Church work

Preaching to Develop the Spirit of Generosity: A Serendipitous Journey of Faith

Author
Kay F. Albury D.Min.
Abstract
This project will focus on how preaching can develop a spirit of generosity in the life of the church. The purpose of this project is two-fold: First, the intent is to help a congregation re-examine the challenges that interfere with trusting God’s generous abundance of resources that are available each day. Second, this project will help the congregation discover and then utilize the resources that God provides each day. These resources reflect God’s justice and love. In order to accomplish these two tasks, the project will draw from the richness of biblical scripture, as well as prominent theologians and scholars, to show that preaching is a useful tool that can improve the level of generosity in the church and empower its members to fully live out their mission to extend God’s love and justice to the world.

ArtReach : a creative spiritual exploration for queer Christians

Author
Mark E. Parsons II
Abstract
"For decades, the church has debated the issue of homosexuality. While the "who's in and who's out" battles continue, queer Christians find themselves with few resources that address their unique spiritual experiences. The author argues that through creativity, queer Christians can know and experience God and self more profoundly. After exploring the spiritual abuse of queer Christians, the significance of coming out, and the need for a queer Christian spirituality, the paper discusses the development, implementation, and evaluation of ArtReach, a four-week creative spiritual exploration for queer Christians that moves the conversation from apologetics to celebrating spirituality and sexuality." -- Leaf [2].

A practical theology for fundraising : practicing abundant life in community

Author
Laura M. Norvell
Abstract
"With mainline religious organizations in decline, many church leaders experience a similar decline in support for mission work. This paper asserts that the church can find new donors for their charitable mission work by looking beyond church membership, and in this way can expand its vision for what the kingdom of God can look like in its community. The author interviewed generous people unaffiliated with Christian congregations and shared the insights from these interviews with local church leaders, who then imagined how to connect new people to mission work. As a result of the shared insight, church leaders expressed an expanded vision of whom they could involve in mission projects. In the process, they also expanded their own understanding of and commitment to generosity." -- Leaf [2].

CREATING A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TO ALIGN AND EQUIP LEADERS AT GRACE LUTHERAN MINISTRIES

Author
Joel Howard D.Min.
Abstract
Grace Lutheran Ministries in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, strives to affect both its congregation and community through ministry. As ministry grows, it is essential for Grace to implement a strategy for developing leaders and deploying them into ministry. This major project focused on the essential nature, culture, and strategies for empowering leaders from not just the paid staff but from among all of God’s people and then developing them in areas of character and competency. The project also focused on the importance of alignment in the leadership development process.

The project utilized three research methods. First, a Biblical, theological, and literary study of leadership development was done in the areas of character, competency, and alignment. Second, questionnaires and a focus group were used to understand the current view of leadership development and alignment among Grace’s leaders. Third, the nominal group technique was utilized to brainstorm key ideas and strategies for the leadership development strategy.

A strategic plan was developed that began with creating a leadership culture around the unified use of language through leadership principles. Then, four strategic goals were created to develop, deploy, and debrief leaders at Grace through the use of small groups, coaching, and large group settings. Finally, the effectiveness of the leadership principles and strategic goals were evaluated by Grace’s senior staff through a SWOT analysis.

Everyone Eats: Preaching to Inspire Multigenerational Engagement in Worship Beyond Virtual and Traditional Contexts

Author
Curis Tyriece Bryant D.Min.
Abstract
The traditional black church has suffered in recent years from declining attendance. The biggest cause for the decline is linked to the massive exodus of younger generations from the traditional context. This phenomenon has inspired pastors, preachers, and thought leaders to engage in conversation of how to address the issue. That conversation has revealed generational engagement in preaching as one solution to stimulating congregational life within a traditional worship context. This thesis explores the use of a multigenerational preaching approach to inspire congregational engagement. This thesis will posit that preaching where sermons intentionally reach different generations in a similar context, will result in engagement for both older and younger generations. The principles of this strategy will also prove useful beyond the current virtual settings imposed by the Coronavirus.

