Editor: Mark E. Simpson, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Take Another Look
D. A. Carson on Postmodernism
Dennis Williams Honored with Distinguished Christian Educator Award
NAPCE Board Report
NAPCE Membership and Financial Report
San Diego 99 Conference Preview
Update on Research Grants
NAPCE began as the Research Commission of the National Sunday School Association. The records show that our organization was established to promote the idea of improving Christian education in local churches. At that time, the membership consisted of evangelical teachers, professors and writers in the field of Christian education. In the 60's more concentration began to focus on the needs of higher education. In 1970, the Research Commission changed its name to the National Association of Professors of Christian Education, and the function of "fellowship and mutual enrichment among association members" was established. NAPCE branched out on its own in 1985 with its present mission and purposes. A name change in 1991 clarified our identity as the North American Professors of Christian Education.
Our bylaws state that members of the organization shall consist of "persons who teach Christian education in institutions of higher learning, persons who teach in related areas, persons who formerly taught Christian education, leaders of related Christian education organizations, and who pay annual dues" (NAPCE Bylaws, Article VI, Section 1). Observation: our membership has a rich heritage of research, concern for local church Christian education, and involvement in professional higher education.
The purposes of NAPCE are: 1) to promote discussion, research and writing which gives focus, direction and theological integration to the field of Christian Education; 2) to provide opportunities for fellowship, dialogue and encouragement for professors of Christian education and related disciplines; 3) to expose Christian educators to interdisciplinary issues germane to our mission; 4) to advance cross-cultural Christian educational ministries; and 5) to develop essential knowledge, attitude and skill competencies for Christian educators.
Our main vehicle to accomplish these ends is the annual convention, and our recent conference at Nashville and the hospitality of LifeWay Christian Resources will not soon be forgotten!
The Current Research, arranged by Kevin Lawson, expanded our understanding of college work, exposed us to specific aspects of Christian education, and provided different perspectives from cultures across the globe. The Season of Life workshops that Denise Muir Kjesbo put together were an encouragement for development. I hope you received a copy of the gift LeRoy Ford gave us through his paper, "If I could begin over. . . I like to think that I would . . . ." D.A. Carsons challenge to address the thinking of the postmodern mind and Carolyn Tennants penetrating call to adjust our attitude and practice to minister to our multi-cultural world promoted our growth in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural issues. The professional development workshops coordinated by J. E. Harvey Martin enabled us to gain skills in publishing, teaching, web page design, looking ahead and training youth and adults. Observation: the living legacy we enjoy should propel us to even more effective ministry in the days ahead.
Our board members are ready to serve you! Each board member has been an assigned area of service and work is already underway for the continued enhancement and development of NAPCE resources and services. The 1999 conference will be held in San Diego at the Hanalei Hotel. The theme will be centered around the idea of the spiritual formation of our students. Work is already underway for our 2000 conference: we promise not to use the word Y2K in the theme. Our web site is increasing a valuable tool for communication, information, dialogue and encouragement, and there are plans in progress to enhance it even further as an essential educational resource for our membership. Our board members are working to enhance our other resources, such as placement listings, research grants, networking groups, conference resources, etc. The focus of my work as your president will be upon enabling these resource developments, encouraging friendships, promoting research, and developing the skills of writing, teaching and thinking within the academy of Christian educators. Observation: based on the motivation, participation, and resources available, NAPCE will remain a primary vehicle for the cultivation of personal and professional development of Christian educators in the years ahead.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you in this fine organization. I invite you to make NAPCE an even more effective tool through your involvement.
D. A. Carson on Postmodernism
Perry G. Downs, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Don Carson served us very well with a cogent and incisive analysis of the primary issues and the sweeping themes of Postmodernism. He began with exposing six characteristics of Modernism, showing how they all grew out of Enlightenment categories. These six characteristics were then examined in relation to Postmodernism, showing how five of the six have been modified or reversed. His conclusion was that Christians should be neither modernists nor Postmodernists: instead, Christians should be sensitive to the issues of both philosophies and be able to engage the philosophical underpinnings of both perspectives. He concluded the first evening by exploring five cultural correlations with the rise of Postmodernism, urging us to understand both the dangers and the correctives offered by Postmodern perspectives. He warned us against the easy response of demonizing Postmodernism while ignoring its positive correctives to Modernism.
