African Americans--Religion

Keep it real : starting a Christian hip-hop service in a Reformed context

Author
Reginald Smith
Abstract
This project was designed to provide a working model of bridging the African American community and the Reformed faith. The gap between the community and church has grown wider because churches are using models of worship that are outdated and paternalistic for the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 1 will provide a biblical and theological basis of "witness"as the prevailing symbol of being the people of God, who were saved to be a light to the nations.

Chapter 2 reports the history of Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church. I will give attention from the great beginnings of two churches to their eventual deaths, and their resurrection into Roosevelt Park Community CRC.

Chapter 3 records my own spiritual journey. My story will provide spiritual markers that has lead me from the Black Baptist church into becoming a minister in the Christian Reformed church.

Chapter 4 provides an analysis of the Hip Hop culture and its hold on the young urban generation today. What are the held values of Hip Hop culture? Can the Reformed faith provide answers to their questions about life, God and spirituality? The Reformed faith can speak to the heart, soul, and spirit of the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 5 presents a preaching model that can reach the Hip Hop generation. Preaching is more than a single event, but part of the larger context of worship which seeks a multi-dimensional approach to preaching to the young people of the Hip Hop culture.

Chapter 6 sketches the "Keep It Real" service from an idea to the first worship service.

Chapter 7 reflects on what I learned in starting this service, with its mistakes and triumphs and what can others learn from this project for other urban Reformed churches.

An inward-outward witness : suffering’s role in forming faithful preachers

Author
James Ellis
Abstract
Employing an autoethnographic research methodology, this thesis will connect the relationship suffering has with the Christian life, and therefore unearth why a preacher’s ability to harness suffering well, personally and professionally, contributes to their aptitude to preach in ways that richly prepare the people of God for lives of service. Preachers who have endured life’s deeper dramas and dark nights of the soul are potentially able to better identify with the biblical narrative and then relate that narrative to communities of hurting people, especially in an epoch when escapism and denial toward hardship are becoming increasingly normative. This is not to suggest that while walking the pathway of faithfulness, the devout preacher must embark upon a reconnaissance mission to locate suffering. Rather, since suffering is both universal and specific to the Christian life, those shepherding God’s people must adequately embrace and harness suffering to present hearers with the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Decolonizing our bodies, minds and spirits : resiliency and spiritual practices among Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color

Author
Rebekah Ann Savage
Abstract
"[In this project paper, the author examines and reflects upon] . . . the resilience of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color and indigenous people through spiritual practices as a way towards liberation and intersectional justice. The author recruited thirty-six [Unitarian Universalist] religious professionals [to participate in] a [six-week] structured program of learning and reflection . . . . [The program was designed to help participants] identify spiritual disconnects between religious and spiritual beliefs and everyday lived experience. As evidenced by beginning and post-project surveys and periodic narrative prompts, the participants affirmed the positive results of the program which led to a deeper spiritual integration and wholeness." -- Leaf [2].

Reframing our narratives : using the "Curse of Ham" and the arts to reframe the narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans

Author
Freda L. Briggman
Abstract
"The misinterpretation of what became known as the "Curse of Ham" played a formidable role in creating a narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans. For centuries, African Americans have been reframing that narrative. This project assists those reframing efforts in demonstrating how the arts can expose the racist usage of the "Curse of Ham." The researcher performs a theological and historical review of the "Curse of Ham" and then uses the data to create and implement a live theater performance. The results suggest that the performance provides a perspective not otherwise known and empowers the community to reframe the narrative." -- Leaf [2].

The Impact of Preaching on Church Growth: Black Churches in The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church

Author
Yvette Denise Massey D.Min.
Abstract
This project addresses the question of whether good preaching can cause congregational growth. The location of the work was two Black churches in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church and included preaching a variety of sermons, followed by congregational research on the influence of the sermons on church growth. Through this project, the thesis on which this work was based, that church growth was a direct result of good preaching, changed to recognize that while preaching alone does not cause church growth, it is one of many significant factors in the decision to join a church. The project reveals that a comprehensive church system that includes elements such as preaching, outreach, nurture, Christian education, evangelism, and worship, is necessary to impact congregational growth.

CHRISTIAN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN IDENTIFYING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION AS A UNIQUE RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF CHRIST

Author
Bryan Hodges D.Min.
Abstract
CHRISTIAN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN IDENTIFYING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION AS A UNIQUE RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF CHRIST

Christian spiritual formation responds to the call of Christ. This project makes its contribution to Christian spiritual formation as it relates to Christian African American men.

This project initiates: (1) biblical and theological reflection regarding Christian spiritual formation; (2) To think critically through societal, cultural and familial influences in relation to their spiritual formation; (3) To implement a biblical and theological vision for Christian spiritual formation; and (4) To create a personal Christian spiritual formation program.

This project consisted of surveys and interviews to measure Christian spiritual formation influence. After three months of follow up a summation is specified.

A Christian Exploration of African American Masculinity

Author
Clarence Lanely
Abstract
A Christian Exploration of African American Masculinity examines the cultural complexities of masculinity by investigating manhood acts and how they are enacted by African American men in their quest to obtain masculine (patriarchal) power. Those with cultural power, mostly white men, deny power to white women, men and women of color. In this project, biblical, cultural and theological insights are explored that offer African American men a life giving and progressive masculinity. The incarnation of Christ offers an image of masculinity that frees men to follow Him, allowing men to be in relationships with others in intimate and meaningful ways.

iHomiletic: Preaching that Clicks

Author
Dominique A Robinson
Abstract
Like many other churches the absence of youth and young adults is painstakingly obvious in the Black Church, and I contend that a unique homiletical approach that incorporates preaching and social media and offers hope can re-engage Black Millennials to the Gospel and the Black Church in creative and compelling ways. This unique and new approach is iHomiletic.

AN EXPLORATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A MEN'S TEACHING MINISTRY WITHIN BLACK EVANGELICAL CHURCHES

Author
Gregory A Carthan
Abstract
This project explored a teaching ministry within black Evangelical churches to equip men for their roles as husbands, fathers and leaders.National surveys indicate a drop in the number of intact black households to 34%. Absent fathers have had a destructive effect on the home and community. It's important that African-American men understand and assume their roles as leaders in the home. Governmental programs to stem this destruction have failed to address the root issue. The clear declaration of the gospel changes people's hearts (1 Cor 1:21). This project explores turning the hearts of fathers to their children (Mal 4:6).

Christian identity influences at the workplace discovering behaviors of African American women

Author
Marlene Vernicia Fuller
Abstract
The project discovered the extent to which Christian identity influences the workplace behaviors of a group of African American women. The online questionnaire invited Christian African American women to respond to questions about themselves, internal and external to the workplace, and their challenges. The results discovered that the challenges faced are not unique to Christian African American women, but are relevant to all African American women. However, responses indicate that the resolution for addressing these challenges should be shaped by Christian values and ethics as defined by her Christ-identity.
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