the enduring importance of intergenerational relationships in the church community upon the faith life and church involvement of young adults. It also comes at a time when churches are questioning their overreliance on age-specific programming to the detriment of intergenerational relationships and experiences in the faith community. This article focuses on the blessings and benefits of being intentionally intergenerational and provides strategies and examples for strengthening intergenerational practices in faith formation.
This article provides a brief overview of key biblical and theological foundations for intergenerational processes in Christian faith communities. On the strength of these perspectives, it advocates that intergenerational interaction is imperative for personal Christian growth and for corporate church life if the practices of both are going to be consistent with their ecclesiology.
This article summarizes the findings of a phenomenological qualitative research study that examined intergenerationality in faith communities through interviews with fifteen leaders in four congregations that practice intentional intergenerational ministry. The article describes the four congregations’ journeys toward intentional intergenerational ministry, the role of leadership in intergenerational ministry, perceived congregational benefits, guidance for implementing intergenerationality,
and cautions regarding obstacles to implementing intergenerational ministry.
This article explores the correlation between adolescents’ spiritual growth and discipleship and the attitudes and beliefs of family, friends, and the local congregation in their role of equipping/discipling these youth. The data is drawn from a recent secondary data analysis of the Valuegenesis2 study conducted in the year 2000 among junior high and high school students attending Seventh-day Adventist schools in North America.1 The analysis indicates that the discipling/equipping
attitudes and behaviors of family, friends, Christian teachers, and the local congregation are significant in explaining adolescents’ responses to indicators of personal discipleship.
In this modified Delphi study, a panel of four intergenerational ministry experts was interviewed to determine specific factors critical to consider when establishing intergenerational youth ministry within an existing congregation. Their recommendations included (a) make intergenerational community a core value, (b) balance intergenerational with age-specific ministry, (c) make sure all leadership is fully vested, (d) educate the congregation, (e) begin where you are, (f) be intentional and strategic, and (g) include all generations and ministry venues. Hindrances included (a) failure to transition to an intergenerational paradigm, (b) lack of understanding the basis/need for intergenerational ministry, and (c) self-centeredness.
This review highlights ten publications that focus on intergenerational ministry which have been published in the last decade. Books from North American and British authors from a variety of Christian traditions are presented.
In these hectic days of informational superhighways and busy life schedules, Christian educators desiring to teach for transformation often find little time to rest and to be transformed personally. Implementing biblical models of rest, contemplation, and time alone with God could provide a balanced life that would in turn impart this lesson to our students in an integrated manner. Spiritual transformation must first flow from who we are and how we have been transformed by the Holy Spirit. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans encourages Christians to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Embracing the created design of the rhythms and cycles of life not only changes the way we think, but more importantly how we live and what we teach our students.
In this section 15 books are reviewed, presented in the following general order: children/family ministry,youth ministry, adult ministry, foundations, teaching-learning process, spirituality/spiritual formation, and leadership/administration—although reviews may not appear for each area. A list of each area and responsible editors appears after the last review in this section. We invite readers to consider reviewing a book for CEJ. Guidelines are available in downloadable documents at www.biola.edu/cej under Publications Policy on the drop down menu.
A theology of family ministries. By Michael Anthony and Michelle Anthony. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. 2011. 304 pp.
Review by Diane Lane, D.Ed.Min, Preschool and Children’s Specialist, Baptist General Convention of Texas. Adjunct Professor, Dallas Baptist University.
Family activism: Empowering your community, beginning with family and friends. By Roberto Vargas. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. 2008.
Review by Teresa D. Welch, Christian Education, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Johnson City, TN.
The vocation of the child. Edited by Patrick McKinley Brennan. Grand Rapids,MI: Eerdmans. 2008. 445 pp.
Review by Jason D. Noble, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, TX; Children’s Pastor, Hillside Church, Keller, TX.
The children of divorce: The loss of family as the loss of being. By Andrew Root. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2010. 171pp.
Review by Soo-Young Lee, candidate, PhD in Educational Studies, Biola University,La Mirada, CA.
Youth pastor: The theology and practice of youth ministry. By Houston Heflin. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2009. 160 pp.
Review by Megan G. Brown, Doctoral Student, Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, CA.
How To Be the Best Christian Study Group Leader Ever in the Whole History of the Universe. By Israel Galindo. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press. 2006. 146 pp.
Review by Clair Allen Budd, Christian Studies & Philosophy, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY.
The Christian college: A history of Protestant higher education in America. 2nd ed. By William Ringenberg. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2006. 316 pp.
Review by Benjamin Espinoza, MA student, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY.
The color of church: A biblical and practical paradigm for multiracial churches. By Rodney M. Woo. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic. 2009. 290 pp.
Review by Eddy F. Carder, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX; Resident Fellow, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, Arlington, TX.
The sacrament of evangelism. By Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie. Chicago, IL: Moody. 2011. 286 pp.
Review by Jennifer Jagerson, Curriculum Design Specialist, Hands of Mercy, Redlands, CA.
The transformation study Bible, NLT. Edited by Warren W. Wiersbe. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook. 2009. 2,318 pp.
Review by Dawn R. Morton, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, OH.
The excellent online instructor: Strategies for professional development. By Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 2011. 176 pp.
Review by Scott D. Edgar, University of Phoenix, Columbia, SC.
Formation in faith: The congregational ministry of making disciples. By Sondra Higgins Matthaei. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2008. 132 pp.
Review by Benjamin D. Espinoza, MA student, Asbury Theological Seminary,Wilmore, KY.
The way forward: Discovering the classic message of holiness. By Matt Leroy and Jeremy Summers. Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House. 2007. 191 pp.
Review by Benjamin Espinoza, MA student, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY.
Leading from the lion’s den. By Tom R. Harper. Nashville, TN: B&H. 2010. 219 pp.
Review by Kevin Nguyen, Church Planting Strategist with North American Mission Board, Chino Hills, CA.
Leaders in the crossroads: Success and failure in the college presidency. By Stephen J. Nelson. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education. 2009. 205 pp.
Review by Samuel Twumasi-Ankrah, President, Heritage Christian College, Ghana; doctoral student, Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, CA.