Creating Programming that Meets People where They Are Gregory C. Carrow-Boyd For Dynamic Youth Ministry Fall 2011 Starr King School for the Ministry
PIAGET’S THEORY OF ERIKSON’S THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT 4 Fixed Stages of Cognitive 8 Fixed Stages of Emotional Development Development At each life stage, a learner must answer Not possible to progress to the next a fundamental question. stage without attaining the others Inability to answer the question can lead All learners progress through stages to emotional impairment at a later life at approximately the same ages. stage.Critique: Real world learners often Critique: One can develop emotionally master the stages out of order, or without answering these questions. master them earlier than theorized. Some questions take longer to answer than others.
FOWLER’S THEORY OF SOPHIA LYONFAHS’ NATURAL FAITH DEVELOPMENT SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT 6 Stages of faith development 13 Types of experiences that evoke wonder and thought in children Divided into 2 phases: children accomplish stages 1 & 2; Stages Religion is a personal creation based 3–6 happen in adolescence and on these experiences. beyond Preservation of traditions comes Most learners never get past stage from honoring these experiences. 2. Critique: Are these the only experiences that evoke wonder andCritique: Too linear; Faith and thought? Spirituality and religion spirituality are not the same. are not the same.
A theory of knowledge that holds that learners create their own knowledge. Learning happens when learners build upon prior knowledge constructs (they construct new knowledge). It is the role of expert learners and mentors to facilitate learning by creating experiences that allow novice learners to develop new constructs. Most learning programs today embody the principles of constructivism.
They are too linear. Both Fowler’s and Fahs’ spirituality models do not They do not always account for clearly differentiate between cultural differences (i.e., they and among faith, religion, and assume the culture of the spirituality. theorist.). These models only support They only focus on one type of constructivism if development development (cognitive, is completely linear. emotional, spiritual, etc.). Constructivism itself does not fully account for the dynamics of development and learning.
Spirituality for children begins as sets of preverbal experiences that adults and cultures reinforce or neglect. To support children in their spirituality development, it is necessary to listen, clarify, and attend to uncertainty. By reflecting on our own experiences of being spiritually supported or disenfranchised, we can better support children.
Congregations can effectively meet the needs of Young Adults (18–40) by: • Gathering around a common cause. • Shifting the focus of ministry to attending to the basic needs of the age group. • Practicing faith traditions. • Establishing a network of multigenerational encouragement.
ARNETT’S EMERGENT MEZIROW’STRANSFORMATIVE ADULTHOOD LEARNING THEORY A new life stage in between adolescence A 10-step process that begins with a and young adulthood (late teens to at disorienting dilemma which ultimately least mid-20s) results in the reintegration of a new perspective informed by one’s own life Characterized by: experiences. • Later entrance into traditional adult roles (stable employment, long-term Ultimate goal is autonomy. relationships, parenthood) Basis for most programs of adult • Identity exploration religious education today. Critique: Culturally biased; theory does not • Search for identity-based work work neatly for marginalized groups or cultural groups who live outside of the • High aspirations for life achievements industrialized West.
Our understanding of the lifespan as a whole has changed; therefore, Our understandings of spirituality exist dynamically: Youth ministry must support the needs of youth differentially: some so-called youth may still require the supports of children; others might need the supports of emergent adulthood. No one program will meet the needs of all youth. Youth should be involved and encouraged in seeking out a best fit model. Meeting the needs of youth is inherently a multigenerational effort. Encourage networking/mentoring in programming designs.
Because spirituality is emergent and An effective way to integrate continuous throughout the lifespan multigenerational (Hart, 2003), remember that youth networking/mentoring is to are accessing a particular spiritual encourage youth to collaborate on moment in their lives that touches projects that impact the lives of both their pasts and their futures. multiple age groups (e.g., homelessness, educational equity, the Programs of ministry are not about world of work). preparation for life, but living itself: creating programs that continue to Programs will be maximally effective develop the wonder of childhood when the youth are invited to and are through the identity exploration work welcome to make changes to the of youth, emergent, and young program itself as the spirituality adulthood are of paramount development needs of individuals and importance. the group change.
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