Cover image for Joining children on the spiritual journey : nurturing a life of faith
Joining children on the spiritual journey : nurturing a life of faith
Stonehouse, Catherine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
237 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A BridgePoint book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV1475.2 .S776 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Understanding how a child's faith forms is crucial to knowing how adults can most significantly enhance the child's spiritual development. This book provides parents, teachers, and Christian education leaders with valuable insights into spiritual formation during childhood.

With a biblical perspective as a starting point and a recognition of the crucial role of both the family and the faith community, Stonehouse reviews important contributions from noted child development experts Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and James Fowler. This overview gives insight into the processes of psychosocial, cognitive, and moral development in children and adolescents.

Stonehouse concludes with solid guidelines for designing children's ministries. By carefully "setting the stage" through liturgy, sacred stories, and parables, Christian educators can help children meet with God. Quiet times of "godly play," carefully adapted to the age level of the child, enable adults to join with children on the journey toward deeper intimacy with God.

Author Notes

Catherine Stonehouse (PhD, Michigan State University), prior to her retirement, served as the Orlean Bullard Beeson Professor of Christian Discipleship and dean of the School of Practical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. She continues to serve Asbury as an adjunct professor. She is the author of Patterns in Moral Development and has had extensive experience directing Christian education at both the local and denominational levels.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Drawing together an enormous amount of material, Stonehouse (Asbury Theological Seminary, Kentucky) discusses different approaches to Christian education and adopts an approach focused on spiritual formation. After presenting insights about formation from the Old and New Testaments and recent Christian educators, she surveys theories of child development from Erikson, Piaget, Kohlberg, Rizzuto, and Fowler. She also discusses Berryman's "Godly play," which she has used with children, concluding with a discussion of the pilgrimage metaphor of spiritual journey from the book's title. Her account is accessible and engaging, sprinkled with illustrations from the lives of children she has known and worked with. Though written from a Wesleyan perspective, there is very little in the book that would not transfer directly into work in other denominations. Its argument is broadly applicable and should be widely used. Though the book moves toward an account of the Montessorian methods of Berryman as informed by Cavalletti, earlier chapters on child development provide a more eclectic account of the nature of children. This is a superb book and highly recommended. Every church or parish library should have it, as should every Christian education collection in seminary and college libraries. D. R. C. Reed Wittenberg University