Protestant Educators

Picture of Linda R. Isham

LINDA R. ISHAM (1938-) is an American Baptist church educator who is recognized for her contributions to ministry with children and to planning for the future of church education. She served on the national staff of American Baptist Educational Ministries for most of her career, first as a program associate in the Department of Ministry with Children, then as director of that department; later she became associate director of the Division of Church Education and then director of the Church School Department. After a reorganization of Educational Ministries she became Director of Planning for Congregational Education. In this position she developed a unique model for regional church education, serving as a part-time director of Educational Ministries for the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut while resourcing four other regions and continuing with responsibilities on the national staff. In recognition of her innovations in this position she received the Kenneth L. Cober Award for Regional Education in 2001. She is the author of two books, On Behalf of Children and Charting Our Course: Renewing the Church's Teaching Ministry, as well as curriculum units and numerous articles. In her retirement she serves as president of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut.

Biography

"Organizer, thinker, planner, artist, person of faith, trusted friend" are some of the ways Linda Isham's colleagues have described her. These aspects of her personality emerged as she journeyed from a small community in Wisconsin to a large state university and a national position in her chosen field of church education.

Roots in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Linda Isham was born on May 24, 1938 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, the daughter of Webb and Ardilla Isham. She was the middle child, with an older and younger brother. A good student, she was active in the Latin Club and Girl Scouts, played basketball with the Girl's Athletic Association and drums in the school band, and gave humorous declamations. Her public speaking reputation was slightly tarnished when she forgot a line in the Pledge of Allegiance at a Grange Meeting, but with typical resolve she overcame the setback and earned a bronze medal at the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association competition.

Isham was active in the youth group at the First Baptist Church of Elkhorn and taught a primary church school class while in high school. "I had beautiful bulletin boards, but teaching was a struggle," she says. "There were two brothers in the class who really acted up and there was bedlam. I would never believe then that I would go into church education as a career."

From the time she was a ninth grader, Isham worked at after-school, Saturday, and summer jobs. She cleaned house and worked as an assistant at the Chicago Store, then, at the 5 & 10, where she earned 60 cents an hour. Her fortunes changed when she took a bookkeeping job at the International Harvester store for $1.25 an hour, a position she kept during summer breaks from university.

A Wider World at the University of Wisconsin

At the University of Wisconsin, which she attended from 1956 to 1960, Isham was introduced to a broader world view. She lived in a Baptist-sponsored dorm and ate in a Baptist eating co-op with people from many different backgrounds. "It was my first experience of multi-cultural living," she says.

She also participated in the Community of Life and Faith, a disciplined community that gathered regularly for worship and study. "There was a thick manual of articles to study," Isham says, "including writings by Buber and Bonhoeffer. It was a powerful experience. I'm sure it was that exposure that made me think about going into Christian education." In 1958, she toured Europe with a group led by Rev. George (Shorty) Collins, an American Baptist chaplain at the University of Wisconsin. Isham says this trip provided her first real exposure to the peace movement. The group spent a week in a community in Germany, visited cathedrals that were being rebuilt in London and Berlin, and went into East Berlin on a restricted route. She credits Collins, as well as another American Baptist chaplain at the University of Wisconsin, Rev. Richard Broholm, as her mentors during this period of her life.

Focus on Christian Education at Colgate Rochester Divinity School

Following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Isham enrolled at Colgate Rochester Divinity School (CRDS). She received a Bachelor of Divinity in 1963 with an emphasis in Christian education. There were only seven women students when she entered CRDS. "We took a lot of flack from the guys about why we were there," Isham says. In order to receive maximum exposure to the field of Christian education, she worked out an arrangement with her advisor, Dr. J. C. Wynn, to take extra educational courses in place of homiletics.

