The Christian Nurture Project
About the Project

Contents:

Overview

Description of Ongoing Development of the Christian Nurture Approach

Discipleship Ministry Assessment Process

Description of Local Church Pilot Projects

Becoming a Local Church Pilot Project

Meet the Project Co-Leaders

 

Overview

The Christian Nurture Project is an effort by a team of professionals committed to developing a more effective approach to Christian growth in the local church in order to raise up committed disciples of Jesus Christ and loving servants of God’s justice and peace in the world. The seminal concepts for Christian Nurture were proposed by Ben Marshall in his book, “Beyond Christian Education: The Future of Nurturing Disciples in the Local Church,” (available in either print or eBook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.)

The project presently involves two efforts:

Ongoing work to develop the approach’s effectiveness and the implications for its use in local churches

A Discipleship Ministry Assessment Process

Local Church Pilot Projects to explore the implementation of the approach “on the ground” in local churches.

A word about each:

Ongoing Development

The task of the Team is to work with the concepts involved to understand what further is needed to make the implementation of the Nurture concepts in the local church more possible and effective as well as to improve the concept itself.

The first Team effort has been an "incubator" in which six persons, including the team co-leaders, one of which is the concept’s author, and 4 local church staff persons from different age level ministries and church sizes. This group met monthly for 9 months working on understanding the concept and process and then proposing specific program designs in one of the nurture arenas. The participants in the incubator have all made specific efforts in their congregations to implement specific uses of the concept and process. A second incubator is now in process to run through April of 2016.

The team is also available for training and consultation experiences in local churches other than those involved in the local church becoming a pilot project. See “Training and Consultation”.

Discipleship Ministry Assessment Process

This experience provides the local church with an indepth look at the quality and effectiveness of their ministry using the criteria of the Christian Nurture Approach.

Local Church Pilot Projects

Local Church Pilot Projects involve the local church agreeing to participate in a period of training in the the Christian Nurture approach and the implementation of experiences in their church following the Christian Nurture design. How the local church participates will depend upon the needs and desires of the local church. The importance of such projects is that they are essential to the full development of the Christian Nurture approach as well as being of value to the local church.

If you think your local church might be interested in this approach, first of all contact us so we can get in touch with you personally. Further details about becoming a Pilot Project are below.

 

Becoming a Local Church Pilot Project

Beyond the first contact, here is an idea of what might happen if you are interested in going further. We emphasize that the process will depend entirely upon your desires and needs.

First, after the initial phone discussion, you will be sent a brief overview manual of the approach for the key leader(s) to read. (Of course we will also send you a free copy of the e-book that is the basic presentation of the Christian Nurture approach and hope that you will go ahead and read it as well.) A member of the Team will contact you to set up a personal meeting to help with further understanding and to answer questions. At that meeting, if you desire to go further, you and the Team Member will determine the next steps.

Since Christian Nurture is an approach and not a “plug-in”, how it is implemented in your congregation will involve a more thorough process of orienting and training leaders in the approach. Some have found the approach’s arenas and content focuses to be a helpful guide in evaluating what you are now doing to see what might need adding to what you are doing. Help will be available as needed to guide your adapting what you are now doing to incorporate the approach.

We are in the process of developing resources for local church use, such as guidelines for curriculum design, and as soon as possible resources for Sunday School and other groups. But we emphasize that you can use what you have by simply adapting it.

In a pilot project the Team will commit to providing the training courses and consultations sessions as determined by the church’s needs to fulfill the Pilot Project’s objectives. Any costs for the work of the team will be negotiated on the needs and ability of the church to finance the project.

You will have many other questions that we will do our best to answer in our initial conversations.

Meet the Co-Leaders of the Christian Nurture Project

Kelly Carpenter

Kelly is the North Texas UMC Conference Coordinator for Children, Youth & Young Adult Ministry. She also serves as co-executive director of Reaching Others Through Christ Jr High Missions. Kelly attended Texas Christian University where she received her BFA in Theatre Scene Design. She attended Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA where she received her Masters of Theological Studies in Religion and Art. She grew up in the United Methodist Church serving on local and Conference Councils as a youth, working in camping and campus ministry through college and serving on local church staffs for over 10 years.


R. Ben Marshall

Ben is a retired Elder in the United Methodist Church and Certified Minister of Christian Education who is presently seeking to improve the processes of Christian nurture in local churches through this Christian Nurture Project. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Christian Education from Perkins School of Theology and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Ben has served in various capacities as a Christian educator for all of his 50 plus years in ministry being on the staff of churches of various sizes and as a part of the Conference Staff in the late 60’s. He has experience in all of the age levels spending most of his ministry with youth and adults. Ben is presently teaching and participating in Northaven UMC in Dallas. His eBook, Beyond Christian Education: The Future of Nurturing Disciples in the Local Church is the basic resource for the work of the Christian Nurture Project.

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