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Presentation on theme: "DADDY CAN I GO TO CHURCH SCHOOL?"— Presentation transcript:

By: Bradley Booth, Ed.D. and Chinelle Carrington

2 Table of Contents Section 1 - Slides 4–12: Research Article
“Daddy Can I Go To Church School” Section 2 - Slides 13–18: Poem – “A Child’s Plea” Section 3 - Slides 19–21: Survey 1: Family Practices Section 4 - Slides 22–23: Survey 2: Benefits of A Christian Education Section 5 - Slides 24-27: Biblical & E. G. White Quotations Section 6 - Slide 28: Bibliography

3 Introduction This unit is designed to help teachers, parents, and school boards to put Christian education into perspective. It is not only informative, but practical because it offers the educator a chance to get everyone involved in the process of our children’s education, and even do a little local research. What part will you play? Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling.

4 Section 1: Research Included in this section is an article based on research done in the spiritual development of school-aged Adventist children. It was printed in the Review in August 1999.

5 If We Plant Them They Will Grow
Overview A recent study explored how the concept of salvation develops in Adventist children and adolescents who had been educated in public schools.1 The purpose of the study was to determine whether education in a Christian school could make a measurable difference in a child’s understanding of important ideas about salvation. Study participants were regular attendees at a Seventh-day Adventist church, and were selected from homes in which at least one parent was a baptized member of the church. Interviews were conducted in the homes of 91 children and adolescents ranging in age from 7 to 18. Each tape-recorded interview consisted of five components: 34 carefully worded questions testing the child’s understanding of biblical truths about salvation; a drawing by each child to help portray his or her understanding of the concept of salvation; a vocabulary test; a survey to provide relevant information about the family unit baptismal status, church attendance, parents’ occupation, etc.; a parent survey that asked questions about religious educational practices in the home, discipline in the home, and parents’ commitment to a religious experience. The 34 salvation concepts being tested were divided into eight “group” concepts: sin; the impact of sin on ones’ relationship to God; baptism; how a person comes to be saved; the identity and role of Jesus; what happens to those who are not saved; the role of works and faith in salvation; and assurance of salvation.

6 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
Understanding: Not Related To Age One of the most intriguing discoveries from the research was that only some of the eight “group” concepts appear to be developmentally related. Many parents of publicly educated children might assume that the spiritual understanding of their children will parallel the rate and level of their cognitive development in formal education. However, in the research for this study only three major concepts—the impact of sin on one’s relationship to God, baptism, and the role of works and faith in salvation—appear to correlate with increasing age. For the other five major salvation concepts, younger children were capable of giving responses at the more advanced levels of understanding, while other adolescents often gave less-advanced types of responses. For instance, in response to the question “What does our choice have to do with salvation?” some of the youngest children in the study answered, “We can choose God’s side or the side of sin” and “We resist temptation, or we can give up. It is our decision.” These responses illustrate a clear understanding that humans have the power to choose between God’s way and a sinful path. One the other hand, 16- to 18-year-olds often gave lower-level kinds of responses to the same question, such as “God decides” or “No one knows for sure,” indicating a lack in understanding of this crucial concept. Another of the salvation concepts questions—“If Jesus returned today (or you died today), do you believe that you would be saved?”—brought additional contrasts in levels of understanding for children of all ages. When asked how sure they were of being saved, 7- to 9-year-olds frequently gave answers that demonstrated more advanced

7 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
understanding, such as, “By God’s grace, yes. That’s my ticket”, “Yes, nothing should keep me from knowing that. Not even Satan”, and “Yes, I believe in Him.” The teenagers in the study however, frequently didn’t know how they felt about the question. The 16- to18-year-olds surveyed gave responses such as “It’s a personal thing” or “I want to, but it’s different for everybody.” One of the key conclusions emerging from the research was that a child’s understanding of salvation should not be viewed as a learning process entirely dependent on chronological or mental age. Much of what a child understands about God and the plan of salvation could very well be experience-related and therefore dependent on environmental or instructional influence, including choice of schooling. Leaps in Transition of Thought Among the age groups 7 to 18 years of age there were leaps in transition of thought from one salvation concept level to another. Leaps of transition were transition points at which new salvation concept levels of thought were begun among the various age groups of subjects. These transition points were indicated by the appearance of: (1) new levels of understanding, and (2) any major increases in the percentage of responses given for the specific levels. In this study it appears that the age groups 8 to 9, 10 to 11, and 18 years of age had the greatest number of transition points for leaps of understanding on SCI concepts. Overall, there were developmental gaps in the levels of comprehension and understanding of salvation concepts. Distinct points of transition in thinking disappeared almost entirely for subjects 12 to 15 years of age, and only increased minimally for subjects 16 to 17 years of age. Not until 18 years of age did subjects have major leaps in understanding for salvation concepts.

