Preaching--Social aspects

Advancing Social Justice: Claiming the Voice of the United Methodist Deacon as Preacher

Author
Eric Pugh
Abstract
In the United Methodist Church, the preaching of the deacon is an underdeveloped voice that should be included among all the other preaching voices in the church. The preaching voice of the deacon is grounded in their call to compassion, justice, reconciliation, and restoration, and is informed by biblical and historical contexts that affirm and confirm the value and necessity of such preaching. Naming and claiming the voice of the deacon as preacher requires deacons to understand themselves, their call to ministry, and the relevance and importance of their voice that calls attention to the need for justice in action as valid and necessary in our world today. The voice of the United Methodist deacon as preacher is a necessary voice in the local church and beyond for the advancement of social justice. This project thesis rests on the belief that for the United Methodist deacon, claiming their voice as preacher helps them more fully fulfill their call to ministry and live into their baptismal and ordination vows.

Preaching Missionary Discipleship: A Homiletic Response to Declining Participation at Risen Christ Catholic Parish in Denver and the Catholic Church of the United States of America

Author
Eric David Zegeer D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis proposes an acronym consisting of seven essential characteristics for the exercise of preaching in the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy that considers the statistical data of the decline of Catholic Sunday participation in the United States while being informed by the theology of missionary discipleship in Catholic teaching.
Chapter 1 provides an introduction that contrasts the actual decline of American Catholics in the participation of the Sunday liturgy with the Church’s teaching on missionary discipleship.
Chapter 2 provides a comprehensive explanation of the Catholic Church’s teachings on the vocation to a life of missionary discipleship of every baptized Catholic in the context of stages or steps of spiritual growth that lead to a fully lived baptismal calling.
Chapter 3 looks at the statistical data of Catholic participation available since the scandals of child sex abuse came to light around 2002. It considers the impact it has had on the Catholic Church in the United States as a whole as well as some specific generations.
Chapter 4 offers an in-depth explanation of the acronym “BREATHE” and how each characteristic of that acronym should inform our preaching. It also loosely corresponds each letter to the seven different stages of growth toward missionary discipleship.
Chapter 5 and its subsequent appendices provide the statistical data of one Catholic parish where the acronym was implemented in a five-week preaching exercise to reach the most Catholics possible in that one setting. It then considers the response and how that aligns with the statistical data found in chapter three.
Chapter 6 offers conclusions to the thesis overall and a recommendation of how to move forward while acknowledging the limitations of this one exercise and the importance of an overall plan to form and send the average parishioner into the world to bring more souls to Christ.

PREPARING THE SOIL FOR PREACHING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING THROUGH EMPATHETIC NARRATIVE

Author
William Hisker D.Min.
Abstract
The research study explores the theological and social-psychological forces that discourage the preaching of the prophetic message of the Gospel. The study was conducted with seventy-four volunteers and six permanent deacons in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys and interviews. The hypothesis explored was whether or not the use of narrative techniques, specifically Narrative 4 story exchange would be useful as a technique for preparing congregations to be open to the challenges presented by Catholic social teaching. Additionally, the research sought to determine whether or not the six deacons who participated in the study would find narrative a useful technique in their preaching and evangelization efforts.

Participants completed an empathy profile before viewing one of seven different videos produced by the United States Conference of Bishops on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person; the Call to Family, Community, and Participation; the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; Rights and Responsibilities; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation; and the Dignity of Work. Participants were asked to rate the videos and indicate how often they heard preaching of the subject matter of the videos. Participants were also given the opportunity to participate in a Narrative 4 story exchange. Participants were then asked to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index a second time to see if there was a statistically significant change in their empathy profile. In addition, participants were asked to evaluate their experience with the story exchange. While there was no significant statistical change, as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the interviewees demonstrated a high level of approval for the story exchange as a vehicle for improving the empathetic response of a congregation and as a useful technique for use in the preaching of Catholic social teaching.

Prophetic Preaching in the Face of Socioeconomic Crisis as a Justice Instrument in Favor of Women in Puerto Rico

Author
Enid Medina Torres D.Min.
Abstract
La Predicación Profética ante la Crisis Socioeconómica como Instrumento de Justicia para la Mujer en Puerto Rico

This paper presents research on how prophetic preaching can become a justice instrument in favor of women in Puerto Rico facing a significant socioeconomic crisis, with the purpose of it to lead social transformation and liberate women. God has called the Church to raise its voice for all those oppressed by power structures. particularly women, who I consider are the most oppressed. This project can become a significant contribution to prophetic preaching, as it convenes the Church to raise its voice against systemic oppression. Prophetic preaching is presented as an effective tool for a better Puerto Rico here and now. It is by means of prophetic preaching that the Church can become an active agent in fulfilling God’s mission and bringing about His kingdom.
This research followed a qualitative approach, using individual interviews with open-ended questions, as well as a four-sermon series. Six people from the local church participated as part of a focus group who supported the sermon preparation as well as their assessment. Results in this research showed inductive sermonary structures contribute to the process of Church members to not only recognize socioeconomic problems women face on a daily basis, but also to also feel compelled to work against them, guiding them to present concrete ideas in favor of socioeconomic justice for women.

