Membership in Our Society
The Society of Professors in Christian Education welcomes new colleagues into our organization throughout the year. Those interested in becoming a part of our society and who meet our membership requirements are enthusiastically invited to join at any time. Our membership is comprised of Christian professors and professionals serving in higher education and educational ministries. Most of our members are currently in or preparing for these types of positions, callings, and careers. Our Society includes an increasing number of fellows from different countries around the world but a high percentage live, work, or study within the United States and Canada. The membership is comprised of large percentages of both men and women, people from an increasing number of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and a host of evangelical institutions.
We are passionate about our callings and ministries, therefore we believe that membership in this organization ‘means’ something. SPCE is an first and foremost an academic society. It is an organization for professors and professionals within the guild of Christian education. For this reason, we have the following criteria for membership. All who meet these requirements are heartily welcomed into our collegial society.
1) Self-Identify as an Evangelical Christian
2) Acknowledge our Statement of Faith
3) Formally Trained or Pursuing Education in Ministry and Higher Education
4) Serving in, Seeking, or Retired from an Educational Ministry Role
An academic society represents both a guild of educators and a field of discipline. We seek to protect this sacred trust and to provide for its future. To do so, we challenge our colleagues to go beyond meeting the minimal criteria for membership and to pay it forward by committing to the mutual expectations we have for one another as both faculty and friends. These are the primary aspirations to which we are committed.
A) Passion to Advance Christian Higher Education and Ministry
B) Commitment To Relate to and Collaborate with other SPCE Members
C) Interest to Meaningfully Contribute to the Society and Its Efforts
D) Desire to Engage Meaningfully in the Life of the Organization
Value of Membership
Membership is not only about belonging and giving, it is also about receiving. This give-and-take is what makes membership desirable and beneficial. Otherwise, there would be few compelling reasons to become a part of an organization such as ours. Our society is optimistic about the future and excited about the many opportunities and benefits membership in SPCE affords.
In recent years, SPCE has been transitioning from a predominately conference-based, one-event-per-year organization, to becoming an association that offers dynamic annual conferences while also encouraging and facilitating member interaction and collegiality throughout the year. In fact, some of these opportunities are still being rolled out to the delight of our members.
The Digital Revolution has ushered in a new paradigm of ministry for organizations like ours– one where many of our members find themselves at institutions that are separated by many miles. This includes scholars living throughout the U.S., Canada, and abroad. The new benefits we are offering are radically changing SPCE for the better– especially for those who cannot always attend our annual conference. We encourage you to discover more about our exciting new ways of contributing to and benefiting from other SPCE members– and then join us!
Those of us who serve in higher education know that societal membership is an absolute expectation of leading academic institutions. Membership is a way that we communicate to other colleagues in our field, outside our field, and within our own institutions that we are serious about the academic endeavor of advancing our field of study and practice. Even if this were not so, reasons to join with other academics and professionals abound. Below are a number of genuine benefits to membership in our organization. SPCE offers advantages and values that include a unique combination of personal, interpersonal, and professional benefits that evangelical Christian Educators cannot find anywhere else.
1. Identification with an Academic Society. All who join us are entitled to a renewable, annual listing on our SPCE Membership Directory. This membership list will be rigorously maintained in order to communicate to our members, website guests, and all who inquire about certain persons’ membership status. Active and ongoing membership in an organization such as ours sends a signal to potential employers and potential employers those individuals’ commitment to the field. As the leading society of evangelical Christian educators, SPCE membership establishes a “minimum baseline” of participation and partnership in our academic field. Many of those with hiring authority in our evangelical institutions will not hire a person who is not identified with a society such as ours, and for good reason.
2. Academic and Professional Legitimacy through Collegiality. Nearly every legitimate profession has organizations that provide members opportunities to engage in collegial interactions. This is true for physicians, paralegals, and plumbers. Even more so, this should be true of academics. Due to the fact that our field is highly specialized with the highest standards of educational requirements and professional expectations, people holding advanced degrees and positions in our field are a rarity. Our members are a part of an elite, but not elitist, and specialized field. This type of specialization means that most institutions have smaller departments where collegiality between like-minded and similarly-trained individuals is not always easily found. SPCE provides the ability to communicate to administrative leaders at our own institutions and those within our field and at sister institutions that we have been accepted by other colleagues as a part of the larger guild of Christian educators.
3. Professional Development. SPCE is positioning itself as a true learning organization. We are putting resources and opportunities into place that will provide our members with on-going and substantial opportunities for professional development. Limited opportunities for development have always existed in the past through shared hard-copy or electronic resources and professional development seminars at annual conferences. These opportunities are now multiplying, due to the expansion and updating of our web presence that is now possible with the world wide web and mobile devices. We are working on a number of new and ongoing professional development opportunities that include providing regular outstanding SPCE member-produced blogs, podcasts, videos and a host of other resources currently being developed and deployed. Information on these and other opportunities is being deployed throughout this website, in our private members’ area, in our newsletters, through our e-mail distribution list, and through special announcements given at our annual conference.
