Church renewal

Racism and revival

Jeffrey Charles Porte
In this project I intend to lead the reader into considering the link between racism and revival. If seeking revival for our communities is our highest aim, then fostering racism is one of Satan's main strategies to frustrate our desires and efforts.

I begin this work with an autobiographical first chapter. My guess is that most readers have their own story of racial prejudices in their childhood. How God transformed and redeemed these prejudices is the heart of this chapter.

In chapter two I attempt to outline the biblical conviction that the universe is the playing field of the "powers" both good and evil. I encourage the reader to take very seriously these unseen forces which influence people and institutions.

Chapter three is a historical analysis of the Fulton Street Revival of 1857. I chose to write on this revival because it began in a Reformed Church in New York City.

The fourth chapter is an overview of the historical roots of racism, and my effort to identify racism as a significant spiritual stronghold. In chapter five I invite the reader to consider the history of Kalamazoo from a spiritual power perspective.

The last chapter is where I apply the learnings of the previous chapters to my interest in Kalamazoo. My earnest prayer is that if any of the ideas presented in this closing chapter are of God, that the Kalamazoo City pastors and intercessors would put these initiatives into practice.

A Wesleyan symphony of discipleship : the development of an academy of lay ministry

Robert L Hundley
In his book, Robert Pazmino admits to coining the word lude, but claims that the word is derived from the Latin word ludere, which means "to play." In familiar musical terminology, the 'Pre-lude' establishes an introductory context. A 'Post-lude ' is a musical term that describes a concluding statement that often summarizes the motifs that have been introduced since the Prelude. Pazmino creatively suggests that the lude is the subject between Prelude and Postlude. It is the primary motif or theme. The 'Lude' may function as the playful way that a subject is developed and communicated.
The author identified and developed a musical analogy and applied it to the Christian Education experience. Teaching, (according to Pazmino), is like a performance where the teacher functions as a conductor who orchestrates his or her classroom, not in an entertaining way, but rather in creating a teaching/learning environment with and for the student. lt is an appropriate analogy. As a conductor, every rehearsal is like a laboratory classroom. The conductor teaches, gives opportunity for creativity, motivates the performer, and corrects mistakes so that the ensemble and conductor are participating
in a learning process on the way toward performance.

Re-imagining the Church through a missional life

Mark E Mast
For years I watched the missional movement unfold. From theological conversation to a spattering of writers around the world beginning to explore what the missional church might look like in the local church, I found few tools for the leaders of the local Christian communities to help people j oin this movement in practical ways. As I began to work in my own congregation trying to help the church move outward into the neighborhood, I realized the need to provide a resource to not change a church, but help followers of Jesus Christ begin exploring a missional life. Through the process of community storytelling, the foll owing project provides a path, through a Bible study format, for an individual and the Christian community to discover their personal God story, God's story, and the story of their neighborhoods. Where these stories overlap becomes a place for both the individual and their Christian community to start moving from "doing" the work of a missional church to living a missional life with Jesus Christ.

Being led by the Holy Spirit, the journey begins in the waters of Ezekiel 47:1-12 as individuals and communities discovers the different depths of their God story. They then travel into their neighborhood through Matthew 5:3-12 discovering where Jesus Christ is already at work in the emerging reign of God. Finally, through the exploration of 2 Corinthians 4, both the individual and community discover the life they are called to live as missionaries in their own land. I have spent the past years walking through this process in the lives of both individuals and communities to discover a practical means to move people out of the pews of their church into a life of joining Jesus Christ in the emerging reign of God.

The missional heritage of the people called Methodist : the story of five Iowa United Methodist congregations on a reclamation journey

Jill Sanders
According to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, we face an unprecedented moment in our history. In the United States, church membership, worship attendance and the number of baptisms continue to decline, funding for connectional ministries continues to decline and grows weaker in the current economic crisis; and the "warm heart" of John Wesley's movement has become a "contented heart" of institutional inertia; and the 1970's organization and structure we live with is not sufficient, nimble or responsive to the fast changing 21st Century world we inhabit.

The missional heritage of the people called Methodist offers clues to a way forward for United Methodists who long to be part of a missional movement once again. Although John Wesley would not have recognized the term "missional" in the way it is understood today, he instinctively shaped his movement around the development of missional identity (accountable discipleship in community) and missional engagement with those on the periphery of society (submitting to become more vile). Perhaps by reclaiming those early impulses and shaping them for relevance in the 21st century, United Methodist congregations can reclaim their missional heritage and break the institutional inertia that keeps them operating under the assumptions of Christendom.

The first step of the transformation journey : an in depth look at the role of the pastor as he leads an African-American congregation through change

Howard C Earle
The African-American church has been one of the many storied institutions that has played significant a role in shaping American culture. However, the African-American church and American culture exist in a reciprocal relationship; changes in American culture have impacted the African-American church in numerous ways. In order to maintain its relevance, the African-American church must undergo transformation. Working from the hypothesis, "The pastor as theologian can lead an historic, urban congregation through a journey of transformation from being a congregation of commuters lacking significant presence in its surrounding community to one that is more responsive to the needs of the community and maintains a felt, empowering presence," l initiated a five-step discovery process. This process becomes the first step in the transformation journey. The process consists of: a series of sermons, ethnographic interviews with a sample of the congregation, a tour of the surrounding community, a panel discussion with community leaders, and a network mapping exercise.

