Pastoral presence as disruption of shame : the experience of engaging and equipping communities of faith in Bangkok with practices of transformative discipleship

Rawee Bunupuradah
The dissertation explores dynamics of spiritual transformation through the practice of discipleship and pastoral care. Intersecting multi-disciplinary sources of theology, psychology, and neuroscience. The work proposes, tests, and records observations in developing a practice to lead people into transformation through relationship with God and within their faith community.

I find that the process of transformation is a holistic process of cultivating mind, heart, and body, which form a holistic faith. The Trinitarian doctrine of perichoresis helps us see the potential of transformation with loving community. I also discover the enemy of such transformation is shame. I define shame and its effects of disconnection with God and community. A workshop was developed to engage leaders within a context of community with these findings. The results in the form of pastoral encounters are recorded.

The work provides leaders with theology, practices, and case studies to facilitate spiritual transformation with a focus on engaging individual’s heart and story. Working with a diaspora urban faith community, I wonder if its application would benefit other contexts of culture, church, or ministry.

Overall, the work has helped me discover how to disrupt the effects of shame and lead others into healthier relationship with God and with their community of faith. My hope is that this work would equip leaders to make disciples and build community that reflects the love of God for the world.

Comparison of Luther and Calvin on Sunday observance

Harry Buis
How should a Christian sanctify the Lord's Day? What principles should direct him in making use of this day according to the will of God? This problem has become increasingly perplexing in our nation today. It is a problem which is especially acute for many people in the Reformed Church in America. Many of these people came from a background of strict Sunday observance. Is this observance primarily cultural or is it biblical? If it is a combination of the two, on what basis can one untangle these

This problem is especially critical because today, as never before, the Reformed Church in America is reaching out into the typical American community with an evangelistic approach. As she does so, she must not lose her rich heritage; rather she must share it. On the other hand, she ought not to impose upon others any part of that heritage which is culturally conditioned rather than essentially Christian. Even those aspects of that culture which are commendable ought not to be made requirements for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ.

In dealing with Americans of many different cultural and religious backgrounds, one finds no greater variety of viewpoint than that toward the proper use of the Lord' s Day, for America itself is undergoing a great change in its attitudes toward the use of Sunday. In a few generations, this day has been changed from one largely used for rest and worship to one used largely for work and leasure. The Puritan Sabbath, which had a large influence in earlier American history, has given way to a far different viewpoint. The result is confusion of thought on the subject, and therefore prevailing practices are based on expediency rather than on definite principles.

Five characteristics that make discipleship relevant and contextual

Pedro Agudelo
This thesis called “Five Characteristics that Make Discipleship Relevant and Contextual” looks at the discipleship conundrum, which has become more complex with the challenging new realities of the twentieth-first century. Covid-19, global migration, urbanization, secularization, postmodernism, plus social and political uncertainty require relevant and contextual discipleship. This academic exercise uses the participant observation method as a tool to examine current discipleship realities through analyzing scholarly work on the topic and by exploring four discipleship practices in four pastoral networks. This thesis argues that relevant discipleship requires the presence of five characteristics: intimacy, purpose, value, security, and vulnerability.

Chapter one explores the problem of irrelevant discipleship and defines discipleship as a relational process instead of as a program or method to be used in churches and denominations. Discipleship is defined as enjoying God’s quality of life beyond doctrinal knowledge as individuals growth in Christ’s character and engage in making disciples. Chapter two explores the biblical framework of discipleship by identifying discipleship in the Old and New Testaments. It also looks at historical expressions of discipleship and theological discipleship models through history. Chapter three reviews discipleship literature, focusing on the work of nine authors across different contexts. Chapter four describes how the participant observant method is applied in this academic exercise among selected literature consulted and pastoral networks observed. Chosen literature fitted the twofold criteria used to select authors: scholarly authors who are pastors and who are involved in discipleship networks. Chapter five presents conclusions produced by this academic exercise; it also provides recommendations offered by the author on how to implement the five discipleships elements presented in this thesis.

The Psychological Impacts of Abortion in Women and a Ministry Model to Develop Restorative Care in the Church Through Biblical Counseling

Jenifer Christine Wakefield D.Ed.Min.
January 22, 1973, opened the door for legally obtaining abortion upon demand. This legal decision allowed women from all levels of society to have abortions. The psychological impacts of abortion touch the local church as four out of ten women who have chosen abortion attend a church. Planned Parenthood [PP], the world’s largest abortion provider—reports 43 percent of all women will experience abortion at least once by forty-five years of age.
The American Psychological Association [APA] denies the existence of psychological distress after abortion. The reader will soon discover the contradictory nature of the 2008 APA report and the stance of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion [TFMHA] whether or not abortion causes a negative psychological impact. Through specific research, the project will show that women who choose abortion and experience adverse effects need to be able to turn to the local church, and the local church needs to have trained leaders in restorative care ministries to help post-abortive women. This project will reveal the links between abortion and negative psychological impacts and possible long-term physical and emotional issues. Finally, this project will suggest a ministry training model for leaders in the church through biblical counseling.
Chapter 1 shows the history of abortion and its impacts on women. Chapter 2 contrasts how the world and evangelical church care for post-abortive women. Chapter 3 reveals the results of an anonymous survey of ministry leaders and why a need exists for biblical counseling in the church. Chapter 4 explains why discipleship and biblical counseling are needed for women. Finally, chapter 5 presents a training model on how to help post-abortive women in the church through biblical counseling.