Her first field placement was at the Charles Hubert Hall Christian Center which was related to the Mount Olivet Baptist Church. She supervised programming for girls while her colleague, Harry Wright, designed programming for boys. Her second placement was at the South Presbyterian Church where she worked with junior-age children. Both of these experiences introduced her to the challenges of urban ministry.

Isham credits her experience at CRDS with establishing her focus on Christian education and also opening her up to a broader view of biblical scholarship, noting especially the influence of three of her professors: Dr. William Hamilton, Dr. Winthrop Hudson, and Dr. James Sanders.

Centering on Children on the Local Church

Isham was called to the First Baptist Church of Ithaca, NY following graduation from seminary. She worked with senior pastor Rev. Chris Jensen, whom she calls a "gentle mentor." Although she was responsible for the total education program, she found herself drawn especially to ministry with children. Lynette Martin, the state Christian education director for American Baptists, appointed her to the state children's committee and invited her to administer the Keuka Lab School for Workers with Children. She also attended a national children workers' conference at Green Lake, WI and a children workers' lab school in Philadelphia. At the lab school, Isham had a very positive experience with three-year-olds that sealed her focus on ministry with children. "I had never thought of myself as a teacher, but when the kids called me 'teacher,' it became a defining experience," she says.

A Career in Ministry with Children

Isham joined the national staff of American Baptist Educational Ministries in 1966 and spent the next 14 years developing her own unique contribution to children in the church. As a program associate in the Department of Ministry with Children she worked closely with Lois Blankenship, who had established high standards of professionalism in the field. In the words of one of her colleagues, she "not only maintained that tradition but she enhanced it." Isham staffed children's lab schools and children workers' conferences and helped administer the Children's Center (a summer-long lab school) at the American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, WI. She also served as a frequent workshop leader in local churches and regions, and at ecumenical gatherings.

In 1971 Isham became director of the national Department of Ministry with Children. She focused much of the department's energy on developing practical printed resources and training events. At the heart of her ministry was a concern that children be valued as persons. A colleague says, "Linda challenged the church and all those who work with children to see and hear children as persons with gifts to share, not simply 'little pitchers' to receive the church's teachings. She taught and modeled a ministry WITH children, a giving and receiving ministry between children and adults. She believed that in such a ministry the adult leaders grow along with the children as they share their experiences." This philosophy is examined in Isham's book, On Behalf of Children , published in 1975.

Isham planned and directed short-term training events and conferences, including two major American Baptist national education events: Direction '80 and Preview '88. She also developed many resources for Ministry with Children. She participated in the planning and implementation of several curriculum series, including the Faith and Work Graded Series, Bible and Life Graded Series, Discovering the Bible with Children, Living the Word, Children's Bible Series and Judson Bible Series. She wrote a curriculum unit in the Bible and Life Graded Series: "Mission in Oklahoma." She also developed resources for the Winning the Children for Christ program, the International Year of the Child (1979), Christian Education Sunday packets, and a series of teaching suggestions called "Ideas that Work." Under her leadership the department developed a filmstrip, "Keys to Communicating with Children" and a newsletter called Minders . They also reached 2,000 workers with children in a leader development effort.

Isham contributed to many ecumenical programs related to ministry with children. She was supervising editor of the Children's Bible Series, a curriculum developed by Joint Educational Development (JED), a consortium of denominations who banded together to share resources and staff in developing church education resources. She attended both the World Council of Churches "Children and the Eucharist Consultation" in Germany (1980) and the White House Conference on Children (1970). She was a leader in the Asian American Writer's Conference in 1983.

In addition, her skills were used in wider denominational projects of the American Baptist Churches. She co-staffed the General Board Task Force on the Partnership of Women and Men in Church and Society (1983) and the Board of Educational Ministries Policy Statement Task Force on the Educational Mission of the Church (1995). She was also a member of the team that developed and implemented Baptist heritage materials.

Throughout this period she engaged in postgraduate study at the University of Maryland, the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Immaculata College. She spent one sabbatical in an individual study program related to the faith development of children and a second sabbatical exploring mission education in Asia. She also participated in management seminars and a creative planning seminar.

