The relationship between ministry praxis and spiritual development milestones in the lives of children
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SubjectChurch work with children.
Spiritual formation--Church of the Nazarene.
The assumption of the study was that children are capable of an intimate and real relationship with God. The question that is often asked is, "How does the church best help children to grow in that relationship?" The lack of an agreed upon definition and understanding of spirituality and the need for a sound and practical approach to helping children develop spiritually was the catalyst behind this research. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between ministry praxis and spiritual development milestones in the lives of Nazarene children. The literature review began with an examination of the history of spirituality, the biblical call to children's spiritual nurture, and the history of psychology and developmentalism. Attention was given to the typologies presented by Urban Holmes and David Kolb culminating in analysis of Michael Anthony's Children's Spiritual Formation Typology. A mixed methods approach was used to gather data. The process for development of the research instrument and the procedures used for implementation were clearly explained. The online instrument was completed by 201 (64.4% of the population) Nazarene children's pastors and analysis of the data was conducted using ANOVA testing. The respondents were assigned to one of the four ministry models based on their responses to the 24 statements on the survey instrument. By determining one's preferred ministry model and analyzing a variety of self-reported data, analysis of the relationship in the four spiritual development milestones was possible. In addition to the four spiritual milestones, growth rate of each of the ministry models was analyzed. The research was completed by conducting two focus group interviews to provide qualitative analysis of the data gathered from the survey instrument. Open-ended questions were presented to each focus group which further validated the analysis of the data. The statistical analysis of the data concluded that there are no significant statistical differences in the four ministry models and the four spiritual development milestones. Key words: child, children, development, formation, growth, milestones, ministry, nurture, praxis, spiritual, spirituality