8 Significant Salvation Group Concepts by Age Groups
Age Group by Years Salvation Group Concepts 7 Assurance of salvation 8 to 9 Sin Baptism Being saved/salvation 10 to 11 12 to 13 None 14 to 15 16 to 17 18 Jesus

9 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
Comparison With Similar Studies How did the results of this research compare with other studies done on Adventist children who have been educated in Adventist schools? A 1994 study that interviewed 120 children in attendance at Adventist schools indicated that levels of understanding of salvation concepts generally increase with age: the older the child, the better the understanding.2 In this study, Korniejczuk found that 22 out of 27 concepts about salvation showed that children who go to church and have regular family worship experiences have a better understanding of salvation by age. Since the overall majority of children in that study attended Adventist schools for their entire educational experience, it would appear that the choice of school and active involvement in the church, taken together have a very strong impact on a child’s understanding of salvation. Another study conducted in 1995 by Habenicht also found that students, who primarily attend Adventist schools, showed a gradual increase in understanding of salvation by age.3 Since all three of these studies were done with children and adolescence from Adventist homes who attended Adventist churches, it would appear that religious instruction in the school is a crucial factor, something unavailable to students in public schools. A graded curriculum of religious instruction, such as the experience by the children in the other two studies who attended Adventist schools almost exclusively, seems to have given them a noticeable advantage in understanding Biblical concepts of salvation.

10 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
The Case of Heather The data obtained in this study and the observations made for all age groups suggest the following (hypothetical) spiritual growth scenario: Heather is a typical Christian child who is attending a public school and will never attend a Christian school during her formal education (grades1-12). She comes from a home in which at least one parent is a baptized member of a church. Heather has the capacity to comprehend many of the concepts of salvation at age 7, and she can often do this at surprisingly advanced levels of understanding. She begins the first grade in a public school, but won’t have religious instruction available to her in any form at her school. At this age, however the influence of home, Sabbath/Sunday school classes, and other church activities supplies the needed spiritual emphasis and religious instruction for her age group. Ages 8 to 11 are the most productive years for Heather’s development in understanding the experience of salvation. During these years her bond with the home is strong, and growth in understanding of at least half of the major salvation concepts accelerates quickly. In the age span of 12 to 15 Heather has become a typical adolescent. Her attention has shifted to her peer group, and she is spending less time at home with her parents. Not surprisingly, Heather would rather spend time with her friends at school functions and activities in the community. At this stage Heather’s growth in understanding salvation has almost come to a complete standstill and has even regressed in some areas. Here she is at the greatest risk when it comes to her spiritual formation. She no longer wants to learn her memory verses or study in preparation for her Sabbath/Sunday school lessons, and she has very little, if any, peer support for these kinds of activities outside of the home.

11 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
The local church that she attends offers activities for youth her age as an expression of its concern for Heather and those like her. But if Heather’s church is small (and a significant majority of churches are) she probably won’t be highly interested in the activities or gain much from them. More than likely the congregation simply can’t find the personnel to operate a strong, well-planned youth ministry. During Heather’s sixteenth and seventeenth years she experiences minimal growth in her understanding of salvation, and probably only in the concepts of baptism and its significance for Christians. In her eighteenth year Heather may grow in her understanding of one group concept, the role and function of Jesus as Saviour and coming Lord. Heather finally begins to integrate her belief structure with a Christian lifestyle as her parents hoped she would, but the hour is late. Both anecdotal and research evidence suggest that it may be too late to bring Heather back into a devoted Christian lifestyle, if indeed the church can even keep her within its fellowship. Heather’s support system—friends, public school education, family, and local congregation—have helped her chart her own spiritual lifestyle, one that may or may not include a church of any kind. Furthermore, given the price tag of a four-year degree in a private Christian college, the chances are that she won’t go on to a Christian school to continue her education. Heather has effectively learned at least on thing: she doesn’t need Christian education to experience what she thinks is a “good life.” In addition to this, because the significant people in her life have not considered Christian education to be an essential element for spiritual growth, the chances are that she will not consider it as an option for her children when they are of school age.

