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Charles Albert Tidwell

By Martha S. Bergen



Early Life, Education and Teaching

Charles Albert Tidwell was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1931. He was born at home and was the seventh of eight children and the fourth of four boys. His father, Elmer C. Tidwell, was a railroad blacksmith at the time. Because of the Depression, however, the elder Tidwell did not make a career with the railroad. He became a blacksmith for the Alabama State Highway Department, building and operating the blacksmith equipment, retiring 35 years later. His mother, Elva (Wright) Tidwell, worked at home and took care of the family. She also did volunteer work in the church, teaching nine-year-olds in Sunday school and participating in the Women's Missionary Union, which she served on several occasions as president.

Tidwell's parents bought a small, new house when they were first married. Here they lived and raised their family until Mrs. Tidwell sold it upon moving to Texas 60 years later. Charles lived at home until he became a college freshman. He attended public school in Montgomery for grades 1 through 12 and graduated in l949 from the Sydney Lanier High School, the only white public high school in Montgomery at that time.

While a youth, Tidwell had three main areas of interest and involvement. The first of these was sports. Basketball was his favorite. He played on the varsity team for two years at Sydney Lanier. During his senior year the team, known as the Poets, won the state championship for the first time. He went on to play basketball at the junior college he attended. His second area of interest was music. As the youngest boy in his family, Tidwell was the “pet.” One of his brothers worked with him and pushed him to sing. Consequently, he would sing for relatives whenever they came to visit. As early as ages seven and eight, he competed for prizes, often winning first place in these competitions. He also began to sing for church and later was a member of the junior high chorus. His musical interest continued into adulthood, as he sang in churches and served in the capacity of music minister for some.

Tidwell's third area of interest was the church. The Tidwell family always went to church, located only a block away from their home. His mother was a Baptist, and his father had been a Methodist. The elder Tidwell became a Baptist, however, when the children grew older and began to ask regarding church, “Are we going with Mother or Father?” The baptism of Tidwell's father influenced the young Tidwell to the point that he too wanted to be baptized. About a year later, at the age of nine, this took place. Other family members were so impressed with the elder Tidwell's baptism and decision to become a Baptist that they also were baptized as Baptists. Growing up, the younger Tidwell attended revivals and Vacation Bible School at the Methodist church. His paternal great-grandfather was a lay Methodist minister. His Methodist roots would provide a foundation for his partnership later on with Methodist Lyle Schaller as they coauthored the book, Creative Church Administration (1975).

Upon his high school graduation, Tidwell entered junior college at Hiwasse College (Methodist affiliation) in East Tennessee, located near Madisonville. He attended from 1949-1951, enrolling as a prelaw student. Among opportunities afforded Tidwell was the chance to participate in the school's Life Service Group. Dr. Aaron H. Rapking, an older professor at Hiwasse who also served as National Director of the Town and Country Church Division of the United Methodist Church, officed in New York City, was the group's sponsor. Students would go into churches across the Tennessee Valley area to assist them with music and Sunday school. After teaching a Sunday school class, Tidwell would usually direct the church's congregational singing. Many times he would also sing a solo or be in a quartet. Students were also expected to participate with the church in community projects as part of these endeavors.

While at Hiwasse College Tidwell made his commitment to Christian ministry. He states, “This was a process which began early on in my Christian experience” (C. Tidwell, personal communication, February 28, 2002). When Tidwell was a teenager, his pastor expressed to his mother that Tidwell would become a preacher. Although he gave it serious consideration, he wanted to find something other than the path of a preacher or missionary. This resulted in his selection of prelaw upon enrollment at Hiwasse.

During Tidwell's sophomore year, he led the music during a revival around Easter time at Hiwasse. On Easter morning that year, he went outside to watch the sun rise. In that moment, he yielded to God's calling for vocational ministry. Although he did not know where this was headed, he knew he wanted to find the niche where God wanted him to be, even if it did mean becoming a preacher.

