Narrative (Theology)

Preaching Through Grief to Wholeness

Author
Dava Cruise Hensley
Abstract
Grief and Loss are ever present in the life of the church. Death, illness, and change are ongoing events in the gathered community. Such loss is often accompanied by grief and at times, unrecognized and therefore, unresolved. This thesis is directed at naming unresolved grief and through intentional preaching which address grief, offers a legitimate and helpful way to address grief and can be the beginning of the process for healing to move through grief to wholeness using preaching as a tool of pastoral care. In this study, a Parish Support Group (PSG) selected from members of the congregation met before and after the preaching moments to evaluate if grief acknowledged from the pulpit allowed the congregation to begin to name grief. Interviews, questionnaires, and narrative stories were used in the evaluation process by the PSG and congregation. The logic method was used as evaluation of the resources needed to work through grief made changes in the community in vital ways. The congregation displayed evidence of movement as the grieving process was addressed being more willing to move beyond the pews and serve more in the neighborhood.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

The Role of Storytelling as a Pathway to Healing in Retreat Settings for High School Youth

Author
Julie Michelle Welborn D.Min.
Abstract
The topic of this thesis-project is the role of storytelling as a pathway to healing in retreat settings for high school youth. The thesis to be tested suggests that when personal narratives are coupled with biblical narratives, that a new and healthier narrative can emerge; and, especially to examine more clearly any inherent dangers in storytelling; and to explore what appropriate follow-up needs to be designed in the aftermath of such storytelling. This thesis-project takes in depth look at the role of story, Scripture, and the experiences of storytelling from adults who have facilitated retreats, along with adults who have participated on retreats while in high school.

The effects of preaching a series of expository sermons on the mission of God from 1 Samuel 1-12 on the young adults' perception of their own identity and purpose in life in relation to God's larger story

Author
Hiap Siang Goh
Abstract
Eleven messages were preached employing Christopher Wright's missional hermeneutics grounded on the realities of who God is, God's story, and God's people. A pretest and posttest quantitative survey and well as a phenomenological study conducted at the end of the sermon series showed that the project had indeed influenced the young adults' preception of their identity and purpose.

Developing sermon application from Old Testament narratives

Author
Cyrus Y Ng
Abstract
Developing sermon applications is challenging, because it demands that preachers bridge the immense gap between the ancient text and the modern audience. The task appears even more challenging when preaching Old Testament narratives, because this genre usually does not offer obvious statements from which preachers can formulate applications. What kind of lessons should be drawn from biblical narratives? How does the preacher develop hermeneutically sound and contemporarily relevant applications from this genre? The project centered around two goals: to enhance the congregants' competence in applying OT narratives to their lives; and to improve the quality of sermon applications in the project writer's preaching. The project implemented proposed theories by developing and delivering a sermon series on Genesis 37-50 in the project writer's congregation. A focus group, and evaluative questionnaires were implemented, and revealed a progressive improvement of applications over the course of the preaching series.

Bridging: a ministry model for renewal

Author
Lanette L Pollock-Plambeck
Abstract
The author considered how excavating heritage stories, earliest theological viewpoints, pioneering core values, and deep-rooted practices of ministry could serve as a tool for congregational renewal for rural communities of faith. Through the analysis of First United Methodist Church, Atlantic, the author was able to identify key components that had once enabled and empowered this congregation to effectively be and do church. The result was the development of a process that bridged the congregation's legacy narrative with their current story by honoring the Gloria Dei, imago Dei, ecclesia Dei and mission Dei in their conduct as disciples of Jesus Christ.

The mind of the maker: creativity and narrative as means for spiritual and theological exploration

Author
Jeffrey A Jamos
Abstract
Human beings employ narrative for meaning making, and to connect personal histories to the story of faith. This project examines three ways a congregation used narrative to explore personal faith. The author created story salons as a means to connect personal narratives with biblical and other narratives. Second the author describes a class he created to use creative writing as a spiritual discipline. Finally the author wrote a novel, Galleotto, which explores doubt as a means toward reintegrated faith. Its themes form a theological chapter focusing on eros as an aspect of faith, and Paul Ricoeur's concept of "second naïveté."

Enhancing hermeneutical accuracy for the reaching of Old Testament narratives using 2 Samuel 11-12 as a case study

Author
Benjamin H Walton
Abstract
Many evangelical preachers lack the hermeneutical skills to discern the pericopal theology of Old Testament narratives. The result is that many preachers fail to deliver expository messages from such passages. This thesis-project makes the case tha6t expository preaching is the only reliable way to proclaim God or his will; supports this by examining God's nature, God's revelation, and biblical authority; and provides a mini-book to equip preachers to deliver expository messages from Old Testament Narratives. A literature review explores contemporary theories of interpretation, Old Testament narrative art, and pericopal theology of Old Testament narratives. A survey documents the mini-book's effectiveness.

Recommunicating biblical narrative to post-literate Salvation Army congregations

Author
Carl E Carvill
Abstract
When William Booth founded the Salvation Army in 1860, he implemented innovative preaching and worship styles. They remain in use today. This thesis-project argues that the changing ecology of communication demands that Salvation Army preachers adapt to the current communications environment. The theology and praxis of revivalism remain malleable enough to serve the present age, and the grace reflected in the Army's social work outreach is easily understood, but a style of preaching stuck in Victorian rhetorical convention is ineffective. This thesis-project surveys the history of preaching within the Salvation Army and alternative ways to portray Scripture to listeners attuned to the electronic post-everything age. Research elicited feed forward and feed back survey responses from a congregation to whom a Salvation Army minister delivered sermons in modern style. The author concludes that training Salvation Army preachers to recommunicate biblical narrative effectively will enable them to communicate better to post-literate Salvation Army congregations.

From abstract to concrete: facilitating spiritual growth in new believers at Calvary korean Baptist Church of Los Gatos through a narrative Bible study

Author
Lee Yongjoo
Abstract
One of the most serious problems facing the church in the postmodern world is the problem of biblical illiteracy. The purpose of this project was to enhance the basic knowledge of the Bible and facilitate the spiritual growth of new believers through implementing a narrative Bible Study program at Calvary Korean Baptist Church in Los Gatos, California. The ten-session course, designed and led by the project director, helped the participants gain an understanding of the main biblical principles. At the end of the program, the participants gave clear evidence to their growth in knowledge, skills and relationship with their Lord through the surveys and interviews in which they participated.
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