12 If We Plant Them They Will Grow Cont’d
Recommendations What can be done to ensure that children whose parents choose not to send them to Christian schools will still have every possible encouragement in their religious growth and development? The following suggestions are offered: Doctrinal Refreshers: Churches could provide an ongoing baptismal or doctrinal class for all youth in the church. This could be offered either during the Bible study time period on Sabbath/Sunday morning services, or at another opportunity during the week. Giving early adolescents helpful, practical information about their faith would certainly provide for better growth though the “lean” years (12-15). The Home: Religious education in the home, through family worship experience, family discussions, and parent-child interaction, needs to be both consistent and continuous. It should be part of the regular family schedule, with both parents (if possible) participating in activities. Youth Activities: Church congregations and conferences may need to expend more time, energy, and money in a revitalization program to help 12-to15-year-olds grow spiritually. Musical festivals, weekend retreats, nature and camping experiences, and youth congresses that have an emphasis on social and spiritual interaction may be especially valuable. Prayer and Bible Study: Christian educators, church leaders, and parents should focus on the power of prayer and Bible study in an individual’s life. Nothing can surpass the power of personal example. Opportunities should be made for teens to experience prayer and Bible study in practical way through group participation activities. Media Choices: Modern media options have robbed many families of the desire to experience quality interaction and personal growth. Instead of watching television and even religious videos, more time should be set aside by families for interaction in music, art, and games as a regular part of a family worship and conversation. Spiritual Mentoring: Parents and church leaders need continual reminders that they have a special responsibility to be role models with loving, caring, Christ-like characters. Christian youth would rather see a sermon in shoes than hear one.

13 Section 2: POEM When I was just a young boy, my mother was asked to recite this poem, “A Child’s Plea”, for church gatherings every Fall before school began. The author has long since become anonymous, but the message remains a solemn one, grim perhaps for those of us who would argue away the importance that Church School may play in the lives of our precious children. When it comes to the education of our children, we often say we are doing everything we can to insure that they have all the advantages. But are we, and what is it really that we are most concerned about? Academics? An opportunity for them to play sports in the public system? That our children become somebody important?

14 Section 2: POEM Could it be possible that the focus we place on our children’s education today, may one day be the very thing that stands between them and eternity. Not because as their guardians we don’t love Jesus enough. And not because our children fail to accept our moral values for themselves. Might it be instead because Christian education could have given them that extra little bit of spiritual attention they needed so much. Step outside of time for a moment and ask yourself, “What will I be doing 100 years from now, and who will I be doing it with? In the glorious light of eternity we will either be looking back with a full heart knowing we did all we could for our children, or we will be reflecting in sadness that we failed to do our part. For either perspective, “A Child’s Plea” helps bring our real need into focus.

15 Daddy Can I Go To Church School?
A Child’s Plea

16 A Child’s Prayer “Daddy, please send me to church school,
It’s starting next Monday you know, Then I can learn ‘bout the Bible. Daddy, please may I go?” “Do not ask me again child! I’ve told you the answer before, You know I don’t have the money this year, Your Daddy is just too poor.” “Besides you are taught the Bible By Father and Mother, you know, So it really doesn’t matter To which school you go.” So she kissed him and said, “Goodnight, Daddy,” And went to her little bed, And knelt to tell Jesus All that her Daddy had said. Each night she had prayed about Church School, That her Daddy will let her go there. Believing that ‘ere Monday morning, Her Jesus would answer her prayer. Her Daddy tried reading his Bible, Then finally went to bed. But the child’s earnest petition Kept running through his head. And lo, he dreamed ‘twas the Sabbath, And he sat in his usual place. The people were gathering for worship – A serious look on each face. After a moment of quiet, While the minister knelt in prayer, The door to the children’s room opened And an angel bright stood there.

17 A Child’s Prayer Cont’d
“Christ and his angels are in here,” Said the angel with solemn face. “He has come to judge his people, And decide upon each case.” “The books are being opened I shall call each one by name,” Said the angel, then he closed the door And silence reigned again. “Daddy, what did the angel mean? Did you know he would come today? If he should come and call my name, I wouldn’t know what to say!” He tried to answer his darling, But his voice was dry and choked. Her heart grew even more afraid As into his pale face she looked. “Where are the lamb?” asked the angel, “The flock that was given to thee – I am calling the name of Mary, Entrusted to Martha and Lee.” “Oh Daddy, please go with me,” She pled as she clung to his hand. But the angel tenderly whispered. “Each one alone must stand.” He watched her follow the angel, With anxious and troubled heart. “What have I done to prepare her?” he cried. “Oh, that I had done my part!” How could he face the Savior? The thought was just to great, it seemed. It wakened him from sleeping, To find it was all a dream.

18 A Child’s Prayer Cont’d
“Thank God!” he fervently whispered. “I still can do my part, My daughter shall go to church school Where they learn head, hand and heart.” He watched her peacefully sleeping Unconscious that ‘ere midnight came Her Jesus had answered her pleadings By sending her Daddy a dream.

