Fall 1997

Editor: Mark Edward Simpson, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

In This Issue

Innovations of the Heart and Mind: From Main Street into the Future (Part II) by Daryl Eldridge

Movie Critic Musings by David Rahn

NAPCE Internet Update by Mark Simpson

The Value of NAPCE Membership by Dennis Williams

Research Grant Guidelines

News Briefs

Annual Conference Update

Youth Ministry Educators Forum

NAPCE 1997 Conference

Innovations of the Heart and Mind: From Main Street into the Future (Part II)

Daryl Eldridge, Vice President

As a child, I enjoyed vacationing at my grandparents every summer. They lived on the outskirts of a small Midwestern town. The town, like so many small towns in America, had a town square and a Main Street. This short strip of commerce was the center of community life. On Main Street was the Five and Dime, where grandmother bought us jacks and marbles. Down the street was the café where we enjoyed cold root beer served in frosted mugs. Across the street was the movie theater where a dollar was all you needed for an afternoon of entertainment. Nestled behind the bank was the church where we attended Vacation Bible School. The pharmacy, the bank, and the gasoline stationowned and operated by my uncleall seemed to move at a slower pace than the city in which I lived. People spoke to one another by name and their lives appeared intertwined like the cords in our jump rope.

The stores have changed on Main Street since my childhood days. The Five and Dime is now a resale shop. The Chevrolet dealer has moved out on the highway. The theater is boarded up. While the faces and shops have changed, relationships are still a priority in that county seat town.

This years NAPCE meeting which convenes on the Main Street of the Radisson Grand Resort is a reminder of the importance of relationships in our personal and professional life. As the board reflected on what attracted our members to our conference, we concluded that it is not the speaker or the program that draws members back each year, but the relationships with colleagues. Our spiritual and mental growth as Christian educators is due in part to the relationships within this body. This years retreat setting will provide planned opportunities for our members to get to know one another. Even our plenary sessions are designed for lots of interaction.

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I would encourage you to sign up for the Saturday Night Special, Death by Staff Infection. This educational game was developed by Kevin Lawson to introduce students and church staff members to a variety of issues surrounding multiple-staff ministry. The game is designed for a limited number of players, so you will want to make sure you have signed up.* Calvin Miller and Benjamin Harlan will lead us in exploring the role of Christian educators as spiritual leaders. What role do Christian educators have in the spiritual formation of divinity students? How is our own spirituality reflected in our teaching? If Christianity is caught as well as taught, what is the hidden curriculum that impacts the lives of our students?

The conference includes more opportunities for fellowship and spiritual reflection. James Michael Lee suggests that the quality of the religious educators life is intimately bound up with the quality of that persons teaching ministry. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to hone your teaching and professional skills through conference sessions such as improving platform skills, using the computer in presentations, writing grants, and creative teaching. Kevin Compton, a venture capitalist from San Jose, will open our imagination to the future of technology in education.

Calvin Miller in The Table of Wilderness writes, "The church fathers spoke of otium sanctum or holy leisure. A relaxed contemplation of the indwelling Christ allows for an inner communion impossible to achieve while oppressed by busyness and care." NAPCE has been a "holy leisure" for me. It has provided a respite from the demands of teaching where I can charge my mental and spiritual batteries. I hope this years conference will be that for you. Remember to dress casualwe are in a wonderful retreat setting. Come join us as we journey from Main Street into the Future.

*The Death by Staff Infection game is 90 minutes long and will be played Saturday evening, October 18th, at 7:00 p.m. The game has a limited number of players, so if you would like to join the game, please contact Kevin Lawson at Talbot School of Theology, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639-0001.

Right: The entrance to the Radisson Grand Resort Charlottethe expansive lobby connects the resort rooms to Main Street, which is lined with gift and snack shops.

Movie Critic Musings

David Rahn, President

Even before Michael Medved graced our program in Denver last Fall, I've been intrigued with the role that movie critics play in society. How does one actually get such a job? And where does one's authority come from to offer the crucial "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to a work of popular art? Are the critics who wield the greatest popular influence the BEST critics? If not, how are the best critics so acclaimed?

Forgive me if the connections to Christian education are too strained, but I am sometimes fearful that we teachers and mentors of ministry professionals might become self-referential as it relates to our own base of authority. It seems to me that we can slide toward obscurity and irrelevance if the only persons who recognize our "critical role" are also members of NAPCE. On the other hand, I don't think it healthy if our authority to speak constructive criticism to the Church's practice of ministry is purely a function of our popularity. I suspect we all know what sells on the ministry market, and we've probably all been embarrassed at one time or another that it sells so well!

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Like the field of Christian education, we are left with the challenge to strike a balance. I admire some of our NAPCE membership deeply for their insights on ministry. Others have taught me much about communicating those same insights. It seems to me that we must find our critical, necessary message in the untainted authority of Truth while actively pursuing a fair hearing (another kind of authority) in the Church by building bridges. Let's be sure that we support one another in this tough task. I want someone to notice when I offer a "thumbs up!"

NAPCE Internet Update

Mark Simpson, Newsletter Editor

Its a tangled web we weavewell, hopefully not. Ive learned a great deal more about web page design since my first edition of the NAPCE Newsletter on line, and I hope you will see that reflected in this current issue on our web site. (Hopefully you also will have noticed that this hard copy now has a color logo!) Although my web page software claims to be WYSIWYG, what you see isnt always what you get. Thus I have discovered through much trial and error that being granted access to upload and download files on your institutions server is critical in managing web pages.

When I first designed the newsletter web pages, I envisioned a link between the NAPCE homepage at Biola and the newsletter pages at Southernsimple in theorybut it proved complex in practice. The web became tangled at the Biola site, where the web page designer did not have upload and download access and could not update our homepage without some difficulty. Thus most of the information on our homepage was inaccurate and/or several months out of date, and even the link to the newsletter site was proving to be problematic.

After consultation with our President David Rahn and with Michael Anthony (who initiated the arrangements for our first homepage at Biola), it was suggested that we untangle the w