Prophetic Preaching to Inspire Embodied Discipleship Beyond the Walls of the Building

Author
Jon Robinson D.Min.
Abstract
Over the past few decades, the focus of the black church in America has shifted from a communal pursuit of justice and liberation for marginalized people, toward a personal pursuit of piety and prosperity. This project, Prophetic Preaching to Inspire Embodied Discipleship Beyond the Walls of the Building, offers a theo-political discipleship model that seeks to reclaim and reimagine Jesus’ first century call to discipleship. Through prophetic preaching and a practical application of womanist ethics of personal and communal thriving, pastors and parishioners can embody a liberative, justice-oriented discipleship praxis that advances human flourishing beyond the walls of our buildings.

The Impact of Presence and Touch on Church Growth

Author
William Charles Berg D.Min.
Abstract
This project addresses the problem of discovering whether, when churches move to be physically present in their communities and engage in appropriate touch through serving, there is a corresponding impact in confession of faith and church growth. To answer this problem, the researcher began with the incarnation and trinity as a model of presence and touch. The researcher reviewed the Gospels to identify Jesus’ use of physical presence and touch in His ministry. The researcher also looked at the impact of presence and touch on the early church in the Book of Acts. He reviewed literature that focused on the importance of presence and touch and its influence on conversions and church growth. The researcher then interviewed senior and associate pastors of seven growing churches. Next, the researcher surveyed congregants from these seven churches. Both the interviews and the survey focused on how serving in the community through presence and touch impacts conversions and church growth. This study revealed that within the seven churches involved in this research there is, indeed, a direct connection between presence and touch and a growth in professions of faith and church attendance. Through his examinations, the researcher identified seven principles of how serving through presence and touch affects churches. As part of their missions, the majority of churches today serve their community in some capacity. Like any organization, the church is limited in time, gifting, and finances. Thus, knowing the effect of a ministry helps the church wisely allocate resources. This project sought to provide the church insight on how its use of presence and touch when serving the community results in conversions and church growth.

Work theology : how church can assist veterans transition towards civilian employment

Author
Gladys Runetta Robinson Lanier
Abstract
According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), a leading international journal devoted to research and reviews: Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are facing physical and mental health problems with even greater difficulty as well as uncertain futures with new disabilities while transitioning to civilian lifestyle. The veteran's physical and mental health problems often lead to debilitating depression is being linked to suicide with unemployment as the precursor. The researcher will reveal how the church can support the veteran spiritually during their transition into civilian employment that will strengthen the veteran's resilience towards a stable vocation.

[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.]

Developing a theological vision : reclaiming the role of the local church

Author
Richard A. Hoffman
Abstract
The basis for the project is a commitment to the transformational aspect of the gospel of grace. It provides tools that will train, equip, and empower people in the local church to meet the diverse, complex and ever-present needs of their community. The author created and taught an eighteen week course where the students began by focusing on the foundational aspects of the gospel, then on to Theological Vision which acts as a bridge between belief and ministry expression. The course concluded by exploring the practical steps required to launch into a community based project of their own. The result of the inaugural course was several students taking the necessary steps to launch a ministry expression focused on a particular need within their community.

[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.]

DISCIPLESHIP OF MUSLIM BACKGROUND BELIEVERS IN THE CONTEXT OF PERSECUTION: A STUDY IN NORTH AFRICA

Author
Phillip Smith D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project was designed to explore the practical implications that can help disciplers of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in their mission to care for and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, develop the life and conduct of the new disciples from that background. It begins with the theological foundation of discipleship within the context of persecution and moves on to an examination of the existing literature on the topic.

This researcher conducted qualitative interviews with eighteen MBBs in a city in North Africa and another twelve experienced disciplers who worked in that field. The purpose of this project is to investigate the themes found in the journeys of discipleship and to discover the specific factors that influence MBB disciples to mature in Christ.

Based on a robust understanding and the findings of this research, a proposal for "Adaptive Discipleship Principles in the Context of Persecution" is put forth for workers to enhance the process of training and discipling MBBs, who might suffer for their faith, to know Him and to make Him known.

The research concludes that fear is a key challenging barrier. Those who crossed that barrier have identified themselves with the early church disciples (Acts 4:31). Another important factor that needs the attention of the disciplers is that this kind of work will take patience, perseverance, and much time. This work will be done on a low profile and it will continue to be unnoticeable.
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