Abide in me : a proposal for covenant-renewal in Mennonite Church Manitoba

Henry Kliewer

Having walked with the Mennonite Church in a pastoral capacity for over 40 years, the last six as conference pastor of Mennonite Church Manitoba (MCM), I sensed a growing need among its member congregations for renewal of relationship with God and with each other. The concept of " covenant" became a vehicle for testing the potential for meeting such a need. Research in various disciplines — biblical, historical and sociological — broadened the understanding of the term and provided the basis for the doctor in ministry project.

Using the research and participatory methodologies in the project, I took a sample group through a real life experiment with covenant-renewing. The responses of the participants and my analysis sought to answer the hypothesis that a renewed covenant with God is foundational to other relationships in Christian community; it enables the MCM community to grow in faithfulness to God and each other amidst the issues of faith and life, and to discern together through the Holy Spirit the Way of Jesus.

Revival without revolution : the story of how a white, agricultural church became a multi-racial, multi-generational body of Christ

Matt Waterstone

Nestled along the Little Calumet River, 20 miles south of the city of Chicago, lies the 165 year old First Reformed Church in the historically Dutch village of South Holland, IL. With a rich and proud history as a flagship congregation in the Reformed Church in America, “First Church” has experienced a quarter of a century decline in membership, an exodus of younger families to more affluent areas in the Southwestern Suburbs of Illinois and into Northwest Indiana, and a lull in congregational morale amidst a rapidly diverse community that now is nearly 70% African American. Dynamics of sharp change experienced in racial migration resulting in a changing community, the legacy of past, consistorial leadership and in corporate worship haven given voice to charter a course for a future season of ministry.

As a result of racial migration, conflict in worship and a growing sense of congregational despair, First Church was forced to confront their ecclesial mortality in their given context for ministry. Together, they entered into a corporate journey of transformation that changed their congregational composition and renewed their congregational structures and practices which have led to a more robust sense of their identity as God’s diverse people and their purpose in God’s kingdom. This is a story of revival without revolution and a story of how a white, agricultural congregation became a multi-racial, multi-generational body of Christ.

Beyond trying harder and before giving up : the story of a missional church in Canada

Carson W. Culp
Somewhere beyond trying harder, and just before giving up, there is a sacred place of grace to be discovered, personally and corporately. God called me homeward, near to the place of my birth and upbringing, to find it. Located among the marginalized of society on the southeast side of the city of Welland, Ontario, Canada, is 36-year-old Christ Community Church. In the aftermath of successive short-term pastorates which ended badly and included an exodus of members in 2005, amid the further economic decline of a once prosperous manufacturing city of 50,000 people, the ministry then 26-years-old was in crisis. With the support of Classis Ontario a specialized Interim Minister was hired for the purpose of discerning whether the church could be revitalized. I accepted the “Call” to serve as its Pastor in June of 2006. It was then that a journey of transformation began. This is a story of dependency on the grace of God. The Apostle Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he (the Lord) said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”1 It is a story that affirms and challenges traditional ecclesiology. It affirms the importance of learning from others in our family of churches through documents such as Transformed and Transforming. 2 Yet, this story challenges traditional ecclesiology with regard to the expectation of self-sufficiency and self-sustainability. It is a story of a small Canadian Church in a hurting place that is being transformed by and with the marginalized people in its context, all the while being dependent upon the grace of God and all of the partners God provides for its own existence.

Developing a Revitalization Strategy for Clinton Baptist Association in East Tennessee

Watkins Keith Pierce
The purpose of this project is to develop a revitalization strategy for the Clinton Baptist Association in East Tennessee. The project is derived from the strategic planning model. After conducting sufficient research, the project director will learn best practices in field revitalization. The project director will conduct a demographic study to verify the need of revitalizing the association. An internal demographic study will produce the facts and trends of the churches affiliated with the association. An external demographic study of the cities and communities of Anderson County, Tennessee, will be completed to increase awareness of community and generational needs and desires. The project director will assemble a strategic leadership team from the leaders of the associational churches. When assembled, the team will prepare and adopt a strategic planning process and develop a revitalization strategy. After the strategic planning process is created, the final step of the project will be a presentation of the proposed revitalization strategy to the messengers of the annual meeting, followed by the messengers’ vote on the proposal. The implementation of the revitalization strategy will begin in the project and will be completed after the approval of the project. The strategy implementation is outside the scope of the project.

Selected Case Studies Investigating the Principles of Visionary Leadership of the Senior Pastor in the Revitalization of a Declining Church

Ronnie L. Stanley Jr. D.Min.
As early as the 1980s, church growth specialists began to sound an alarm concerning the death, decline, and revitalization of churches. These specialists identified an association between pastoral leadership style, the presence of a compelling vision that identified how the church should look in the future and key actions that would result in the cessation of the decline and initiation of revitalization.

The readers will discover that there is an association between the visionary leadership of the pastor and the principles used to impact at least eight different spheres of the ministry that have been entrusted to him.

This dissertation defined “visionary leadership” as leadership that inspires people to change because of two things: the Senior Pastor’s model and message. The project will examine the role the of selected senior pastors and the impact of their visionary leadership on the revitalization of a declining church.

The primary means of investigation and research in this project was the use of eight case studies of pastors, which will assess their leadership style and its impact on revitalization. Some of these pastors entered their churches more than twenty years ago, and some began three years ago. In each case, their churches have experienced marked growth after a period of decline.

The literature review provided an informed approach to this project by examining sources that explored vision, vision communication, transformational leadership, outreach, assimilation, and church growth.
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