Presentations from Past Gatherings
What can you expect at a Children's Spirituality Summit gathering? Take a look at this small sample of presentations from past gatherings to get an idea of the type of ideas you might engage with in June 2020!
The three-day gathering is packed full of learning opportunities including keynote presentations, academic papers, workshops, experiential "Taste and See" presentations, and short "Quick Takes." Each presentation style is carefully chosen to connect best with the content and provides opportunity for conversation with presenters and other conference attendees!
"Resilience, Spirituality, and Refugee Children”
During the fall 2017 semester, eleven Lipscomb University undergraduates spent one-on-one time with eleven children from Nations Ministry Center, an afterschool program for refugee children with the purpose of fostering the children’s spirituality – their relationships with themselves, others, and God. This session will share the insights gained through the children’s responses to these experiences and will address how the spiritual activities intersect with common feelings, challenges, and needs of refugee children, and along the way, promote resilience in these at-risk children.
“An Alternative Strategy for Children's Discipleship: A Case Study”
Harderwyk Ministries encourages families to worship together until the sermon and then invites children to a lesson on sermon text. This shifts the intergenerational worship question from “Where are children seated in relationship to adults?” to “How do we encourage children and adults to interact as they grow in faith together?” This case study examines the goals, benefits, and challenges of this approach.
“Deepening Children’s Thinking: Children’s Ministry Curriculum through the Lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy”
Christian education within the church desires that children learn and be spiritually formed as a result of instruction. As many ministries rely on published curriculum to guide their instruction, it is important to distinguish how curriculum encourages children to think. Does curriculum push past foundational understandings and engage children in higher levels of thinking? Utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy as a framework for analysis, this research seeks to understand the ways evangelical published children’s ministry curricula utilize both the lower and higher levels of thinking in their materials, and how higher level thinking can promote spirituality in children.
“Spiritual Direction with Children”
Children without a listening and guiding companion miss opportunities to build connections with God and others. We will explore spiritual direction with children that helps children recognize and respond to the movement of God. We examine four elements as tools of engagement: practices of listening, play, projection, and whole person prayer.
“From Barriers to Belonging: Welcoming Children with Developmental Disabilities”
What does it really mean to belong within a faith community? This presentation will spur deeper reflection about the ways in which churches might welcome and weave people with intellectual disability or autism (and their families) more fully into the relationships and activities that make up a life of flourishing.
“Do You Make House Calls? Creating a culture of missional family discipleship in the local church”
We know the home is the best place for kids to drink in the gospel of Jesus Christ and learn the habits of holiness. Home visits help children’s and family ministers come alongside the families in their congregation to provide encouragement, prayer, equipping and support. This workshop will provide practitioners with motivation, tools, and information to support the development of a home-visit culture in your church.
“Spiritual Learning Styles: How does a child most naturally connect with God?”
An intriguing approach to children’s spiritual formation provides practical ideas (including an assessment) for ministry leaders, teachers and parents to individualize and diversify the ways we encourage children's growth in faith and their shared bond with God.
Taste & See
“Songbirds and the Wild Wonder of Creation”
Experience the wonder of God’s creation. This Taste and See experience is drawn from the Wild Wonder curriculum which is designed to minister to the whole child—body, mind, and spirit. Children study the science of creation through experiments and observation; they spend time being still and listening for God’s voice; and they laugh and play and eat good food. Children are reminded that they are wonderfully made, and that it is good and pleasing to the Father when they enjoy his good gifts of creation with their whole being.
Children's worship experiences need to be sized to fit the needs of young children. Too often we confuse our teaching time and our worship time. Worship is a time to speak to God and listen to him through songs, litanies, liturgy, God's Word, and prayer. This is a time when we limit ourselves to the songs, litanies, and liturgies that children already know. Worship must be participatory for each child, making sure that prior teaching/learning times have made the songs, litanies, and liturgies well known to the children in this setting.
“A Family Easter Vigil"
A family liturgy experience shaped from the Book of Common Prayer (public domain). For children’s ministry leaders, it provides another at-home activity for those parents or guardians looking for resources but who may not attend a church with an Easter Vigil for Holy Saturday. It is a 20-25-minute interactive time that retells the story of redemption throughout Scripture, culminating in the resurrection of Christ.