On Friday Carson offered a biblical and theological analysis of Postmodernism. He began by making four preliminary theological reflections, stressing the necessity of exposing a largely unrecognized false antithesis established by many Postmodernists, viz either human beings have access to absolute exhaustive knowledge, or we are lost in a sea of relativity. He warned that if we grant this antithesis we will never effectively argue for the possibility of knowing any truth. He then explored Acts 17:16-31 to gain insights into how Paul confronted a culture virtually devoid of any biblical frameworks. He concluded by drawing six implications for evangelizing the current generation, primarily by teaching the biblical story and focusing on redemption history to establish a biblical world view.
Responses were exceedingly positive, with great appreciation for his sweeping analysis, passion for the Gospel and engagement with a wide spectrum of literature. His clear communication and lively presentation made issues alive. With humor, pathos and synthesis, he helped set an agenda for education of a new generation who must be equipped to engage contemporary culture with wisdom, sensitivity and grace.
His book, The Gagging of God (Zondervan, 1996) is an excellent resource for understanding how Christianity confronts pluralism in contemporary culture.
Dennis Williams Honored with Distinguished Christian Educator Award
Mark Simpson, Southern Seminary
On October 17th during the annual conference, Dennis E. Williams was honored by the NAPCE membership as the 1998 recipient of the Distinguished Christian Educator Award. Dennis wife Cornelia was present for the award, as was his daughter Jean (the Williams son Michael was unable to attend).
Recipients of the Distinguished Christian Educator Award are chosen annually by the NAPCE Board to honor professors who have made significant life long contributions to the advancement of Christian education ministries and the work of the organization. Normally recipients are aware that they have been chosen to receive the award prior to the presentation ceremony at the annual conference. However, because Dennis is on the NAPCE board, the board members voted by e-mail to surprise Dennis with the award during the Nashville conference. Keeping the secret for ten months was not easy, given Dennis devotion to keeping up on all the details of NAPCE operations. However, the board was successful and the award was presented by Brian Richardson during the final luncheon of the conference.
Dennis Williams is Dean of the School of Christian Education and Leadership of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as Executive Administrator of NAPCE. He has served twice as President of the Board of Directors. Dennis career in Christian education has included serving on church staffs, providing leadership for several Sunday School organization and conventions, chairing the department of Educational Ministries and Administration at Denver Seminary where he taught for 23 years, and teaching in several international contexts. In 1991 he received the "Distinguished Educator Award" from the Southwestern Baptist Religious Education Association.
Dennis has numerous published works, including Volunteers For Todays Church, which he co-authored with Ken Gangel, contributions to the Leadership Handbook of Practical Theology, Volume Two and Christian Education: Foundations For The Future and articles in Christian Education Today, Christian Education Journal, Key To Christian Education, Leader Idea Bank, Small Group Letter and Super Sunday School Sourcebook.
NAPCE Board Report
The NAPCE Board consists of ten board members. Each board member is elected to a four year term of service. Five of the ten board members are chosen by the board to serve as officers for a period of two years.
Every two years, five of the ten NAPCE board member terms expire. The five outgoing board members of the Class of 1998 were Perry Downs, Daryl Eldridge, Robert Pazmiņo, David Rahn and Catherine Stonehouse. The NAPCE membership wishes to expresses its gratitude to these five men and women for their faithful service to NAPCE these past four years.
The five continuing board members of the Class of 2000 are Greg Carlson, Faye Chechowich, Jim Davies, Mark Simpson and Judy TenElshof. During the called business meeting at the annual conference, the NAPCE membership in attendance elected the Class of 2002 to the board consisting of Mark Cannister, Cheryl Fawcett, Mari Gonlag, Norma Hedin and Mark Senter.
The NAPCE board met following the annual conference and elected five of the ten board members to serve as officers for the next two years. The remaining five board members chose service positions on the board. The configuration of the NAPCE board is as follows:
President - Greg Carlson (Class of 2000)
Vice President - Judy TenElshof (Class of 2000)
Vice President - Mark Cannister (Class of 2002)
Secretary - Faye Chechowich (Class of 2000)
Communications - Mark Simpson (Class of 2000)
Research Proposals - James Davies (Class of 2000)
Conference Notebooks - Cheryl Fawcett (Class of 2002)
Placement - Mari Gonlag (Class of 2002)
Research in Progress - Norma Hedin (Class of 2002)
Networking - Mark Senter (Class of 2002)
Dennis Williams continues to serve NAPCE and the board as Executive Administrator.
