Discipleship

Developing Mutual Spiritual Intimacy Among the leaders of Walking on the Water Ministries Through the Use of Ruth Haley Barton’s Book Pursuing God’s Will Together

Author
Walter Gregory Joseph D.Min.
Abstract
This research project used Ruth Haley Barton’s book Pursuing God’s Will Together, as a tool to develop mutual spiritual intimacy among the leaders of Walking on the Water Ministries. Sessions were completed with the leadership group over an eight-month period using some of the principles of participatory action research. Research methods included surveys, group sessions, Barton’s Personal Reflection exercises and questions, and my personal observations. The result was a personal growth experience for the leaders, as we journeyed together in developing mutual spiritual intimacy. x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

The Use of Appreciative Inquiry to Help a Congregation Through a Crisis Towards a More Positive Outlook: Reemphasizing Discipleship and Leadership Development

Author
Martin Edward Spoelstra D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

This portfolio was originally intended to research Discovery Church’s
journey to multisite. Over a four-month period just prior to launch of the second
site, the church dealt with a leadership and financial crisis brought on by a drop in
attendance. These changes necessitated putting multisite on hold and refocusing
energies on discipleship and mission.

The original research question proposed the use of an Appreciative Inquiry
model intended to help the congregation deal with the emotional and social shifts
to become one church with two locations. Facing new circumstances, the
Appreciative Inquiry model was modified to help the church deal with the
emotional and social concerns they had around the dramatic change in their
attendance and vision for multisite. This exercise gave an opportunity for the
Church to recall why they started as a church plant, some of the great things that
God had already done, the courage to risk once more, and step into a new future.

Out of the Appreciative Inquiry, Discovery Church embarked on the
rebuilding process that focused on clarifying their existing vision, developing
disciples making disciples, and a missional leadership development process,
eventually leading them back to the potential for multiplication.

The Growth of Faith Lutheran Church of Castle Rock through Intentional Evangelistic Efforts

Author
Ebassa Berhanu D.Min.
Abstract
The author research what difference if any, a six-week teaching on the Great Commission and an instructional program on discipleship making, will have on the thinking and behavior of the people of Faith Lutheran Church on the importance of evangelism. The author used narrative qualitative method to measure his results. The research was fruitful from the point that the correct biblical understanding, by large, changes the thinking and behavior of people. Before the teaching a majority of the participants had a limited understanding of the word "go" in the Great Commission. They understood it as a suggestion rather than implied command to support the only command in Matthew 28:19 to "make disciple." Having the correct understanding shifted their thinking: going from point A - B had a greater purpose, which is to look for opportunities to "make disciples." Another misconception the participants was on evangelistic efforts. They had a very negative perception of what evangelism meant. The image they had was people holding "repent or you will go to hell," which left a bad taste in their mouth. This caused them to distance themselves from the work of the evangelist. The correct understanding of the word evangelism being a bearer of Good news, changed their thinking and behavior. The instructional program had positive results as it equipped people on how to share the gospel with others, creating confidence in the lives of the participants.

Discipleship in a Disney Culture: The Effect of Christian Self-Denial on Perceived Delight in Jesus and Others

Author
Joel Van Soelen D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to test the hypothesis that a six-week small group focused on
Christian self-denial, in loving God and others, would lead to an increase in perceived delight in
Jesus and others among members of Anaheim Christian Reformed Church in Anaheim, CA.
Self-denial is a key component in living as a disciple of Jesus. The research identified
consumerism as an obstacle. Self-denial in the writings of Augustine, John Calvin, and Timothy
Keller were researched. Small group participants learned about the role of self-denial in the
Christian life and completed assignments to help them grow in their relationship with God and
others through Christian self-denying practices. A mixed methods approached was utilized to
assess the effectiveness of the project. Quantitative data showed a significant increase in
happiness from pretest to post-test. Qualitative data evidenced a change in thinking in regards to
the positive nature of self-denial in the Christian life through journal entries and from pre-interview to post-interview responses. The conclusion of the project revealed the positive view of
Christian self-denial in discipleship, the vital nature of small groups, and the importance of
reflection to encourage delight Jesus and others.

EVALUATION OF A TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW EDUCATION AND TRANSFORMATION

Author
Rhonda Kaye Kamakawiwoole D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Given the world’s plurality of worldviews, transformation to the biblical worldview—God’s understanding of reality—remains the paramount task of Christian parents and the church in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Christian parents are to impress God's commands on their children so the next generation might come to know, love, and serve Him (Deut 6:6-7). Jesus charges the church to make disciples, baptize, and teach others to obey his commands (Matt 28:19-20), yet, spiritual formation is not the target it should be for most Christian families and the American church. The literature reveals a general lack in understanding of the biblical worldview in Christians across generations, and thus, believers lack confidence and motivation to share God’s worldview with others.
This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a workshop designed to address transformation in the comprehension, commitment, and intended conduct of participants to train others to the biblical worldview. Statistical analysis revealed participants changed in understanding, confidence, and motivation toward engaging in further growth to the biblical worldview and training others to it. Anecdotal information gathered from comments on the post-training survey provided additional evidence of the above, as well as qualitative evidence demonstrating participants changed in their commitment to share God’s truth with others and planned for future change in this “commissioned” area for Christ.
The workshop effectively addressed the lack of intentionality about growing in and sharing the biblical worldview with others. The study showed adult Christians of all ages are more likely to engage in sharing the biblical worldview with others once they better understand the distinctives of the biblical worldview, gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities and are motivated to share it, and are equipped with models for training others to the biblical worldview.