A Broader Portfolio

Isham became associate director of the Division of Church Education in 1984 and director of the Church School Department in 1989. In these positions, she shifted her attention to the wider mission of the church, focusing especially on planning for church education. As associate director of the division, she assumed responsibility for editing the denominational magazine for Christian educators, the Baptist Leader , and many of her ideas related to planning can be found in her editorials in this magazine. She also wrote an occasional column, "Notes to Christian Education Planners," and articles for special emphases, such as Christian Education Sunday, schools of missions, and persons with special needs.

Isham served as chair of the JED coordinating committee in 1991-1992. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Baptist Assembly from 1989-1994 and a member of the American Baptist Historical Society Board from 1989-1994.

When the Board of Educational Ministries was reorganized in 1991, Isham became director of planning for congregational education. Her philosophy is described in a chapter she contributed to The Teaching Church at Work , "Planning for Effective and Vital Christian Education" (1993), where she describes the characteristics of a strong educational program and the ways to implement them.

In 1994, Isham developed a unique model of programming that allowed her to test some of her own concepts of planning, as well as to focus on her broader concern for renewal of the church's commitment to church education. Recognizing that the local church and the regions to which they belong are the places where church education needs the strongest leadership and training, she agreed to continue on a part-time basis with her national responsibilities while serving as part-time director of one American Baptist region (the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut) and resource person to four other regions in New England which, together with Connecticut, became the New England Educational Ministries Partnership (NEEMP). A regional minister who participated in this partnership said she "knew what it took to pull together an amorphous group, to develop and focus on common purposes, and to provide key time for resource sharing."

This model allowed Isham to develop and test some of her most creative ideas. She introduced Christian Education Roundtables that brought Connecticut educators together to share ideas and support one another. One participant at the meetings of this network described her presence as a "quiet host and wise counsel."

She also developed the annual statewide Christian Education Fair in Connecticut into a significant multicultural, intergenerational day, increasing the attendance from 35 to 150. She gave key leadership to a Christian Education Consultation sponsored by NEEMP in 1996 and was instrumental in developing the Discipleship Partners, a corps of lay leaders trained to give leadership in Christian education in regions, piloted in New England in 1999. In response to the growing number of Hispanic ABC churches, she encouraged the Board of Educational Ministries to translate the Christian Education Planning Guide into Spanish.

Isham's concern for the renewal of the church's commitment to church education led her to write Charting Our Course: Renewing the Church's Teaching Ministry (1997) as well as four chapters in Embracing the Future: A Guide for Reshaping Your Church's Teaching Ministry (1999). In these resources she describes the decline of church education in most mainline Protestant denominations and suggests that new maps be created. "The finished highway has ended and the journey now is taking place on a road that's under construction," she says (1997, p. 3). She compares this to the journey the Israelites took when they reached the wilderness. This journey, she reminds her readers, took 40 years.

Isham continues to write new maps for her own career, serving in leadership roles at the Second Baptist Church of Suffield, CT as well as president of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut.

Hospitality and Faith

Friends and colleagues of Linda Isham say she has "the gift of hospitality." Gatherings at her home are always fun and she enjoys readying her house for them, as well as trying new recipes for main courses and unique deserts. She has a talent for interior design that allows her to create a pleasant, even artistic environment within a limited budget. She is also an excellent gardener.

When Isham's older brother decided to homestead in Maine, she bought a small vacation cabin next to his property that has neither electricity nor running water. Here her decorating and gardening talents have been challenged, but she manages to entertain local women at an afternoon tea every summer, complete with hats and white gloves.

She is a seasoned hiker who has backpacked and camped in several states. "Her stamina on steep trails - with a full pack and sleeping bag - is remarkable," says a backpacking companion. She also enjoys international travel and trips to various points of interest in the United States. On many of these trips, she takes a sketch pad and watercolors, engaging in another of her artistic interests. Quilting is also a favorite activity.