NAPCE Membership and Financial Report
Dennis Williams, Exec. Administrator
The membership of the association has reached 252 for the 1998-1999 year (October 1-September 30). This is the highest membership we have had in several years and indicates the growing strength of the association. However, many who receive the newsletter have not renewed their membership. We invite you to do so for the coming year.
Membership is open to persons who teach Christian education in institutions of higher learning, persons who teach in related areas, persons who formerly taught Christian education in colleges or seminaries, and leaders of related Christian education organizations. Full membership is $40 per year and student membership is $25 per year. Checks should be made to NAPCE and payable in U.S. funds. Memberships received between now and March 1st will be counted for the 1998-1999 membership year. Please send your membership fee along with your name and title, address (indicate home or work), home phone, work phone, fax line, e-mail address and school/organization to:
Dennis E. Williams
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
2825 Lexington Road " Louisville, KY 40280
Phone: (502) 897-4813 " Fax: (502) 897-4004
E-mail: [email protected]
Please indicate if we have permission to post your name, organization, work phone and e-mail address on our online directory (home address and home phone numbers are not posted on the NAPCE web site).
The following financial report was received by the NAPCE Boarddetailed information is available from each board member.
Mark Lamport, Huntington College
Each issue of the NAPCE Newsletter features two book reviews by our membership. These new reviews, in addition to reviews from previous newsletters, are available online at the NAPCE web site.
Chaffee, Paul. 1997. Accountable leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. ISBN: 0787903647. Reviewed by Gary Newton, Associate Professor of Educational Ministries, Huntington College.
As a veteran pastor and institutional leader, Chaffee writes from a reservoir of experience on how to deal with a broad range of ethical, financial and legal issues in ministry. Summarizing the advice from a wide range of denominational experts, the book provides hundreds of valuable resourcesbooks, periodicals, training programs, agencieswhere church and parachurch leaders can find additional sources of information.
The text would prove invaluable to students entering ministry who are ignorant of the complex legal issues of ministry in todays culture. It would also serve as a resource for leaders working with church or organizational boards. Topics relating to legal requirements, the governing board, financial management, employment practices, clergy misconduct, abusive behavior and contracting are covered thoroughly and clearly. The resources provided at the end of each chapter provide current sources of additional help and information.
This text would be especially useful as a supplementary resource book in a college or seminary class in administration or leadership.
Conn, Harvie M., ed. 1997. Planting and growing urban churches: From dream to reality. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 272 pages. ISBN: 080102109X. Reviewed by Doug Barcalow, Associate Professor of Educational Ministries, Taylor University.
Harvie Conn spent twelve years as a missionary in Korea. Since 1972 he has served as professor of missions at Westminster Theological Seminary. Planting is the compilation of 17 essays from the quarterly journal Urban Mission. It creates a handy introductory book on reaching urban centers. Conn begins with an insight from the 19th century into the evangelical view of the city. Contrasting those who saw the city as evil with those who saw it as strategic for reaching the lost, Conn proceeds to guide the reader into a fuller understanding of why the Church must again view the city as a means of fulfilling the Great Commission as we enter the 21st century.
The essays are arranged in four categories: research, strategy planning, targeting and samples. Each section concludes with a collection of resources. The essays are concise and well-documented, providing the reader with valuable material. The only disappointment with the essays is that some include citations which are dated. In a rapidly emerging field such as this, current research is essential. The suggested resources at the end of each section help to overcome this problem, however.
This is an excellent text to introduce students to this field.
Melchert, Charles F. 1998. Wise teaching: Biblical wisdom and educational ministry. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press. 336 pages. ISBN: 1563381397. Reviewed by Mark A. Lamport, Professor of Educational Ministries, Huntington College.
Chuck Melchert is to APRRE what Dennis Williams is to NAPCE. Melchert is the Executive Secretary of the Association of Professors and Researchers of Religious Education, and serves as adjunct professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
Frankly, not too people many could have written this book. One must be sufficiently conversant in two content areas: biblical literature and educational ministry. Wisdom skillfully answers the question: what do the literary forms and content of the wisdom texts (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Synoptic Gospels and several intertestamental books) presuppose, entail, or imply about the reader-learners about the learning and teaching processes? As the reader discovers, they say a lot and so does Melchert, very profoundly.
