The church exists in a kind of moral limbo where we say we live under grace, yet still know that the commandments have to have a role in our lives somewhere.
For more than a decade Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May listened to children talk about their relationships with God, observed children and their parents in learning and worship settings, and interviewed adults about their childhood faith experiences. Through case studies, it provides insight into children's perceptions of God and explores how they process their faith.
Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey weaves together their findings to offer a glimpse of the spiritual responsiveness and potential of children. It also suggests how adults can more effectively relate to and work with children and pre-adolescents to nurture their faith, offering a compelling picture of adults and children on the spiritual journey together.
How do children experience and understand God? How can adults help children grow their life of faith? Throughout more than a decade of field research, children's spirituality experts Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May listened to children talk about their relationships with God, observed children and their parents in learning and worship settings, and interviewed adults about their childhood faith experiences. This accessibly written book weaves together their findings to offer a glimpse of the spiritual responsiveness and potential of children. Through case studies, it provides insight into children's perceptions of God and how they process their faith. In addition, the book suggests how parents, teachers, and ministry leaders can more effectively relate to and work with children and pre-adolescents to nurture their faith, offering a helpful picture of adults and children on the spiritual journey together.
Catherine Stonehouse (PhD, Michigan State University), prior to her retirement, served as the Orlean Bullard Beeson Professor of Christian Discipleship and dean of the School of Practical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. She continues to serve Asbury as an adjunct professor. She is the author of the award-winning Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey. Scottie May (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of Christian formation and ministry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and coeditor of Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community. Both authors speak regularly on topics related to the spirituality of children.
"Stonehouse and May have given us a work that is enlightening, challenging, and encouraging all at the same time. It provides a long-needed look into the actual spiritual life experience of children and helps us consider how what we do in our homes and families can better encourage a growing vital faith in Christ. The book is organized well and addresses several major areas we all care about as we work with our children (e.g., worship, Scripture, prayer, salvation, compassion). It is both moving and convicting to read, and if we will give attention to what the children say, it will cause us to change some of what we do in our ministries with children and with young parents."
--Kevin E. Lawson
Director, PhD and EdD programs in Educational Studies, Talbot School of Theology;
Editor, Christian Education Journal
"Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May have listened carefully to children, using interviews and interpreting their art, and they have listened to parents. Their conclusion is not a set of norms for what children should know or a theory of children's spirituality. Their conclusion is that setting the stage for children to wonder together about God, guided by a wise and skillful mentor in a carefully prepared environment, enables them to know God well and to express what they know by making room for the Holy Spirit to be their most important teacher. The primary implication of their conclusion for both children and adults is that we need to listen with better-tuned ears to hear what Jesus had to say about becoming like a child to enter the kingdom."
--Jerome W. Berryman
Senior Fellow, Center for the Theology of Childhood, Denver, Colorado;
Founder, Godly Play
"Listening to Children in the Spiritual Journey is an outstanding resource for those who lead ministries with children and families. Pastors who care about the spiritual development of the youngest in the flock will appreciate the implications not only for ministry with children but with all the people of God, even--perhaps especially--adults."
Dean, Baylor University School of Social Work
"This book is an important addition to recent literature and research on the spiritual formation of children. The fine work by these authors, long committed to the spiritual nurture of children, should lay to rest any doubts about the capacity of children to know, love, worship, and experience God in ways that put to shame many adults."
Minister to Children and Families, Congregational Church of New Canaan, Connecticut;
Author, Formational Children's Ministry