Redemptive Understanding of God's Genocidal Commands to the Israelites

Author
Jeremy J Ahn D.Min.
Abstract
Acquiring new discipleship members is difficult when many potential candidates protest that thew instances of Old Testament genocide reveal God as one to be feared rather than loved. This thesis explains how this author's newly designed classroom materials encouraged the development of understanding and empathy in discipleship candidates for the journeying Israelites. Of fundamental importance to this thesis is this author's insight illuminating the paramount significance that each recorded genocidal command correlates with a certain Stage of the Old Testament. Formal qualitative evaluations at the conclusion of this specialized course supported this researcher's hypothesis that deeper cognitive and spiritual enlightening of the recorded Old Testament events would authentically convey a holistic, loving, and paternal God, unfolding a redemptive plan for humankind throughout the ages.
This course was also designed to assess if our church's static number of new discipleship candidates would increase, especially if the instances of Old Testament genocides could be presented as acts of a a loving, redemptive God. Those discipleship candidates who completed this revised course are enthusiastically drawing new candidates by word of mouth. With the next course still two months away, we have already doubles our usual applications.

The Development of 1st Generation Pastors for Leadership in Independent Churches in Andhra Pradesh, India

Author
Manikanta Sai Ankem D.Min.
Abstract
This major project was designed to address the challenges that the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders go through to emerge as pastors and leaders within the independent churches of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also designed to address the issue of favoritism and nepotism on developing the emerging leaders, and succession in those churches.

Among the independent churches, it seems, only the senior pastors’ progenies are the successors. It seems, there is no place for the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders to be developed for the senior pastorate of the independent churches. Not developing first-generation emerging pastors/leaders is a threat to the growth of Christianity in India. It is also not the New Testament model of training and developing first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the first section, the researcher dealt with the sociological issues and the cultural hierarchies that are contributing towards not developing the first-generation emerging pastors. In dealing with these issues, the researcher used the literature available and provided a biblical response. Also, the researcher showed biblical insight regarding the way of training and developing the first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the second section, the researcher used a qualitative method, doing in-depth interviews. The interviewees consisted of two groups of people – senior pastors of the independent churches who are close to handing on the baton of leadership; the second, first-generation emerging pastors who are in the process of emerging as pastors.

The findings of this research affirmed that the first-generation emerging pastors went through (and are going through) many challenges such as lack of proper guidance, support, training, mentor relationship, and trust from their senior pastors. There are also favoritism and nepotism issues along with insecurities of the senior pastors and lack of biblical knowledge on how to train and develop the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders without showing hierarchy and favoritism.

Applying the Principles Taught in the Emotionally Healthy Church Through a Discipleship Workshop of Christians Within the A&D Biker Ministries Congregation

Author
Ralph L. Scherer D.Min.
Abstract
Making disciples was part of Christ’s commission to his Church. Historically, the focus of Christian discipleship has been to produce greater spiritual health and maturity. Author Pete Scazzero, in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, offers a paradigm of discipleship that promises to also produce greater emotional health and maturity. This project sought to test the validity of this discipleship paradigm, by teaching and utilizing the principles of The Emotionally Healthy Church in an extended discipleship workshop process with 20-30 adult Christians within our congregation. The process included an anonymous survey, Nominal Group Technique, multiple workshop teaching / learning sessions, a preaching series on these principles and individual follow-up interviews.

Developing a median-adult discipleship strategy for Council Road Baptist Church, Bethany, Oklahoma

Author
Jason Lynn Arnold
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a median adult discipleship strategy for Council Road Baptist Church, Bethany, Oklahoma. Completion of this strategy included several steps and many people were enlisted to give their expert opinions of the work presented here. The project director explored internal demographics of the church’s median adult department to identify trends. The next step was completed when the project director investigated discipleship model strategies and produced a church-specific discipleship strategy. The project director utilized the Lead Team of the church as the strategy planning group. The completed strategy was presented to a selected group of median adult leaders for final approval.

Developing an enhanced discipleship strategy for Riva Trace Baptist Church, in Davidsonville, Maryland

Author
David Tilghman Hemphill
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to enhance the discipleship strategy of Riva Trace Baptist Church. The project director researched discipleship methods, aspects, formation, and models. Following the research, the compiled an annotated bibliography of selected discipleship models and then conducted an appraisement of selected discipleship models. From there, the project director surveyed the congregation and reviewed the existing discipleship making methods. The results of these inquires provided the project director with the needed information to develop reports on current practice and spiritual health. To fashion his learning into an enhanced strategy, he did research into strategy creation process from which he developed a report. The fruit of all the research was used to develop an enhanced strategy. A select team was then gathered to assist in the manufacture of a presentation. The team delivered the presentation to the pastors and elders. The pastors and elders asked for application details. Once provided, the strategy was accepted. The pastors and elders are praying about adaptations they should make.
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