Faith development

Developing a Holistic Religious Support Strategy for the Alabama National Guard’s
135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command

Adam Cochran
The purpose of this project was to develop a holistic strategy to enhance religious support for the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command of the Alabama National Guard. There is a difficulty for National Guard Chaplains to cover units based on monthly schedules, unit locations, and staff requirements. This can serve as a hindrance to religious support to subordinate units. The project director will investigate the needs of religious support down to the company level. This will provide the information needed to assess the religious support needs. The project director will identify resources necessary to enhance the religious support strategy. The project director will identify personnel that will help in the holistic religious support strategy, in accordance with the command master religious plan. The holistic religious support strategy will guide religious support in the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and its subordinate unit ministry teams.

Are we there? : journeys of faith and the role of racialized trauma in individuals who identify as religiously unaffiliated

Richelle Foreman Gunter
This project explores the intersections of racialized trauma and faith development in individuals who have sometime during their life identified as religiously unaffiliated or “nones.” Through the lens of life stories, nine individuals describe their faith journeys from their earliest memories of life to their most recent adult experiences. Their courageous sharing sheds light on the connections between racism and racialized trauma and the precious moments when faith in God moved them forward on their journey of faith. Their stories highlight the experience of 250 plus years historical trauma from slavery and its intergenerational influence, alongside the instances of racism members of the black community continued to experience. The stories that they shared also help us to understand that God inserts himself into the lives of His people in ways that are unexpected, not written about or understood. Like life, faith development is a journey not a destination.

Developing a Biblical Response to the Providence of God and Natural Disasters at First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Mississippi

Wade Lee Ricks D.Min.
This project evaluated whether an introductory curriculum on the providence of God could equip a select group of First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Mississippi to respond biblically to God’s providence in natural disasters.

Chapter 1 introduces the need to reexamine the theology of the providence of God as a result of scientific discovery. Additionally, the project's thesis, rationale, purpose, methodology, and goals are also presented.

Chapter 2 presents the theological background with an exegetical analysis of three major texts detailing the foundation for the theology of the providence of God.

Chapter 3 outlines the project description, scope, design, and weekly progress report.

Chapter 4 presents the project analysis gathered from both a pre- and post-study survey.

Chapter 5 concludes with an administrative summary and suggestions for further implementation of the project.

Wade Lee Ricks, D.Min.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2022
Supervisor: Dr. Thomas Kiker, Ph.D.

Evaluación de la eficiencia de los programas de educación y crecimiento Cristiano en la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía en el Perú

Rafael Alvino Vargas
The Church of God of Prophecy is a Pentecostal organization, and it’s believes are based on biblical principles. The COGOP in Peru started in 1953 in the San Cosme community, La Victoria, Peru. It has been 67 years since its beginning, however, educating and growing the church required some important changes to experience some progressive growth. In 2001 the church had around 14,000 members in Peru and realized that growth was not something that happened spontaneously but should be based on a structured formation to prepare pastors, leaders and members in general. Since 2003, and as part of a strategic plan, the COGOP implemented an operative plan to encourage sustained growth; with goals and contextual emphasis, and to respond to our specific needs to reach our immediate, intermediate, and long terms goals. In this thesis we used the RVR 1960 Bible

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.

Growth toward faith maturity through a collegiate chapel program

Matthew Floding
This project is designed to provide college chaplains with illustrative models and helpful discussion exploring eight core dimensions of mature faith in order to encourage planning a chapel program which will facilitate growth toward faith maturity. It benefits directly from Lilly-funded research conducted by the Search Institute of Minneapolis and published as Effective Christian Education: A National Study of Protestant Congregations. The research for this project was conducted while actively performing the ministry of chaplain at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

This project strongly suggests that intentionally planning to address these eight dimensions of mature faith in a collegiate chapel worship program, together with supplemental experiences, can encourage growth toward faith maturity. While measurable results isolating the impact of the chapel program are probably not possible, in an Appendix, findings of research conducted on Northwestern's campus using a Search Institute instrument are presented which tend to confirm the importance of being cognizant of a picture of mature faith when planning a chapel program.