4. Spiritual Formation and Fellowship Opportunities. Our members genuinely like another and desire to interact and, when possible, spend time together. Within a short time in our organization, members become friends. This environment of caring and grace is evident in e-mail interactions, online engagement and, most of all, in person at our annual conferences. The leadership and legacy developed over the past several decades by our committed members provide opportunities for meaningful relationships seldom seen in higher education or professional life. This includes opportunities to be encouraged and edified through interaction with colleagues who are a part of SPCE.
5. Research Presentations and Opportunities. As an academic society with members from nearly 200 accredited institutions of higher learning, research presentations are a natural aspect of SPCE membership. Each year at our annual conference we provide dozens of opportunities for qualified, selected, or juried research to be presented. Group research projects are becoming even more prevalent than before through a renewed national emphasis on assessment and evaluation. SPCE members at sister schools regularly engage in personal and group research. This often involves the opportunity to partner in funded or volunteer research projects, to write essays, articles, or books with other SPCE members, and to partner in studies with colleagues and doctoral students. In addition, our annual conference, there are a growing number of digital and virtual forums to share research. This will include research presentations by videoconference, and other semi-formal venues. Routine information about these is available here and on other SPCE-managed resources.
6. Dynamic Learning-and-Discovery-Based Website. Rather than the SPCE website being farmed out to an outside organization for construction and updating, we have undertaken that task ourselves. Our website provides a great many number of resources for learning and discovery. Members are be treated to sections providing up-to-the-minute world news, live Twitter feeds from relevant resources, and one-location access to the top leadership, education, technology, discipleship, and ministry websites. In addition, we feature resources like an official web log (blog), video blog (vlog), podcast, wikis, and too many other resources to mention. All of these will come from the home base of our website and associated tools which are mobile-and-pad-responsive, in addition to being cross-platform for Windows, Apple, and Android users. We will also offer an increasing number of members-only resources available only to those who help resource the organization through their modest membership fees. Our desire is to provide special links that provide access to tools that will be helpful to our society’s scholars. This includes areas for conducting research, collaboration, networking, locating timely information on known position vacancies, and a password-protected SPCE prayer group. The advantages of cloud computing, shared folders, wikis, and other tools will be exploited for our members’ benefit.
7. The Christian Education Journal and Other Publications. An annual subscription (Spring and Fall Issues) of the Christian Education Journal (CEJ) is included in the cost of each year’s SPCE Membership. This includes no fewer than two annual issues (Spring and Fall), in addition to any special issues that may be produced from time to time. New Members’ first CEJ issue will arrive during the spring (typically April) of the year following initial or renewed membership application. The second issue arrives mid-October, usually just prior to the annual SPCE conference. In addition to the CEJ, our society publishes a newsletter multiple times annually. This publication is typically electronic in nature, though it has also been mailed hard copy on occasion. The newsletter offers conference information, news from member institutions, announcements, updates, and articles from SPCE officers.
8. Annual Conference. A highlight of the year and an event not to be missed is the annual SPCE Conference, typically held the second-third-or-fourth) week of October. The dates for the annual conference are generally announced before or during the current year’s conference. Our event offers stimulating speakers, discussion groups, research presentations, professional seminars, limited time to explore the environs, affinity groups with other colleagues, and invigorating fellowship with other professors and leaders in the field. The conference is only open to current members of our organization.
9. Expansive Social Networking and Digital Resource Opportunities. Because each media provides different advantages and appeals to different members, SPCE will maintain a number of different social media accounts as outlined on our Social page. These include both standard social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but a host of others as well. These include SlideShare, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and others. We will help our members learn about these resources’ advantages, in addition to helping them learn more about how to use them proficiently. Some written explanations and limited video tutorials are provided on our website and SPCE-associated social media accounts. Though not all members will use all of the tools we offer, that is not the purpose of offering them. We simply want to aid and abet the success of our members, and to help advance their SPCE relationships, careers, and life work.
10. Student Scholastic Award. To encourage promising scholars and outstanding students in Christian education-related fields, current members may nominate one student annually from each degree or level (undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral) of their school’s academic programs to receive the Scholastic Award in Christian Education. When our offices receive electronic submission of an agreed-upon nominee from each school’s programs during the Spring Semester, we will issue the award certificate to deserving students. The SPCE Scholastic Award is not a cash-based honor, though individual institutions may provide an honorarium for students. Information about nominating students for this award may be found in the member’s area of our website.