This reviewer attended a Melchert-led seminar at a recent APRRE conference. Chuck spoke on the provocative topic in chapter six, "Why Didnt Jesus Tell Bible Stories?" (He is right by the way, Jesus didnt.) Whereas, many professors may be tempted to over-emphasize principles of teaching from social science, we are reminded here of the substantive material the Bible presents to those of us who teach teaching. I had long been impressed with Robert Steins, The Method and Message of Jesus (Westminster, 1978) as a way of culling biblical principles of teaching and learning for the purpose of the contemporary application. There appears to be no close rival to this book in its subject matter. Some may be curious about the space given to Sirach, Tobit and Sophia, nonetheless, but they are very welcome and needed contributions to the educational ministries discipline.
Christians and Jews have a rich heritage of wisdom literature whose purpose is to instruct people in the skillful application of truth to daily living. In fact, I have decided to use Daniel Estes, Hear, My Son: Teaching and Learning from Proverbs 1-9 (Eerdmans, 1997) as one text in an undergraduate course on "teaching." Melcherts book requires a careful read and may be too lofty for undergraduates, but I would certainly consider it carefully for a graduate course or as great background lecture material for undergrads.
Wimberly, Edward P. 1997. Recalling our own stories: Spiritual renewal for religious care givers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 0787903639.
Reviewed by Wayne Day, Associate Professor of Christian Studies, Youth and Family Ministries, Union University.
Recalling Our Own Stories came from the experience of providing spiritual renewal retreats. The books purposes are to enable persons to realize how cultural expectations influence them to explore, edit and reauthor attitudes, expectations and convictions about ministry, and to provide a model for spiritual and emotional renewal.
The book addressed specific issues which religious care givers face. Case studies and vignettes are used throughout. At the end of several chapters, the author suggests exercises for reflection, which should lead to questioning the myths in ones own life. In later chapters the book focuses on specific people and their reauthoring process. The four mythologies faced are personal, marital, family and ministry.
I found the stories of others journeys most beneficial. The final chapter of the book is designed to help readers reauthor, rethink and meditate on the way their thinking has been shaped. Volunteer or vocational ministers (clergy or laity) minister out of a healthy sense of self. This book will help them rethink, question and reauthor their spiritual journey with less dependence on culture and more dependence on faith and belief.
San Diego 99 Conference Preview
Judy TenElshof, Vice President
Date: October 28 - 30, 1999
Place: Hanalei Hotel, San Diego, California
Theme: Nurturing the Soul through Christian Education
Keynote: J.P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and author of several books, including Love God with All Your Mind
Training men and women for ministry within their educational profession is the task of Christian higher education. Included in this training are foundational studies such as history, philosophy, theology and specific technical skills in the chosen professional area. In addition, Christian educators also must shape the development of Christian character, in particular the spiritual development of the student.
Entering students today seem to be experiencing more problems than in earlier times. They are often severely deficient in basic relational skills and experiences. It can no longer be assumed that these students have had the early childhood, adolescent and family experiences that lead to the development of Christian character. In fact, many students come from home environments where models of trust, love, self-esteem, power and identity were absent or confusing. We should not then be surprised when our students have difficulty experiencing trust in God or expressing truth or compassion toward others, marks of spiritual maturity.
The question for the 1999 NAPCE Conference is how the context of Christian education might facilitate or repress spiritual growth in our students? What factors in the culture and context of Christian education interact in either a positive or negative way with the spiritual growth of students?
We will stimulate answers to these questions in two ways. First, we will give you results to a comprehensive research study which will survey students from schools represented by the NAPCE membership. The survey will ask students to identify what aspects of their college or graduate education most influenced their spiritual growth. We will also make available what different schools are doing both formally and informally in the spiritual development of their students. Second, we will be challenged by speakers who will carefully examine what it means to nurture the souls of our students through Christian education. J.P. Moreland will lay the foundation for us by offering a model of self (or soul) that is not reducible to physicalism or social construction, but allows for physical interaction and social, relational influence. His model will have profound implications for integrating spiritual development into Christian education.
We are truly looking forward to a challenging and exciting time in San Diego. Please plan to join us.