Friends mention her solid support. "Linda is a graceful and gracious person," one friend says. "Her caring is expressed in words and notes, as well as calls. She is very perceptive in knowing when a special word is needed."

Above all, Isham is valued for the "quiet faith" that sustains her and those with whom she associates. "She lives her faith in her work and her relationships," says a colleague. "She is not 'in your face' about it but quiet and firm and warm in making known her understanding of the Good News."


Contributions to Christian Education

Linda Isham's attention to detail has enabled her to develop a number of very useful program guides, planning resources, workshop designs and curriculum units. At the same time, her ability to think creatively has led her to ponder the larger issues in church education and to develop experimental models to respond to those questions. Her early ministry with children was based on a theology that called for including all persons - even children - in the church's mission. As she moved into a wider ministry with national and regional church educators, she became concerned about the way church education was being marginalized in many denominations. In response, she developed an imaginative call for renewal and provided resources to implement it.

Recognizing the Gifts Children Bring to the Church

Isham bases her concern for including children in the church on a sound understanding of developmental psychology and the ways it has been applied to faith development. She begins by listing the gifts children bring to the church: they have new ways of seeing the commonplace; they give affection freely; and they have creative spontaneous ideas and uninhibited expression (1975). Then she describes the ways the church can use these gifts. A chart in her book, On Behalf of Children , outlines realistic expectations for the ways children develop a relationship to God, the church, the Bible, and others in the context of church education. For example, second-graders can begin to participate in worship; third and fourth graders enjoy doing service projects; older children can understand much of the message of the Bible and personally commit themselves to church membership (1975). "Children are persons," she says. "They are not pre-adults (but) participants in the world in which they live" (1975, p. 14).

Isham is explicit about the ways the church can nurture and receive the gifts of children. She especially values spontaneous moments when the Christian faith is shared through the questions children raise, the unplanned ways they share with adults and their peers, the simple yet profound ways they express their understanding of deep theological concepts.

The church needs to teach in ways that allow for these spontaneous contributions, Isham says. As an example, she describes a lab school in which adult observers were admonished to remain totally uninvolved with the demonstration class, sitting on the sidelines and not laughing, speaking, or in any way making their presence known. When it came time for the children to share what they had learned, however, one young student invited the observers to come to the rug to share what they had learned. "This was an unplanned, spontaneous action," Isham says. "It was a child sharing his gifts with adults and other children. It was adults sharing their faith by allowing that child's suggestion to be implemented and their own planned closure to go by the way" (1975, p. 32).

Nurturing Those who Minister with Children

Isham believes those who minister with children need to be nurtured along with the children they serve. To facilitate this, the church needs to become a supportive community where teachers and other leaders can reflect on their faith and find renewed strength and encouragement. "We need to recall that we are united in the body of Christ," she says. "We do not minister alone" (1975, p. 23).

Isham has led many training events that model the kind of nurture she feels leaders deserve. In lab schools, workshops, and individual conferences she has helped those responsible for ministry with children identify and share their own unique gifts, seek support for the areas in which they experience difficulty, and celebrate their own growth as members of the Christian community.

Her concern for nurturing leaders has led Isham to develop personal relationships that are supportive of local and regional leaders. One teacher says she called Isham several times a year. "Sometimes I was ready to give up teaching children," she says, "but Linda encouraged me in her quiet, supportive way, and I was able to go on - and to even feel that I was making a difference."

