Every child is on a spiritual journey, and the children’s ministry leader has a unique responsibility to influence, guide, and support that journey in developmentally-appropriate ways. This course integrates developmental psychology, attachment theory, play therapy theory, and insights from neuroscience with practical applications. Through this course, you will be equipped to lead a developmentally sound, emotionally connected, and spiritually vibrant children’s ministry!
The course will cover classic theories of developmental psychology, with emphasis on how these link to spirituality. Newer theories of interpersonal neurobiology and its impact on emotional development, along with attachment theory, will be incorporated into learning. Church leaders will learn how to foster vibrant, warm, engaged, and secure relationships within families and within the church; how children learn and grow spiritually through play; and psychological, emotional, and relational benefits of spirituality & faith.
This is a general course and is applicable to work with all kinds of children, with attention given to children with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, intellectual disability or developmental delay. Theories are presented with plenty of real-life examples and applications. There will be lots of discussion, through both forums and video chats.
Students are required to have the following books for this class:
- Children’s Spirituality by Rebecca Nye
- Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey by Catherine Stonehouse
- The Yes Brain, by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This course is eligible for 3.0 CEU.
You will need a password to enroll in this class as proof of pre-requisites.
About the Instructor
Reverend Shirley J. Connally is a retired teacher/counselor/minister with a B.A. (English/French), M.Ed. (Counseling & Guidance), M.Div. (Theology) and additional studies on the Doctor of Ministry Degree. She retired from public education with 36 years’ experience as an English teacher and/or secondary counselor. She also taught freshman English at the Houston Community College for several years. Additionally, she served as an adjunct professor at the Charles Harrison Mason Bible College and owned a private practice counseling office for several years.
She has served in ministry in the local church and community for most of her life. She was ordained after completing seminary while serving as an associate with three Baptist pastors and went on to serve as associate and senior pastor in The United Methodist Church. Even though most of her training and service as an adult has been in The United Methodist Church, her childhood years were spent equally divided between three denominations (Methodist, Baptist and Catholic).
She has always been drawn to teaching and helping people, so, naturally using her gifts of teaching and counseling have been dominant in her life. She has offered courses in Christian care and counseling and Bible studies for children, teens, young adults, middle adults and senior adults, reaching all developmental stages of life. She has also offered courses on God’s purpose for the family and prayer retreats, providing time and guidance for those times when we need to go to a quiet place and spend time alone with God. Her prayer is that we can study and continue to develop additional skills and a basic knowledge of how we can use the Bible to help people live better lives.
She is the mother of one daughter in business and one granddaughter. She loves teaching Disciple Bible Studies, serving on the Scholarship Committee, Nursing Home Ministry, St. Stephens Food Pantry and helping wherever she is needed in her church and community. When relaxing she loves reading, crocheting and watching Houston’s #1 sports teams (Texans, Rockets and Astros) and helping people.