NAPCE now has its own online discussion groups thanks to the School of Christian Education and Leadership of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. All NAPCE members have guest access to these discussion groupsplease do not attempt to register (your registration is not necessary and will be rejected by the server). To access the discussions, please go to the NAPCE home page, select the Online News and Discussion Groups option, and then select the News and Discussion Groups option. Be sure to review the netiquette for participating in the discussion groups.
Some discussion groups are permanent while others are short-term. Online news and placement leads are among the permanent discussion groupsnetworking groups will also have permanent discussions in the near future. Current short-term groups include discussions on the annual conference workshops, and research presentations and areas of research interest suggested by NAPCE members. Please note that discussion groups are only created as NAPCE members volunteer to host the discussion topic.
These discussion groups have the potential to expand the ministry of NAPCE far beyond the annual conference. We hope NAPCE members will utilize these groups to enhance the lines of communication between conferences, and continue to dialogue on cutting-edge issues and topics of interest in Christian education between conferences.
Update on Research Grants
James Davies, Simpson College
The NAPCE board awarded three research grants Fall 1998. The recipients of the research grant and the areas of research were as follows:
Robert De Vargas - Lessons in Character: The Effect of Moral Development Curriculum Upon Moral Judgment
Leonard Kageler - Leadership, Programmatic, and Contextual Correlates to the Growth and Decline of Senior High Youth Groups in Four Evangelical Protestant Denominations
Cathy Stonehouse - A Study of Godly Play and Spiritual Formation During Childhood
NAPCE, through the generosity of David C. Cook Church Ministries, has funds available to assist members with research projects related to the field of Christian education. David C. Cook Church Ministries has the option of publishing the research in cooperation with the NAPCE Board. The results will be made available to all NAPCE members and their schools biennially. Agreement to publication is a condition for funding.
The applicant should submit a current curriculum vitae and a proposal outline (1,000 word maximum). Details on the design of the proposal appeared in the previous issues of the NAPCE Newsletter and are available from Jim Davies at the address below, or can be found online at the NAPCE web site. Please send questions and/or research proposals to:
2211 Collegeview Drive " Redding, CA 96003
Phone: (916) 224-5600 " Fax: (916) 224-5608
Don Clark Joins the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Faculty
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia announced the addition of Don Clark to the Christian Education faculty beginning Fall 1998. Don recently completed his Ph.D. in CE with a major in Foundations of Education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as a Teaching Fellow and Research Assistant. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Criswell College and as minister of education in four churches in Texas.
Frank Schmitt continues to serve as chair of the Christian Education Department and now also serves as the director of the D.Min. Program.
Pazmiņo Book on Teaching Now Available
Baker Book House recently published Basics of Teaching for Christians by Robert W. Pazmiņo. This text presents how Christian teaching involves the effective stewardship of spiritual gifts as well as partnership with the Triune God.
The membership of NAPCE expresses this word of appreciation to Greg Carlson and the members of the NAPCE Board for coordinating our Nashville Conference. Over 200 were in attendance, making the 1998 conference one of our largest. The membership also wishes to thank the publishers for the resources and meals provided during the conference.
Liberty University Announces Youth Position
Liberty Universitys Center for Youth Ministry is currently accepting resumes for a full-time faculty position in the undergraduate youth ministry training program. Minimum qualifications include a masters degree in a related discipline as well as local church youth ministry experience. Interested applicants should a resume with cover letter and references to:
Center for Youth Ministry
1971 University Blvd. " Lynchburg, VA 24502
ATTENTION: David Marston
E-mail: [email protected]
David C. Cook Article Service
David C. Cook Church Ministries makes available a free Christian Education Article Service. This service provides magazines with excerpts from significant writings across a variety of vocations in Christian education ministry. Please contact Dawn Boden for additional information if you are responsible for a magazine or other publication: 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, phone (800) 708-5550, x3983, e-mail [email protected].
Whats News with You?
If you would like to update your mailing profile or share information about yourself or another Christian educator for publication in the Newsletter, please send your updated information, news item, name and institution name to Mark Simpson: 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280, or e-mail [email protected].
NAPCE News Online
The NAPCE online discussion groups also are host to a read-only group for the posting of important NAPCE news. Stop by this "news group" periodically for updates on the annual conference, networking opportunities, etc.