Peace Upon Our Troubled World: A Reflection on Jesus' Post Resurrection Visits in John 20:19-31

Author
CANICE CHUKWUEMEKA NJOKU FR M.A.
Abstract
In a world where both the interior and exterior peace of its inhabitants is under constant threat by one form of chaos or the other, is there any hope for lasting peace? This reflection explores the impact of Jesus' gift of peace to his disciples during his post-resurrection visits in John 20:19-31. Importantly, it carefully evaluates the relevance of this visit to all living in today's challenging and chaotic world.

This work reveals that peace is a gift from God and that Jesus' salutation ("Peace be with you"), which communicates much peace and liberates every troubled soul, is still very much re-echoed to all today. Hence, it is still relevant for the continued restoration and sustenance of peace in both the individual and our entire world.

Faith and humility are prerequisites for receiving the peace that Christ offers. Also, the Holy Spirit is a principal-agent in humankind's search for lasting peace, and peace is not primarily a characteristic of happenings in the world but also a human attitude and a characteristic of all who have received it.

The title of this little book speaks for itself. The peace that Christ offers is still very much needed in every soul and in our world at large. It is what our world lacks and needs most today, and this is what I present to you in this little book.

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, C.M., B.D., M.P.S., D.Min. Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri, 2020.

Culture as an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents and the society about what it means to be a human being. These include the totality of the norms, ways of acting, and understanding that people learn from cradle which helps them know how to fit into the world. As a child grows in the society the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, as their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When preachers use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, preachers must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them. Their choice of words, especially with imageries and metaphors, shows appropriate concern for the effective proclamation of the gospel.

Preaching on Porn: A Workshop to Train Pastors

Author
Michael Novotny D.Min.
Abstract
According to even the most conservative statistics, pornography is wrecking the bodies,
minds, and souls of millions of Christians in America. Nevertheless, most pastors are unsure
how to address this pandemic problem in their sermons.

This project suggests a solution. If a preacher verbalizes this taboo topic, normalizes the
struggle for God’s people, demonizes the sin of lust, evangelizes those struggling with sexual
sin, and strategizes ways for every member of the church to honor God with their bodies, the
pulpit might become a powerful solution for the saints’ struggle.

In this project, twelve pastors were surveyed and studied in order to create a workshop in
hopes of equipping them to preach wisely, boldly, and effectively on the topic of pornography.

A STUDY OF SERMON APPLICATION ACROSS BIBLICAL GENRES AT FAITH BIBLE CHURCH

Author
Trevor Nunn D.Min.
Abstract
This project developed strategies to sermon application across the biblical genres of poetry, narrative, parables and epistles. The strategies had two goals: (1) enhance the congregants’ biblical understanding of the text while growing them in Christ; (2) improve the quality of sermon applications in the project writer’s preaching. To achieve these goals, this project reviewed hermeneutical topics to create a definition of expository preaching. Based on the definition, a questionnaire evaluated the success of the strategies through a pre/post format of the project writer’s sermons. Conclusions to their success were based upon positive or negative changes within the data.


Silence to Active Voice A Leadership Process for Conversations on Timely and Sensitive Topics

Author
James E Hoffman
Abstract
Silence to Active Voice: A Leadership Process for Conversations on Timely and Sensitive Topics charts the process of the author to guide adaptive change at St. John's United Methodist Church of Kansas City, Missouri. The aim of this leadership project was to overcome silence so that the congregation could regain an active voice regarding the timely and sensitive topic of human sexuality. Through the interactive process of learning from other leaders, preaching to name silence, engagement in conversation, and forming a taskforce to move forward, the congregation embraced adaptive change in order to regain an active voice within and without.

Reaching Our Jerusalem: Developing and Implementing an Outreach Strategy to a Changing Rural Community

Author
Christopher D Keefer
Abstract
This purpose of this project is to reach people living within a two-mile radius of the First Baptist Church of Poolville with the good news of Jesus Christ through the creation and initiation of a church-wide mission plan. The project utilized the Percept Group 2016 Ministry Area Profile, which provided extensive demographic and socioeconomic information on the immediate community surrounding the church. Along with survey information, the church analyzed the information and developed an outreach plan.
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