Equipping Leaders at Hope Fellowship Church in Frisco, Texas, to Assess and Facilitate Ongoing Spiritual Development

Joshua Seth Morgan D.Min.
God has commissioned and equipped all believers to assess and facilitate ongoing spiritual development of themselves and others. This project sought to equip leaders at Hope Fellowship Church in Frisco, Texas, in concepts of such relational discipleship. Chapter 1 includes the context, rationale, purpose, goals, research methodology, and definition and delimitations for the project. Chapter 2 covers the biblical and theological foundation for equipping church leaders to assess and facilitate the ongoing spiritual development of themselves and others. Chapter 3 looks at discipleship and how equipping disciple-makers requires cultivating Christ-like character, applying theological foundations, and implementing comprehensive biblical methodology, specifically through the lens of Scripture being authoritative. Chapter 4 details the implementation of the research project, including a week-by-week description of development. Chapter 5 is an overall evaluation of the project. The purpose, goals, process, and project strengths and weaknesses are evaluated. Student feedback, personal and theological reflections, and details of project modifications are included. The appendices include curriculum, evaluations, surveys, and an ongoing ministry plan proposal.

Developing a Biblical Counseling Ministry at the Sweet Onion Christian Learning Center in Toombs County, Georgia

Gady Earl Youmans D.Ed.Min.

Developing a Biblical Counseling Ministry at the
Sweet Onion Christian Learning Center
in Toombs County, Georgia

This project sought to create a biblical counseling ministry that will equip local churches and believers to engage effectively in biblical counseling with confidence and assurance that God’s Word is authoritative and sufficient for life transformation of those in need of counsel. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of the Sweet Onion Christian Learning Center (SOCLC) and the goal of this project. Chapter 2 provides an exegesis of multiple passages of Scripture to demonstrate the necessity and sufficiency of biblical counseling. Chapter 3 presents the historical/practical/theoretical ideas behind counseling, both secular and biblical. Chapter 4 describes the project itself, including the curriculum and methodology utilized to complete this ministry project. Chapter 5 evaluates the efficacy of the project based on completion of the specified goals. Overall, the overarching purpose of this project is to equip believers competently and confidently to counsel those around them for life transformation through the Word of God for the glory of God.

Gady Earl Youmans

Advisor: Jonathan Okinaga, Ph.D.

Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2022

Using Multimedia to Train Men at First Baptist Church, Upland to Share Their Faith

Stephan C. Kish
The purpose of this project is to equip six men in sharing their faith through training utilizing multimedia. Three theological assertions provide the impetus for this project. First, disciple making is the primary responsibility of the church of which evangelism is the initial stage. Discipleship follows a positive response to hearing and understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ.9 Yet, there can be no hearing unless someone shares the Gospel (Rom. 10:14). Therefore, evangelism is to be a priority for the church. Second, believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, share their faith. Christians sharing their faith is a direct result of the gratitude and enthusiasm of the Christian life (Acts 1:8). Third, God gives pastors a primary role of equipping the church to engage in its call to evangelism. As the shepherd to the local body, the pastor is the one who is responsible to build up the body (Eph. 4:12).

Training for Children’s Ministry Leaders in Orange County Southern Baptist Association to Develop Preteens as Leaders

Joni A. Lum D.Min.
Equipping preteens as leaders is an essential part of preteen discipleship that not
only grows the individual but keeps him or her engaged in the local church. Children’s
ministry leaders need to recognize the preteen years as distinctly different from younger
childhood and equip preteens to serve in their church. This process is kingdom building
as stronger leaders are developed and student attrition is minimized. This project included
creating training for children’s ministry leaders, evaluating training results, and coaching
leaders through the early steps of creating their own preteen leadership program. While
most agreed this training was good and important, most were not able to implement due
to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Roger Benson Greenwalt D.Min.
This project was an attempt to accomplish the Great Commission through evangelism, discipleship, and the multiplication of leadership. The purpose was to equip leaders of Life Groups so that they would become effective disciple makers. Small group leaders were trained to influence their members to invite unbelievers to attend. The project utilized cell group gatherings to develop the relationship members have with God by having a regular quiet time. Newcomers experienced supernatural love and ministry through group life. The small groups, as well as the whole church, gained an outward focus of inviting unbelievers to their gatherings each week. Members grew spiritually as they learned to hear from God by daily Bible reading. The project developed a leadership pipeline that resulted in the multiplication of equipped leadership.


John Michael Barefield D.Min.
This Doctor on Ministry project created a training program to train small group leaders to lead the emerging adults for Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Charlotte, North Carolina. This project shared the concerns of the church in losing emerging adults after they graduate from high school. The project explored the concerns of the emerging adult generation. The literature research included the writings of Chap Clark, Kara E. Powell, David Kinnaman, Corey Seemiller, Meghan Grace, Pew Research, and others.

This qualitative research project focused on how to train leaders to lead a small group of emerging adults. This project was conducted in three phases. The first phase presented in a six-part sermon series to the congregation. The second phase interviewed emerging adult participants. The third phase trained small group leaders to lead emerging adults.

This project helped the congregation, and small group leaders, to have a better understanding of emerging adults. The small group leaders gained confidence in leading emerging adults. The pastor learned to be sensitive to the needs, interests, and values of the emerging adults in his congregation.
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