Confronting the Future of Church Education

As Isham moved from a focus on ministry with children to a broader administrative relationship to ABC church education, she became concerned about the future of church education. This concern developed as she, along with church educators in other denominations, became aware that Christian education was facing a crisis. She describes this crisis in Charting Our Course: Renewing the Church's Teaching Ministry :

The last thirty years or so have seen a steady decline in the enrollment and attendance figures for Sunday church school in many denominations. Children come on their own or are dropped off by parents who don't stay. Youth sports teams practice and play on Sunday mornings. Children of divorce may attend one or two Sundays a month. Teachers are more difficult to recruit and often don't want to go to teacher-training events. Many people within and without the church are biblically illiterate. Many seek meaning for their lives yet seem reluctant to join a congregation and commit themselves to ongoing learning. (1997, pp. 1-2).

Isham says church educators seem to be "wandering in the wilderness," much like the Israelites at the time of Moses and Aaron (1997, p. 2). But she does not give in to the sense of despair that many in church education express. Instead, she suggests using this time to remember and celebrate the past while experimenting with new ways to respond to the present and plan for the future.

Experimenting is key to Isham's strategy. She does not tell educators what they should do to prepare for the future; instead, she encourages them to take time to define their objectives and then create new ways to meet those objectives. Undergirding this process is intentional study of the Scriptures and practicing "Sabbath moments," a term she bases on Elizabeth Yates' description of an Indian meditation practice that parallels biblical descriptions of shabat or sabbath (1997, p. 11).

Isham believes this kind of intentional study will help educators develop solutions to their own unique problems that are based on a solid understanding of their theology, mission, and resources. She purposely refrains from offering models that all churches can adapt because she believes the process is as important as the final product. However, she does offer examples of ways churches have experimented with their Christian education programs. These serve as discussion starters rather than designs for congregations to copy.

She divides these examples into "adaptive changes" and "foundational changes." Adaptive changes include changing time schedules, for example having church school on Saturday morning, or changing closely graded classes to intergenerational or interest groups. Foundational changes affect the traditional pattern of a separate Sunday church school, for example integrating worship and education.

Isham stresses that these changes, whether adaptive or foundational, should not be viewed as permanent. "Remember that it is all right to experiment . . . without making a long-term commitment," she says. She adds that it's even all right to fail, since "other possibilities often grow out of changes that don't work as planned" (1997, p. 34).

A Ministry of Questions

Linda Isham has always raised questions - about the place of children in the church, about the nature of faith development, about the nurture of church educators, about organizational structures, and about the future of church education. The formulation of these questions, along with the strategies for answering them, represents her most important contribution to the church's educational ministry.

Sources Cited

  • Isham, L. (Ed.). (1999). Embracing the future: A guide for reshaping your church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1997). Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1975). On behalf of children. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Bibliography

Books

  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (2000). Singing a new song: 2000-2001 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1999a). A heart for teaching and learning: 1999-2000 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1999b). Embracing the future: A guide for reshaping your church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1998). Keeping the story alive: 1998-1999 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1997a). Making all things new: 1997-1998 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (1997b). Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1996). Growing in Christ: 1996-1997 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (1995). Rooted in the word: 1995-1996 Christian education planning guide for American Baptist churches. Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.
  • Isham, L. (Ed.) (2002). The teaching church at work: A manual for the board of Christian education. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1975). On behalf of children. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Chapters in Books

  • Isham, L. (1999). Seeing the big picture and getting started. In L. R. Isham (Ed.), Embracing the future: A guide to reshaping your church's teaching ministry (pp. 6-19). Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1999). Shaping a vision. In L. R. Isham (Ed.), Embracing the future: A guide to reshaping your church's teaching ministry (pp. 49-59). Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1999). Developing a menu of possibilities. In L. R. Isham (Ed.), Embracing the future: a guide to reshaping your church's teaching ministry (pp. 69-78). Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1999). Making an action plan. In L. R. Isham (Ed.), Embracing the future: a guide to reshaping your church's teaching ministry (pp. 79-87). Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • Isham, L. (1993). Planning for effective and vital Christian education. In L. R. Isham (Ed.), The teaching church at work: A manual for the board of Christian education (pp. 69-72). Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Curriculum

  • Isham, L. (1982). Mission in Oklahoma. In Bible and life graded series, Valley Forge, PA: Educational Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA.