From Hiwasse, Tidwell enrolled at Baylor University because of the influence and encouragement of the pastor at his home church in Montgomery. E. C. Houston became pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Montgomery between Tidwell's freshman and sophomore years at Hiwasse. He was the first pastor at Emmanuel to hold a seminary degree. Though Houston was formally trained in theology, he was also gifted as a Christian educator. When Tidwell went home to work for the summer after his graduation from Hiwasse in 1951, Houston spoke with him about Baylor. Seeing Tidwell's potential in the area of Christian education, Houston allowed him the opportunity to work in the church doing educational tasks. In the spring of 1953, Tidwell graduated from Baylor with a double major in religious education and history. The year before, his home church had licensed him.

While a student at Baylor, Tidwell was a member of Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. Even here, Tidwell chose to use his talents in ministry as he worked in the church's mission, leading the music. During his senior year, however, Tidwell was called to his first church position with compensation. He became the Music and Youth Minister at the Bruceville Baptist Church, located about 20 miles from Waco, Texas. He worked there for the duration of his senior year.

Tidwell went on for his master's degree in religious education at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. Among his most influential professors was a New Testament professor, Ray Frank Robbins. Regarding him, Tidwell states, “He is about the most Christ-like person I ever sat under” (C. Tidwell, personal communication, February 7, 2002). While in seminary, Tidwell worked during summers in some capacity serving churches. Among these were the Durant Chapel Baptist Church in Bay Minette, Alabama, as music and youth minister; the First Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia, as assistant pastor; and the First Baptist Church of Canton, Mississippi, as associate pastor with duties in the areas of music, education, and youth.

Tidwell graduated from the seminary in the spring of l955. About one month after this, he and Jean Clark, a music education major and graduate of Howard Payne University, married. He recalls from their early courtship days working in support of a Billy Graham Crusade in New Orleans. The Tidwells had two children: a son, Al Tidwell (Charles Albert Tidwell, Jr.) of Dallas, and a daughter, Evelyn Jean Tidwell of San Antonio.

From May 1956 to August of l959, Tidwell was minister of education in Jackson, Mississippi, at the Daniel Memorial Baptist Church. Though not included as part of his title, Tidwell also worked with the church's youth (up through age 24). Here Tidwell helped to develop the “multi-shift Sunday school.” Because this church had the third largest Sunday school by enrollment in the state of Mississippi, this approach sought to accommodate those involved by organizing classes and departments so as to have two grouped and graded Sunday schools meeting at the same hour. Additionally, the evening discipleship time, known then as Training Union, was the state's largest, with approximately 1000 people. Training Union groups grew from 3 to 11 units in a 13-month period for the intermediate division alone, using what was known as the “Flake Formula” approach (Tidwell, 1996, p.191). Many lay persons were involved in weekly workers' meetings and weekly visitation efforts. Moreover, the church had three standard cradle roll departments, with almost 300 enrolled, in addition to its nursery.

During this time period so many children attended the church that Daniel Memorial had the largest Vacation Bible School, Tidwell believes, in the southeast. Tidwell attributes his educational successes here to the support of the church's pastor, Lewis E. Rhodes (a pastor who took a team approach to church leadership needs), as well as the many lay persons who were involved in the church's life. Tidwell recounts, “This was the most dynamic church I ever worked at” (C. Tidwell, personal communication, February 28, 2002).

His next place of employment was Mississippi College's religion division. He taught religious education there from l959 to l963,. His teaching assignment also included Bible survey courses. During this time period, Tidwell began his doctoral work at Southwestern Seminary. He began by going to school during the summers, later taking one year of academic leave to fulfill doctoral requirements. Tidwell took his doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1964. Tidwell was among the last group to receive the D.R.E. degree from Southwestern. However, he later met the requirements to change this degree--first to an Ed.D., then to a Ph.D.

Upon his resignation from the college, he took a position with the Baptist Sunday School Board (BSSB)--now LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention--in Nashville, Tennessee. Tidwell was employed at the BSSB from l963-65. He began as a consultant in the Church Administration Department. As the department grew under the leadership of Howard Foshee, Tidwell became a section leader for administration. His duties still allowed him to be a consultant, but now as Director of Editorial Services in Church Administration, he sought to tie editorial products to the needs of consultants in the field. He planned and supervised for the Church Administration magazine, a publication already in place.

