Church renewal

Wellsprings in the wilderness : forming shared ministries as a United Methodist renewal strategy

Author
Kevin R. Conrad
Abstract
In our current situation, named an ecclesial and cultural wilderness, a return to the wellsprings of theology as a source of ecclesial renewal is essential. In the tradition of Wesleyan practical divinity, the project focuses on formation of cooperative parishes as a theologically sound means of reordering the life of the church with the hope of missional renewal. The outcome of the project demonstrates how ecclesial and theological renewal complement each other. The author researched how formation of intentional Christian community can unleash new missional connection and capacity in a rural setting.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Cultivating God's farm : using agricultural and biblical stories and seasons to re-seed hope in small rural churches

Author
Rebecca Leigh Collison
Abstract
Through linking agrarian, biblical, and small rural church stories from the lens of farming the land, spiritual growth can be initiated and hope restored to the struggling small rural church. This project was conducted through small group study and discussion in small rural churches in a district of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church. Specific attention was given to one small church over a two-year period where qualitative and quantitative growth was realized as the individuals reclaimed their roots in God’s story and planted seeds of hope through rich layers of shared faith and stories.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Focusing the local congregation on missional discipleship as a means of congregational renewal

Author
Joseph Jathaniel Cavitt
Abstract
How can the vitality of Colonial Park United Methodist Church be impacted by a central focus on a practical theology of missional discipleship as it is implemented in the life of the church? The author’s project focused on a practical theology of missional discipleship during the first eighteen months of his pastoral appointment working to develop spiritual leadership and missionally reorienting this congregation. Through listening sessions, classes, training, and organizational restructuring processes, the congregation has grown in mission and has shown statistical growth indicating a beginning of a turnaround.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Creating a missional church in Nepal through the lay leader (Aguwa) training program : focusing on Aguwas in the Ramechap area

Author
Sung Hoon Bea
Abstract
In the dissertation, I propose what to do for the renewal of the Nepalese Church in the Ramechap area in Nepal. In emphasizing that the Nepalese Church should be a missional church modeled on the mission of God (Missio Dei) in order to be a healthy church, I suggest . . . a specialized training program for Aguwas, who are lay leaders in the Nepalese Church. Through the Bible-based education program, Aguwas will be leading figures that can lead the Nepalese Church to transform, and by their leadership the Nepalese Church will be a missional church that is self-reliant, self-sufficient, and autonomous.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Space for grace : creative ministry in physical and online spaces

Author
Lisa Arledge
Abstract
Oasis, an urban mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, encourages millennials and people who do not normally attend church to experience God. Based on a theology of space within the Trinity, the researcher modified Oasis’s previous ministries to include small group interventions and original art and videos shared on an online blog. An online survey affirmed the values of creativity and shared experiences. The paper concludes with recommendations for Church renewal based on the intervention. Shared leadership, creativity, and flexibility will help young adults connect with God and each other and make the Church more accessible to all.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Exploring the DNA of Oxon Hill United Methodist Church : and its impact on the church's ability to live a missional existence

Author
Patricia Allen
Abstract
The author explored the relational impact of local community and church history on the congregation, the decision making processes of the church, and the possibility of reimagining and repurposing these influences for the manifestation of biblical community. The author conducted a book review, facilitated a spiritual gifts inventory, led a bible study, and engaged a pastoral leadership assessment tool to assess the ability of the church to identify historical influences and potential opportunities for new understanding. The analysis of the responses gleaned from these experiences is the church's deeply entrenched understanding of community cannot easily be reimagined for different results.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Building a Discipleship Culture for the Re-Missioning of Millersville Brethren in Christ Church

Author
Christopher John Freet
Abstract
Reports of disciple-making movements and church-planting movements continue to grow and gain steam around the globe. Interestingly, very few movements have been recorded in the Western Church setting. An aspect of global church movements entails the utilization of easily reproducible systems and structures while equipping new disciples to carryout Jesus’ disciple-making call in the world. One tool that is used in these movements is the Discovery Bible Study method. Relying on this tool and implementing it within the discipleship process of Millersville Brethren in Christ Church in an attempt to build a culture of disciple-making discipleship has proved to have the opposite effect in the life of the church. Disciple-making in the Western Church context needs to be contextualized to its local context, patient in its approach, with an understanding that discipleship can and must take place in and through various modes and methods. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the discipleship process.

Developing a revitalization strategy for the First Baptist Church, Amite, Louisiana

Author
Doyle k Waldrop III D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a revitalization strategy for the First Baptist Church, Amite, Louisiana (FBCA). The first step was an internal analysis of the congregation of FBCA. Statistical information was gathered from the Annual Church Profile reports and insights gained from the project director's tenure as pastor. The analysis also included an assessment of the congregation of FBCA. The insight and assessment results were shared with the Vision Committee of FBCA, which served the project as strategy-planning team. The team assisted the project director in identifying the critical areas of need in the life of FBCA, giving insights and direction for strategy components, and aided the project director in setting goals and action steps for the strategy itself. The project director met with the team in four sessions to accomplish the aforementioned purpose. The revitalization strategy for FBCA was presented to the deacons of FBCA for approval.

Building Community for the Renewal of Mission in Chicago's Catholic Parishes: The Wisdom of the Black Catholic Experience for Renew My Church

Author
Matthew Sean O'Donnell D.Min.
Abstract
Renew My Church is described as an innovative pastoral initiative in the Archdiocese of Chicago that identifies the three guiding imperatives of making disciples, building communities, and inspiring witness as essential to the renewal of pastoral life and ministry in the Archdiocese. Every parish in the Archdiocese will participate in this initiative. This thesis-project will critically engage the imperative to build community by looking at St. Katharine Drexel parish in Chicago, Illinois. This thesis-project will demonstrate how learning from the Black Catholic experience of building, strengthening, and sustaining community can contribute a spirituality and theological foundation for Renew My Church that is rooted in a communal worldview.

A qualitative study exploring how senior pastors can deliberately move the congregation toward systemic gospel health

Author
Edward W Dunnington
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how senior pastors can lead congregations toward systemic gospel health. The research focused on how pastors describe systemic health, what pastors believe to be hindrances to systemic health, and how pastors cultivate systemic health within their congregations. The literature reviewed included biblical and theological material relating to a congregation's systemic nature and the definition of congregational gospel health; change theory; systems theory; and the leader's role. The researcher interviewed two senior pastors of two different churches, their spouses, staff, and lay leaders. Both senior leaders articulated four factors that the literature supported: personal and marital growth; thinking systemically about the congregation; a working knowledge of change theory; and having at least one co-laborer in the work of change. This kind of systemic change is not simply technical in nature, but adaptive and cannot be done alone.
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