19 Section 3: Surveys What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong when it comes to educating our children from a Christian standpoint? Are there things we can be doing in the home that will help our children to understand God’s character more fully? Is Church School an important part of that spiritual process? Following are two surveys that can be used to help you take a closer look at the part you play in your children’s spiritual growth. For feedback, check with other parents who have also filled out this questionnaire, or check with Dr. Bradley Booth at Atlantic Union College who did his dissertation research using survey number 1.

20 SURVEY 1: Family Practices Please be as frank as possible
SURVEY 1: Family Practices Please be as frank as possible. If necessary, in responses requiring answers with number simply estimate to the best of your ability. 1. How often do you have family worship in your home? (circle one) a. Seldom b. Once or twice a week c. Daily d. Twice daily 2. What materials do you use for worship together? a. Bible b. Sabbath school lesson c. E.G. White books d. Story books e. Other_______________________ 3. How much time do you spend together at worship? a. 5 – 10 minutes b. 11 – 20 minutes c. 6 – 10 minutes d. More than 30 minutes 4 How much time does your family spend discussing material used during worship? a. no time b. 1 – 2 minutes c. 3 – 5 minutes d. 6 – 10 minutes e. More than 10 minutes 5. Who usually leads out in family worship? a. Mother b. Father c. Children d. Both Mother and Father e. Everyone 6. How committed is Mother to worship & a personal religious experience? a. devoted b. average c. indifferent 7. How committed is Father to worship & a personal religious experience? 8. What type of discipline is used in the home? a. Natural consequences b. Time out (time in isolation) c. Grounding d. Physical e. Other_________________ f. All listed above

21 SURVEY 1: Family Practices Cont’d Please be as frank as possible
SURVEY 1: Family Practices Cont’d Please be as frank as possible. If necessary, in responses requiring answers with number simply estimate to the best of your ability. 9. Who usually disciplines in the home? a. Father b. Mother c. Both Mother and Father d. Guardian e. Step-parent f. Other__________________ 10. What type of activities in your home includes time for positive family interaction? a. Mealtime b. Work-related activities c. Recreation d. Conversation e. Other___________________ 11. How many hours of meaningful family interaction take place in your home per week? a. 1 hour b. 2 hours c. 3 – 5 hours d. 6 – 10 hours e. More than 10 hours 12. What other additional types of religious instruction do you use in your home? a. Books b. Tapes c. Videos d. Radio/TV programs e. Other_____________________ 13. How much time each week is spent doing these activities? a. 1 hour b. 2 hour c. 3 – 5 hours d. 6 – 10 hours e. More than 10 hours

22 SURVEY 2 : Benefits of a Christian Education
1. How many children do you have? ______ 2. Has your child/children ever attended an SDA/Christian school? ____Yes ____No 3. What level of education or grade did your child/children complete or are currently in? Age Currently in Grade Level of Education Completed Child 1 Child 2 Child 3 Child 4 Child 5

23 SURVEY 2: Benefits of a Christian Education Cont’d
4. Check which benefits you believe your child/children received from attending a Christian school. Benefits YES My child/children received this benefit. NO My child/children did not receive this benefit. Provided a solid ground to build moral and character, and Christian traits. Protection from worldly influence. Provided a greater opportunity to learn the truths about the Bible and character of God. Helped in developing close and personal relationship with God.

24 They knew God, but did not glorify Him. as God, nor were thankful, but
They knew God, but did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their lives, and their foolish hearts became darkened. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to ungodly lives. Romans 1: 21, 28

25 Quotes: Education By: E. G. White
“To restore in man the image of his maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of mind, body, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the great work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.” p 15

26 Quotes: Education By: E. G. White
“Samuel, by the Lord’s direction, established the schools of the prophets. These schools were intended to serve as a barrier against the wide-spreading corruption, to provide for the mental and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors.” p 46

27 Quotes: Education By: E. G. White
“Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings, and never before was its diligent study so important as now. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous, never before were young men and women confronted by perils so great as confront them today. At such a time as this, what is the trend of education given? To what motive is appeal most often made? To self-seeking. Much of the education given is a perversion of the name.” p 225

28 Bibliography 1 - Bradley Booth, Development of the Concept of Salvation in Seventh-day Adventist Children and Adolescents 7-18 Years of Age Who Attend Public Schools (Ed. D. dissertation, Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University, 1996). 2 - Victor Korniejczuk, Development of the Concept of Salvation in Adventist Children and Adolescents From Ages 6-17 Years (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University, 1994). 3 - Donna Habenicht, The Development of the Concept of Salvation From Age 4 to 25 Years (revised) (Berrien springs, MI: Andrews University. 1995). __________________________________________________________ Bradley Booth, Ed. D., is a professor of education and psychology at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. Chinelle Carrington is a Junior Social Work Major, Psychology Minor at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts.


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