Among the greatest influences upon Tidwell at the BSSB was W.L. Howse, Director of the Education Division. Howse's concept to coordinate leadership for the church's program organizations led Tidwell to coordinate materials which would help to bring a church's Bible teaching, discipleship, missions, and other organizations together so their ministry effectiveness would be strengthened. In this way the church's program organizations would be less likely to conflict with or compete against one another.

In August of l965, Tidwell began his 30-year tenure at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Although his intent had been to stay with the BSSB, this was a golden opportunity for Tidwell. The death of Dr. Lee McCoy left an opening at Southwestern, and Tidwell was brought in as Associate Professor of Church Administration. This title was the only one of its nature at Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) seminaries at that time. In l972, Tidwell became a full professor. He designed and taught the course required for Southwestern's master's degree in counseling entitled Family Financial Planning. He also developed the course entitled Church Office Management, as well as a course on the doctoral level called Leadership in Church Planning.

Additionally, he established an annual trip to the BSSB for Southwestern's doctoral students, as the late McCoy's widow provided grant monies for students to attend the annual Executive Committee meeting held in Nashville. Furthermore, Tidwell served as chairman of the Advanced Studies Committee in Southwestern's School of Religious Education (now School of Educational Ministries) from 1986-93.

Tidwell, in light of his previous position with the BSSB, held the Chair of Denominational Relations at Southwestern. Between l977 and l995 he was the liaison between the BSSB and Southwestern. For the first several years of this arrangement, the BSSB fully funded the endeavor. Each year Tidwell traveled to Nashville for two to three days for an idea exchange, as did others in like positions from SBC seminaries. This proved helpful, as the liaisons were given information to be able to answer students' questions regarding the BSSB's purpose and products. About this position he states, “I was the designated person on campus to expedite relationships between the Sunday School Board and the faculty and students regarding services, materials and programs that the Board provides” (Hooker, 1995, p. ?).

Two people in particular from Southwestern's religious education faculty influenced Tidwell. The first was Joe Davis Heacock. Tidwell describes him as a person who focused upon “person-to-person relationship building.” He had a warm and personal touch and “believed in the network of relationships in the church.” The second was Othal Feather. Feather focused upon “personal evangelism and evangelism through the Sunday school” and influenced Tidwell with his “persistent Christianity” (C. Tidwell, personal communication, March 14, 2002).

In l995, Tidwell formally retired from Southwestern Seminary as Distinguished Professor of Administration and Chair of Denominational Relations. Having taught there for 30 years, he taught most of the courses in Southwestern's administration department. He continued to teach as an adjunct for five years beyond retirement. His most popular course with the students was Working With Volunteers in the Church. Additionally, at the invitation of the Southern Baptist Convention's Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board), he taught a course in leadership in the United Arab Emirates for a month in l977 in their Biblical Studies Institute program. And for five summers he chaired (functionally, though not officially) the Service of Christian Worship in New Mexico's mountain resort area of Sipapu and Tres Ritos in Taos County. He plans to do additional writing during retirement.

The honors Tidwell has received include having been selected in l970 to the Outstanding Educators of America. Hiwasse College honored him with their first-ever Christian Vocation Award in November l992. In February 2002, Tidwell was included among the first group of “honorary alumni” by the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, coinciding with the official dedication of the seminary.

Contributions to Christian Education

Charles A. Tidwell's contributions to the field of Christian education center primarily upon the task of educational administration for the local church setting. His book The Educational Ministry of a Church (1996) reflects his passion for this concern as he begins with the foundational importance and necessity of the church to educate. The very nature and mission of the church require that it educate, for without this function, the church itself would be jeopardized (Tidwell, 1996, pp. 1, 3). While individual churches may choose, and in some cases need, to carry out this function in a variety of ways, it nonetheless must educate if the “fullness of Christ” is to be attained (Tidwell, 1996, p. 2). Thus, Tidwell has given his life to helping churches fulfill the biblical mandate of education and discipleship, be it through his own service to numerous local churches or the shaping of students for church leadership through his career of writing and teaching.