The biblical sage as paradigm for the practice of campus ministry

Sherwin J Broersma
The purpose of this thesis is to show that the biblical sage is a dynamic and compelling paradigm for the practice of campus ministry. Some campus ministers work out of no clear conceptual model while doing ministry. Others work out of a variety of models such as the priest/preacher, the evangelist, the prophet and the counselor. Each of these models has strengths and limitations as we shall attempt to demonstrate. Beyond this, it is my conviction that the paradigm of the sage is able to enrich each model.

This project paper focuses on the three major Old Testament works of wisdom: Ecclesiastes, Job, Proverbs; indirectly on wisdom Psalms; plus on elements of wisdom in the New Testament.

Closely related to the matter of models of ministry is the issue of self-identity in ministry. Campus ministers often suffer from identity confusion. They serve in a setting of faculty, staff, and students. The campus minister bears similarity to each of these, yet is none of them. The campus minister teaches, administers programs and continually learns. Still the minister realizes that none of these functions fully describes one's professional identity. Who then really is the campus minister? I want to argue that the biblical sage offers itself as a congenial and productive identity model for campus ministers.

Raising faith-full children : a handbook for parents of early adolescents

Donald Hoekstra
This handbook is designed as a resource manual for parents of early adolescents, ages 11-14. It attempts to translate recent research findings about the development of early adolescents and their faith and religious development into an understandable and practical guide for parents of these early adolescents.

Chapter One discusses the significance of change in the life of both early adolescents and their mid-life parents. Implications for parent-child relationships are also drawn.

Chapter Two provides an overview of early adolescence and the transition from childhood to later adolescence.

Chapter Three explores early adolescent religion and its formation.

Chapter Four asks, "Why Christian religious concerns for early adolescents?", and proceeds to provide several succinct responses to how this focus on development unfolds.

Chapter Five provides an adolescent-parent strategy for faith formation around Christian baptism.

Chapter Six provides an adolescent-parent strategy for faith formation around Christian confirmtion.

Chapter Seven provides an adolescent-parent strategy for faith formation around Christian holy communion.

Chapter Eight provides an adolescent-parent strategy for faith formation around the Reformed Church in America creeds and confessions.

Chapter Nine provides an adolescent-parent strategy for faith formation around the ten commandments.

Work matters : toward a model of congregational public theologizing about faith and work

Thomas Fitzsimmons Neal
There are over 1,300 parachurch organizations in North America alone, dedicated to the interface between faith and workplace issues. This project examines the rationale, promise and hope for a congregational approach to the integration of faith and work. Action research was done with a study group of church participants over a one-year period to see what might work for this kind of public theologizing in a congregational setting. The research shows that a small group format that includes an introduction to theology, an introduction to a theology of economics, an introduction to cultural interpretation and leadership, together with an immediate application of these to workplace issues does enable participants to engage in public theologizing about workplace issues. The research also shows that an emphasis on personal development that includes Christian spiritual components is highly motivating to those who wish to engage in this area of public theology. A model for congregational ministries of work and workplace integration ministries is developed based on the research.

"What would Clement do?" : recovering the catechumenate for faith formation today

Steven D Pierce
This project seeks to answer the question, “What would Clement do?” concerning faith formation in churches today. Its aim is to help the spiritually curious, newcomers, and regular church attenders develop a more informed understanding of the Christian faith, particularly through the lens of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). My research for this paper began at Marble Collegiate Church (RCA) in Manhattan—a large, urban church context. In the summer of 2011, I began my ministry as a solo pastor at The Community Reformed Church (CRC) at Manhasset, NY, a small, suburban congregation just outside of New York City. The Explorer’s Handbook and formative process that comprise my doctoral work both emerge from and serve both types of settings. Its appeal is wide; its scope is broad.

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