Judy Ten Elshof (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Professor of Spirituality and Marriage & Family, Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Dr. Ten Elshof has established and directed counseling centers in churches and Christian schools and is founder and Vice President of Hilltop Renewal Center for Christian leaders. She has authored several journal articles along with chapters in Foundations of Ministry: An Introduction to Christian Education for a New Generation; Short-Term Missions Boom: The Guide to International and Domestic Involvement; and the Christian Education Dictionary. Dr. Ten Elshof co-authored Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective. Her goal for Talbot's Spiritual Formation Focus is to encourage Talbot students to cooperate in the God-ordained process through the work of the Holy Spirit to shape their lives so that they take on the character and being of Christ himself. Her expertise as a teacher and conference speaker is in helping individuals and families in ministry grow in relationship to God and others.
This proposed project would be bringing the psychological theory of attachment together with the underlying processes of spiritual formation by extending the findings of my dissertation research. This research showed that adult measures of secure adult attachment styles are correlated with Spiritual Maturity. Measures of parental bonding evidence minimal associations with Adult Attachment Styles and were weaker correlates of Spiritual Maturity. Secure Adult Attachment was a stronger predictor of Spiritual Maturity when compared to measures of Parental Bonding among Seminary students. This project will propose some beginning explorations of what experiences of relationship are needed to reshape an internalized representational parental model to a secure adult model that would be foundational for experiencing the love of God and others moving toward spiritual maturity. Then I will explore how these components of secure relationship could be provided to adults in seminaries and churches.