Tidwell himself sees his greatest contribution to be his focus on working with volunteer educators in the church. This is linked with what he considers to be his two best works: The Educational Ministry of a Church (1996) and Training Potential Sunday School Workers (1985). He believes in the strength of volunteer church leadership and the possibilities training affords. One can work with volunteer leaders in the church and accomplish the work of the church. He states, “Workers make the difference, and training makes the difference in the worker” (C. Tidwell, personal communication, March 14, 2002).

Tidwell taught a number of courses at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary which dealt with a wide range of administrative concerns--anything from Survey of Religious Education in the Church to Church Family Financial Planning to Management by Objectives, some of which he designed himself. Because he was the liaison from the BSSB to Southwestern, he helped to strengthen denominational ties, as well as expand the understanding and operation of the denomination of Southern Baptists among his students.

Dr. Gary Waller, Professor of Administration and Professor of the Chair of Denominational Relationships (the liaison position Tidwell formerly held) at Southwestern Seminary, states, Dr. Tidwell's insights into church administration and educational programming has influenced ministers and laymen alike to remain focused on the mission of the church. He has the ability to explain in detail programs and processes, while at the same time organizing them into manageable parts. Dr. Tidwell showed an interest in the life and ministry of current and former students alike. Churches around the world have benefitted from his influence on his students. He had the unique ability to combine the “how” with the “why.” (G. Waller, personal communication, April 1, 2002)

Royce Rose, former Associate Professor of Administration at Southwestern Seminary, says of Tidwell, “[He] is a man of integrity, a denominationalist and a caring person. He has always been true to his word and true to his character. He has genuine care for his fellow human beings.” (Hooker, 1995, p. ?)

Waller and Rose are among those Tidwell has influenced in the area of Christian education, particularly administration. Rose is currently Director of the Office of Theological Education for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Southwestern Seminary’s current dean of the School of Educational Ministries, Daryl Eldridge, and former dean, Jack Terry, were students of Tidwell. Several others of his students went on to become Christian education teachers--some at Southwestern as Tidwell’s colleagues, and some at other schools. Others have served in local church ministries, and still others in denominational agencies.

Harry Piland and Alva Parks were among those who did doctoral studies with Tidwell. Piland gave leadership to the Sunday School Department of the BSSB, which included writing and conferencing, and also served as minister of education at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. Parks served on Southwestern’s administration faculty for a number of years before becoming the Executive Vice-President of Dallas Baptist University. Bill Taylor, who studied under Tidwell on the master's level, has given leadership to LifeWay’s Sunday School Department and now serves as Director of Network Partnerships, LifeWay Church Resources. Bernie Spooner distinguished himself as a minister of education, going on to administer Sunday school leadership for the state of Texas through the Baptist General Convention of Texas for 20 years. Both he and his successor, Dennis Parrot, Director of the Bible Study/Discipleship Center, were students of Tidwell.

Both Alva Parks and Jeter Basden, another of Tidwell’s doctoral students who is a professor and the Associate Director of Ministry at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, served terms as president of the national professional organization for Christian educators, Baptist Association of Christian Educators, BACE, formerly SBREA (Southern Baptist Religious Education Association). Numerous other persons could also be mentioned. However, these stand as some who have contributed to and strengthened the field of Christian education under the leadership and influence of Charles Tidwell.

Below is a list of what Tidwell sees on the horizon for the future of Christian education. These relate to the church's education ministry, and many are already transpiring. Changes, whether positive or negative, will occur. How Christian educators respond to them will determine whether or not success accompanies the changes. Some of the changes Tidwell foresees are as follows:

  • more focus on the learner in the teacher-learner setting
  • less training for learning leaders/teachers in actual teaching skills
  • more support-group types of short-term learning experiences
  • more special events and “happening” scheduling
  • more undated curriculum materials
  • more flexible and temporary organizations for education
  • more difficulties for continuing, cyclical curriculum
  • more focus on ministries, less on “programs”
  • more problems maintaining continuing organizations
  • more worker enlistment for short terms
  • less per capita financial support for ministries as a percentage of total buying power of income
  • less knowledge of basic Christian doctrines
  • more confrontational, mutually excluding behaviors
  • more efforts to lead by leadership teams
  • more new leadership terms and organizational names (Tidwell, 1996, p. ?)