Book Reviews

  • Isham, L. (1994, January). [Review of the book The teaching church: Moving Christian education to center stage]. Educational Ministries, ABCUSA.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Summer). [Review of the book A message in a minute: Lighthearted minidramas for churches]. Baptist Leader.
  • Isham, L. (1981, July-September). [Review of the book Faith and sexism: Guidelines for religious educators].

Articles

  • Isham, L. (2000, Spring). Nurturing one's heart for teaching and learning. A Baptist Leader.
  • Isham, L. (1999, Summer). A heart for teaching and learning: Christian education Sunday. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1998, Summer). Keeping the story alive: Christian education Sunday. A Baptist Leader, 28.
  • Isham, L. (1997, Summer). Celebrating Christian education Sunday. A Baptist Leader, 19.
  • Isham, L., & Scotte, D. (1995, Fall). Working with volunteer leaders. A Baptist Leader, 20-25.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Fall). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Fall). Why volunteer?: Today's volunteers speak on 'motivation,' (Interview with church leaders). A Baptist Leader, 5-7.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Fall). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Summer). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Summer). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Spring). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 14.
  • Isham, L. (1995, Spring). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1994-1995, Winter). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1994-1995, Winter). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Fall). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 14.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Fall). The church in a changing world. A Baptist Leader, 11-13.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Fall). Theme worship resources. Writing as Della Webb. A Baptist Leader, 6-7.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Fall). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Summer). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 18.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Summer). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Spring). On behalf of children: A children's day program. A Baptist Leader, 24-25.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Spring). The teaching church at work: A two-hour workshop. A Baptist Leader, 16-19.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Sping). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 10.
  • Isham, L. (1994, Spring). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1993-1994, Winter). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1993-1994, Winter). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Fall). Theme resources. A Baptist Leader, 13.
  • Isham, L. (1993). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Summer). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Summer). Changes for Baptist Leader. A Baptist Leader, 15.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Spring). Christian education - more than programs. A Baptist Leader, 34-35.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Spring). Notes to pastors. A Baptist Leader, 22.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Spring). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1993, Spring). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1992-1993, Winter). Notes to pastors. A Baptist Leader, 22.
  • Isham, L. (1992-1993, Winter). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Fall). Signs of priority, Church school department. A Baptist Leader, 26.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Fall). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Fall). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Summer). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Summer). Planning for the year ahead. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Summer). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1992, Spring). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1991-1992, Winter ). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Fall). Characteristics of effective church schools, Church school department. A Baptist Leader, 26.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Fall). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Fall). Teaching methods. Adapted by Linda R. Isham. A Baptist Leader, 8-11.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Fall). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Summer). Ministry to the campus: An interview with Adam Kittrell. A Baptist Leader, 27-29.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Summer). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Summer). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L., & Layton B. (1991, Spring). Library resource list. A Baptist Leader, 41.
  • Isham, L. (1991, Spring). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1990-1991, Winter). Planning tips for a school of missions. A Baptist Leader, 40-41.
  • Isham, L. (1990-1991, Winter). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1990-1991, Winter). A corporate and coordinated ministry (Ministry with persons of special need). A Baptist Leader, 8.
  • Isham, L. (1990, December). Six devotions: In my Father's house; Make the promise possible; Wait for Christmas; Open your eyes; See the signs; Rejoice! Share the joy. Secret Place, 19-25.
  • Isham, L. (1990, Fall). Planning the total Christian education program: A two-hour workshop. Adapted by Linda R. Isham. A Baptist Leader, 38-41.
  • Isham, L. (1990, Fall). Readiness for objectives. Church school department. A Baptist Leader, 26.
  • Isham, L. (1990, Fall). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1990, Fall). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1990, July/August). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1990, July-August). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1990, May/June). Notes to Christian education planners. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1990, May/June). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1990, March/April). Creative arts resources. A Baptist Leader, 32.
  • Isham, L. (1990, January/February). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1989, September/October). On being partners. J. B. S. memo. A Baptist Leader, 26.
