Date of Award
Master of Arts (Theology) MA(Theol)
Arts & Theology
Ministry and Theology
Arthur J. Ferch
Alwyn P. Salom
Problem: One of the great problems facing the church today is the number of youth lost to the church by their rejection of religion. Much of the cause is due to the home environment, and is occasioned by a lack of understanding of child development and discipline appropriate to the developing child. The importance of early training has been pointed out through the years, but few instructional programmes have been conducted by the church and parents have been forced to work with haphazard guidance. It was the purpose of this project to provide for parents a basic understanding of child development and appropriate discipline that would eventually lead to discipling of their children.
Method: A study was undertaken of the Biblical passages relating to child development, nurture and discipline. This was supplemented by the writings of Ellen G. White and current volumes on child development by modern psychologists. A simple plan was drawn up that would help parents understand both their child in his age group and the discipline appropriate to the child at that stage of growth.
A pilot programme of four two-hour sessions was conducted in a local church and was attended by eight regular participants. The series involved an understanding of the mental, spiritual, physical, social, and emotional development of the child as it relates to discipline and Biblical nurture.
Results: During the time spent together, the eight participants increased their awareness of child development and discipline more than the average church member. A survey was conducted "before" and "after" the series which gave these results in comparison to a control group that did not attend. Apart from the survey, the discussion of the members in small groups provided helpful hints, ideas and information that cannot be assessed in a survey. The series saw this group of parents on the way to a better understanding of their children, both objectively and subjectively. This will lead to a discipling process that will help stem the loss of youth in the church.
Conclusion: The ultimate success of a programme such as this is seen in the long term. It will require the nurture of the church over the years and a practicall continuation by the parents of that which was begun as an awareness programme. It is important that the home base be strong and that it be constantly supported by the church and the school.