Charles A. Tidwell has impacted the field of Christian education through teaching, writing, and church leadership. He has sought to further God's kingdom by helping the church be its best and most effective through administrative channels. In the last paragraph of the Preface to The Educational Ministry of a Church (1996), Tidwell puts into perspective the underlying motive church leaders must have for anything they might administer:

Finally, I feel compelled to say … that whatever help might be found within these pages, plus whatever supplementary knowledge and skills one might acquire from other sources and experiences, are but a “sounding brass or tinkling cymbal” without a generous and authentic measure of the 1 Corinthians 13 concept of love. This is “the main thing” without which any and all other “main things” are empty. May all of God's children both experience and transmit this love! (p. xi)

Works cited

The majority of information in this article was obtained through telephone interviews by the author with Dr. Tidwell on January 31, February 2, February 28, and March 14,2002, and personal communication with Gary Waller, 1 April 2002.

  • Hooker, M. ( 1995, Summer). Tidwell retires after 40 years of ministry. Southwestern News, 53, 10.
  • Schaller, L. E., & Tidwell, C. A. (1975). Creative church administration. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
  • Tidwell, C. A. (1996). The educational ministry of a church: A comprehensive model for students and ministers (Rev. ed.). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
  • Tidwell, C.A. (1985). Training potential Sunday school workers (Rev. ed.). Nashville: Convention Press.



  • (1996). The educational ministry of a church: A comprehensive model for students and ministers (Rev. and exp.). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
  • (1985). Church administration: Effective leadership for ministry. Nashville: Broadman Press.
  • (1985). Training potential Sunday school workers (Rev. ed.). Nashville: Convention Press.
  • (1982). The educational ministry of a church. Nashville: Broadman Press.
  • (1976). Training potential Sunday school workers. Nashville: Convention Press. Schaller, L. E., & Tidwell, C. A. (1975). Creative church administration. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
  • (1968). Working together through the church council. Nashville: Convention Press.

Chapters in Books

  • (1990). Resources for Bible teaching. In A.D. Burcham (Auth./Comp.), Teaching people the Bible (pp. 59-75). Nashville: Convention Press.
  • (1981). Administering educational support services . In B. Powers (Ed./Comp.), Christian education handbook: Resources for church leaders (pp. 196-222). Nashville: Broadman Press.
  • (1981). Training teachers and leaders. In B. Powers (Ed./Comp.), Christian education handbook: Resources for church leaders (pp. 242-262). Nashville: Broadman Press.
  • (1976). Sunday school council vital to better teaching. In M. Allen & M. Caldwell (Comps.), Helping teachers teach (pp. 36-52). Nashville: Convention Press.