  • Isham, L. (1989, September/October). The growing church: called to teach. A Baptist Leader, 3-6.
  • Isham, L. (1989, September/October). Looking ahead [Editorial]. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1989, July/August). Acting for recognition and renewal [Editorial]. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1989, May/June). Gifted, empowered, tooled [Editorial]. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1989, March/April). New beginnings - Easter 1989 [Editorial]. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1989, January/February). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, November/December). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, September/October). Planning for fall and beyond. A Baptist Leader, 44.
  • Isham, L. (1988, September/October). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, August). Coming next month . . . in Baptist Leader. A Baptist Leader, 14.
  • Isham, L. (1988 August). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, July). A new look for Baptist Leader. A Baptist Leader, 9.
  • Isham, L. (1988, July). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, May). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, April). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1988, March). Judson Bible series - what makes it American Baptist? A Baptist Leader, 30-31.
  • Isham, L. (1988, March). Preparing your church for the new Judson curriculum. A Baptist Leader, 6-7.
  • Isham, L. (1988, February). A Christian education spring checklist. A Baptist Leader, 112-13.
  • Isham, L. (1988, January). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, December). A Christian education winter checklist. A Baptist Leader, 12.
  • Isham, L. (1987, November). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, October). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, September). Getting off to a good start: a Christian education fall checklist. A Baptist Leader, 10-11.
  • Isham, L. (1987, September). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, July). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, April). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, March). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1987, January). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1986, November). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1986, October). Christmas book list. A Baptist Leader, 14.
  • Isham, L. (1986, October). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1986, September). Special observances for fall. A Baptist Leader, 10.
  • Isham, L. (1986, July). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1986, April). Claiming our heritage resource list. A Baptist Leader, 37.
  • Isham, L. (1986, April,). A time line for Baptist history . . . in two parts. A Baptist Leader, 32-33.
  • Isham, L. (1986, January,). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, November). Grow by caring as a teaching church: focus, adult Bible study groups. A Baptist Leader, 13.
  • Isham, L. (1985, November). Bible study aids. A Baptist Leader, 12.
  • Isham, L. (1985, November). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, October). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, August). Educating-for-Mission Resources. A Baptist Leader, 10-11.
  • Isham, L. (1985, July). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, May). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, April). Grow by caring as a teaching church: focus, Mark 3 - Discipleship. A Baptist Leader, 7.
  • Isham, L. (1985, April). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, March). Editorial. A Baptist Leader, 2.
  • Isham, L. (1985, February), A Lenten preparation calendar for teachers and leaders. A Baptist Leader, 10-11.
  • Isham, L. (1983, November). Advent: more than wreaths and calendars. A Baptist Leader, 4-5.
  • Isham, L. (1982, December). Children and Advent. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1981, October). A Christmas reflection. A Baptist Leader, 15.
  • Isham, L. (1981, August). Presenting Bibles to children. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1981, July). Interpreting and building support for ministry with children. A Baptist Leader, 20.
  • Isham, L. (1980, June). Discipline: control or punishment. A Baptist Leader, 49.
  • Isham, L. (1980, March). Summer programming with children. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1979, February). Children and you in 1979. The American Baptist, 9.
  • Isham, L. (1979, January). Sharing our faith. A Baptist Leader, 13.
  • Isham, L. (1977, September). Presenting Bibles to children. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1977, May). Children's Day. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1976, September). Presenting Bibles to children: Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 11.
  • Isham, L. (1975, January). Resources for ministry with children. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1974, May). Books for young children. Children's section. A Baptist Leader, 49.
  • Isham, L. (1974, May). Presenting Bibles to children. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1974, April). Book list for adult leaders in ministry with children. Children's section. A Baptist Leader, 57.
  • Isham, L. (1974, March). What's in a day for children? A Baptist Leader, 49.
  • Isham, L. (1974, March). Help us plan for Children's Day. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 56.
  • Isham, L. (1974, April). Children's Day resources. Checklist for administrators. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1973, May). The church's total ministry with children means.... A Baptist Leader, 13.
  • Isham, L. (1973, June). A Bible for a child. A Baptist Leader, 49.
  • Isham, L. (1971, April). Children and worship. A Baptist Leader, 14.
  • Isham, L. (1971, July). Space for spreading arms and sitting still. A Baptist Leader, 4.
  • Isham, L. (1971, September). Programming begins with people. A Baptist Leader, 53.
  • Isham, L. (1970, January). My hopes for children. A Baptist Leader, 16.
  • Isham, L. (1970, January). Children's day, 1970 - a new look. A Baptist Leader, 64.
  • Isham, L. (1967, May). They teach us like we've got brains. A Baptist Leader, 14.

