Notice the absence of any reliance on the
Holy Spirit. The credit for any success goes to human reasoning or good
Children’s Spiritual Formation: Bridging Between Theory and Ministry
"Although programs exist in each of these avenues, it is often
difficult to get successful ministry practitioners to articulate just
programs are successful. Without this descriptive analysis it is difficult to
determine whether their success is based on clearly thought out theological or philosophical
reasoning of just plain good luck. In some cases, the success may be based on the
the day' approach to
"This presentation will seek to connect theory to practice
providing a forum for
the analyzing four major models of children’s spiritual formation
to examine their theological foundations of children ministry, their philosophical
presuppositions.... These four models include the:
"Contemplative Reflective Model (characterized by moments of quiet
reflection, introspective prayer, and guided imagery).
"Instructional Analytic Model (characterized by a systematic
presentation of biblical teaching, emphasis on scripture memory with elaborate reward
systems, and hierarchical design structure).
"Pragmatic Participatory Model (characterized by a propensity towards choreographed singing, dramatic presentations of Bible stories, numerous activities in a teaching hour, and a mild integration of instructional
"Media-Driven Active Engagement Model (characterized by high energy,
heavily vested in instructional technology, with children always in motion. They
make use of dramatic arts, video, and impacting music....)"
Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation
The Contemplative Reflective Model (by
"The aim of the Contemplative-Reflective Model of children's ministry is this: to
help children encounter God in ways that result in a sense of awe and wonder, to
help them consider things of God with continued attention. The model seeks to
assist them in finding the quiet place within themselves -- a place that all
children have -- where they can sense the presence of God and hear his voice.....
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to contemplate means
'to give long
and attentive consideration, especially of spiritual matters.' In a similar
vein, to meditate means 'to focus one's thoughts or to ponder, to engage in
Yes, the Bible has many
references to meditation, but Biblical meditation -- in contrast to
Buddhist or contemplative meditation -- refers to a prayerful reflection
and focus on God's Word so that we will know and be changed by it!
"Scripture.... makes references through equivalent words. Meditate and meditation
are used numerous times.... the book of Psalms contains more than 75 percent of
the 'meditate" references in the Bible." [Pages 45-46]
"Spirituality is complex and multifaceted. In some traditional the concept of the
age of accountability lends itself to the erroneous idea that children, before
they reach a certain age.... are not spiritual in the sense that they do not
have a relationship with God. But spirituality also connotes a broader meaning,
in a sense, a universal spirituality, though not all spirituality is Christian.
This model validates that all children are spiritual and have the potential for
Christian spirituality as do all people.....
"Spirituality is described by some as awareness beyond the self, personal
or impersonal, and may be named God, a power, or a presence. The spiritual is
the nonphysical aspect of self, yet it is related to self in that we are
"Rebecca Nye, a British researchers of children's spirituality, uses the phrase
'relational consciousness' to describe this quality in children. This
consciousness possesses an existential awareness, a sensing of
mystery, as well as aspects of the values of the meaning of life.
'Spiritual' is not just something we ought to be. It is something
we are and cannot escape.... It is our nature and our destiny."
maintains that the concept of spirituality is best viewed as
tripartite: human, devotional, and practical.... It's primarily
related to one's personal and social development.
Devotional spirituality is advanced as one appropriates and
practices the teachings of a particular religious body or faith
tradition. Becoming an adherent to a particular religious group
characterizes this form of spirituality. Practical spirituality
is defined as the integration of human and devotional spirituality."
"It's reflected in the capacity that individuals have for affection,
personal friendships, resilience during adversity, endeavor, enquiry, reverence,
reflection, and a sense of interpersonal and social responsibility. Through
not overtly religious, Bradford's model seeks to demonstrate that religion can,
and often does, play an integral role in the formation of one's spirituality....
"Rebecca Nye used extensive
qualitative research on children in the UK to espouse a construct which she refers to as
'relational consciousness.' Based on extensive
interviews of children, she describes children's spirituality 'as an unusual level of
consciousness or perceptiveness relative to other passages of that child. It is characterized
by the perceptions the child in relationship to other people, God or themselves.
relational consciousness is built upon three categories of spiritual sensitivity. Each category comes with three
examples from their research. 'First is
awareness-sensing, including the 'here-and-now' experience such as meditation
sometimes practiced by Buddhists; 'tuning' which an awareness that emerges during
aesthetic experience; the intense and undivided concentration that is labeled 'flow'; and 'focusing ' which involves a holistic awareness of the body.
The second category is mystery-sensing and includes the experience of
wonder and awe associated with the ultimate mystery of life, or the use of active imagination that transcends everyday
experience. The third category of spiritual sensitivity is value-sensing, as expressed in delight or
despair.... a sense of ultimate goodness and trust in life; and the quest for ultimate meaning and
identity related to that meaning."
Salvation by faith is discussed on pages 125-126
Embraces Contemplative Spirituality!