  • (1995, Spring). Administrative leadership--most excellent way. NACBA Ledger, n.v., 4.
  • (1995, January/February). Administrative leadership--most excellent way. Southwestern News, 53, 12.
  • (1989, July). Ways to discover volunteer leaders. Church Administration, 31, 6-7.
  • (1988). A statement of purpose for a church. Southwestern Journal of Theology, 30, 25-31.
  • (1988, June). Supervising and motivating the church staff. Church Administration, 30, 12-13.
  • (1987). The church staff as a ministering team. Southwestern Journal of Theology, 29, 29-34.
  • (1987, October). Staying ahead of the need for workers. Sunday School Leadership, 8, 9-11.
  • (1987, September). Pursuing staff excellence. Church Administration, 29, 6-8.
  • (1985, December). Keep communication open. Church Administration, 28, 3+.
  • (1981, April). What do you know about the Bible and prayer? Church Training, 11, 44.
  • (1981, February). What do you know about the Bible and baptism? Church Training, 11, 20.
  • (1980, October). How to keep from bogging down. Church Administration, 22, 36.
  • (1978, September). Positive programing for energy economy. Church Administration, 20, 30.
  • (1978, February). What are SBC seminaries doing about stewardship education? Baptist Program, n.v., 16.
  • (1978, January). Keep communications open. Church Administration, 20, 8.
  • (1977, April). Try training potential Sunday school workers. Church Training, 7, 34.
  • (1973, February). How a secretary can gain time. Church Administration, 15, 34.
  • (1973). Who are the volunteers? Search, 3, 6.
  • (1971, November). Let's take another look at church loans. Church Administration, 14, 10.
  • (1971, March). How to keep from bogging down … when the going gets rough. Church Administration, 13, 8.
  • (1969, November). Minister of education as administrator. Church Administration, 11, 10.
  • (1968, January). Follow through on Bible study. Sunday School Builder, 49, 16.
  • (1967, September). Use curriculum to support church goals. Church Administration, 9, 22.
  • (1967, May). How goals affect Sunday school members. Sunday School Builder, 48, 11.
  • (1965, October). Mr. church council chairman, do you communicate? Church Administration, 7, 24.
  • (1965, July). Church council job description. Church Administration, 7, 31.
  • (1965, June) Want a church council? Here's how. Church Administration, 7, 11.
  • (1965, May). Tool for church planning. Baptist Program, n.v., 23.
  • (1965, April). How does a nominating committee work? Church Administration, 7, 5.
  • (1965, February). Here's help to get where you're going. Church Administration, 7, 12.
  • (1965, February). New look at today's volunteer worker. Church Administration, 7, 28.


  • (1977). Church constitution and bylaws committee [Pamphlet]. In Church committee series. Nashville: Baptist Sunday School Board.
  • (1962). What is a Baptist church? [Tract]. Nashville: Baptist Sunday School Board.

Denominational Curriculum Study Pieces

  • (1988). Southern Baptist polity. Nashville: Seminary Extension Department of the Seminary External Education Division, SBC.
  • (1983). Church administration. Nashville: Seminary Extension Department of the Seminary External Education Division, SBC.
  • (1983). Church administration: Study guide. Nashville: Seminary Extension Department of the Seminary External Education Division, SBC.
  • (1969, July-September). The meaning of discipleship. Adult Bible teaching guide. Nashville: Baptist Sunday School Board.
  • (1969, July-September). The meaning of discipleship. Bible study for young adults. Nashville: Baptist Sunday School Board.
  • (1968, July-September). Principles of church polity. Baptist adults. Nashville: Baptist Sunday School Board.


  • (1983). Church administration [Video series]. Fort Worth: Radio and Television Commission, SBC.

Doctoral Dissertation

  • (1964). A work analysis of the minister of education in selected churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas.

Reviews of Tidwell's Books

  • Dyer, D. (1997, Spring). [Review of the book The educational ministry of a church, rev. ed.]. Southwestern News 55, 10.
  • Lawson, J. G. (1996). [Review of the book The educational ministry of a church, rev. ed.]. Faith and Mission, 13, 117.
  • Heuser, R. (1986). [Review of the book Church administration: Effective leadership for ministry]. Christian Education Journal, 1, 91-92.
  • Wilkinson, D. (1986). [Review of the book Church administration: Effective leadership for ministry]. Leadership, 7, 90-91.
  • Fillinger, R. E. (1984). [Review of the book Educational ministry of a church]. Religious Education, 79, 636-638.
  • Heacock, J. D. (1970). [Review of the book Creative church administration]. Southwestern Journal of Theology, 18, 101-102.
  • Preston, R. (1976). [Review of the book Creative church administration]. Review of Books and Religion, 5, 1+.
  • Harley, P.A. (1976). [Review of the book Creative church administration]. Explor 2, 1, 66-67.