Unpublished Manuscripts

  • Isham, L. (1997, June). Testimony given at Board of Educational Ministries meeting. Unpublished Manuscripts.
  • Isham, L. (1994, December). Commissioning words, on the occasion of being commissioned to work in New England. Unpublished Manuscripts. Board of Educational Ministries.
  • Isham, L. (1988). Report on summer study leave trip to Thailand, Hong Kong, and China. Unpublished Manuscripts.
  • Isham, L. (1988, August)). Called to teach: A litany of commitment. Paper presented at National Christian Education Gathering, Green Lake, Wisconsin.
  • Isham, L. (1980, April). Statement made at Children and the Eucharist Consultation. Unpublished Manuscripts. Bad Segeberg, Germany.
  • Isham, L. (1978, June). Expectations we can hold for the development of faith in children. Unpublished Manuscripts. Shared with the Department of Ministry with Children.
  • Isham, L. (1978, May). Development of faith in children: Some factors, expectations and implications. Unpublished Manuscripts. Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Independent study.
  • Isham, L. (1968, October). Christian education: Broadening the child's world view. Unpublished Manuscripts. Shared with the Department of Ministry with Children.

Review of Linda Isham's Books

  • Hinson, K. (1997, Nov. 22). [Review of the book Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry]. Baptist New Mexican.
  • Mosser, D. N., Sr. (1998, Sept.). [Review of the book Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry]. The Clergy Journal, 63.
  • Shields, Steven l. (1998, Feb. 1). [Review of Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry]. Congregational Leadership Resources (via e-mail).

Excerpts from Publications

Isham, L. R. (Ed.). (1999). Embracing the future: A guide for reshaping your church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Isham, L. R. (1997). Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Isham, L. R. (1975). On behalf of children. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.


Recommended Readings

Isham, L. R. (1997). Charting our course: Renewing the church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

This book combines Isham's philosophy with practical guidance for churches who are serious about reshaping their ministry of education.

Isham, L. R. (1975). On behalf of children. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

An early statement of Isham's philosophy as it applies to children and those who work with children. The seeds of her later concerns can be found in this work and her suggestions for studying the needs of children are still very useful.

Isham, Linda R. (Ed.). (1999). Embracing the future: a guide for reshaping your church's teaching ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

A rationale for planning for the future of church education, plus detailed outlines of planning activities for individuals and church committees.

Isham, L. R., & Blazier, K. D. (Eds.). (1993, Rev. Ed.). The teaching church at work: A manual for the board of Christian education.

While based on a board structure that may no longer exist in some churches, this book provides broad coverage of the concerns that are addressed in any church education program, along with ways to respond to these concerns.


Author Information

Janice Corbett

Janice M. Corbett, Ph.D. is associate professor of English at Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA. She was formerly associate director of the American Baptist Division of Communication and a staff member in the American Baptist Division of Church Education with Linda R. Isham.

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