Other Materials Written About Tidwell

  • Hooker, M. (1995, Summer). Tidwell retires after 40 years of ministry. Southwestern News, 53, 10.
  • (1990, May/June). Religious education celebration sparkles. Southwestern News, 48, 6.
  • (1984, February). Scholarship. Southwestern News, 42, 8.
  • (1983, October). God calls to life standard. Southwestern News, 42, 3.
  • (1982, December). Communications innovators. Southwestern News, 41, 3.
  • (1982, December). Tape expands class time. Southwestern News, 41, 3.
  • (1978, September). Eight faculty members granted sabbaticals. Southwestern News, 37, 1.
  • (1977, December). Trustees increase fees, approve professorship. Southwestern News, 36, 1.
  • (1977, October). Two-day meet set on church architecture. Southwestern News, 36, 5.
  • (1977, June). Ways churches conserve energy studied by two. Southwestern News, 35, 1.
  • (1976, November). Five write books. Southwestern News, 35, 4.
  • (1975, December). Bookshelf contributions. Southwestern News, 34, 7.

Excerpts from Publications

(1996). The educational ministry of a church: A comprehensive model for students and ministers (Rev. and exp.). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

The Bible is the basic book for the educational ministry of a church. Biblical truth in all its rightful expressions in text and in life has been the content of religious education from the earliest days of the faith… Church leaders in education of any time must know something of the powerful precedent the Bible reveals regarding the necessity of teaching and learning. Those who accept the authority of the Bible as the guide for faith and practice cannot justify ambiguity; education is a primary function of a church… Christian educators must know good methodology and good biblical theology and find ways to bring these together effectively in the lives of learners. (page 5) The church depends on volunteers… Many think the survival of effective ministries in a church properly depends on volunteers. One of the best reasons for engaging large numbers of church members in leadership roles is that those who lead have opportunities and experiences that enable them to grow far more in the faith than they would if they were not in leadership roles. Who learns more: the teacher or the members of a Bible class [for example]? (page 159)

(1985). Church administration: Effective leadership for ministry. Nashville: Broadman Press.

A church is an organism. An organism is a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole. (page 12) Church leaders need to discover, accept, and develop an administrative style of leadership. The need is not a new one. Neither is the approach to the remedy. Both are apparent in history at least as far back as the Exodus. [Note Ex. 18:17-18.] … The illustration from Exodus does not imply that a Mosaic structure suits all needs for all times. But the lessons should be clear that for leaders to endure and to get the work done, they must lead others to bear the burden too. This is the meaning of an administrative style of leadership. (page 17) Church leaders, of all people, should recognize the specialness of people and relate to them accordingly. This insight is probably more important than any amount of knowledge, skill, or technique of administration. (page 137)

(1985). Training potential Sunday school workers (Rev. ed.). Nashville: Convention Press.

Few needs are as critical in churches today as the need for prepared workers, particularly in the Bible teaching program… those who serve without adequate training tend to miss many of the joys of service. But this [lack of adequate training] does not have to be the case. (page 3)


(1996). The educational ministry of a church: A comprehensive model for students and ministers (Rev. and exp.). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

This book examines the essential components for a church's education ministry from a fourfold perspective: (1) “Necessity”--which lays the foundation for educational ministry; (2) “Basic Components”--which details the church's educational programming and ministries; (3) “Leadership Personnel”--which focuses upon the church's leadership team; and (4) “How Leaders Lead”--which emphasizes the value of recruiting, organizing, and training.

(1985). Church administration: Effective leadership for ministry. Nashville: Broadman Press.

This book is intended for church leaders and addresses the tasks of church administration as accomplished through various ministry functions. General principles are set forth in relationship to functional areas and basic skills. Emphasis is given to such matters as the church’s purpose, administering resources, and issues of organization.

(1985). Training potential Sunday school workers (Rev. ed.). Nashville: Convention Press.

This book lays out in a practical fashion sessions for training Sunday school teachers. The sessions are based upon Tidwell's experience in the local church setting. Sessions deal with such topics as the teaching/learning process, basic Bible knowledge, and relevance across the age span.


(1987). The church staff as a ministering team. Southwestern Journal of Theology, 29, 29-34.

This article explores the role of the church's pastor in relation to staff ministers. Suggestions are included for the purpose of understanding one's leadership role in fulfilling the church's mission, as well as promoting harmonious, smooth relationships. Each role is seen as a vital part of the “team” which works in the best interest of the church.

Author Information

Martha S. Bergen

Martha S. Bergen received her Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves as Associate Professor of Christian Education at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, MO.