Social action and church

Baptismal Covenant and Antiracist Identity: A Phenomenological Study of Christian Antiracist Formation

Author
John Matthew Weiler
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of confession, repentance, and baptismal identity within the antiracist identity of four white Christians to further the work of antiracist transformation and organizing in the local church. The primary methodology for this work was exploratory, utilizing phenomenological, semi-structured, in-depth interviewing with a sample of four, white Christians at Eastern United Methodist Church in Michigan. The thesis was that baptismal identity, and the Christian practices of confession and repentance in the work of antiracism liberates white Christians to joyfully make space for all people to experience the liberating love of God.

Embodied integrity: realizing the Holy Spirit via the social field in ecumenical conversation

Author
Russell L Meyer
Abstract
Ecumenical conversations can lead to collective actions by incorporating the principles and methods of social field theory, interpersonal neurobiology and behavioral economics. Building on the Trinitarian work of Thomas Weinandy, this conversational process is shown to be the work of the Holy Spirit in realizing new forms of Christian unity and public witness to the will of God. The conversational process was used to facilitate the 2012 annual meeting of Christian Churches Together in the USA in its discernment of how to address the 50th anniversary of the Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mission and stewardship: loving God and neighbor with our heart and our treasure

Author
Brandi Richelle Casto-Waters
Abstract
When asked which commandment in the law was the greatest, Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:36-38). This report explores the relationship of mission and stewardship. It is focused on the life of a particular congregation where increased involvement in hands-on mission has led to a deepened understanding of stewardship. Engaging in ministry with people who are hurting, grieving, lonely, poor, and oppressed, and working together for justice, peace, and reconciliation has directly affected how members of the community are faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to their care. Jesus also said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21). This research indicates that the inverse is also true. When people invest their hearts in the mission of the church it is very likely their treasure will follow.

Transformation through the serving and learning experience

Author
Heather H Ferguson
Abstract
Experiences in serving others and learning from those interactions are not new. For those of us rooted in the Christian tradition, following Christ means offering mercy and kindness to others. It means seeking to understand the world around us so as to recognize the places where God longs to be made known. A transformative potential lies within all short-term mission and service-learning events. To tap that potential we must listen to the wise voices of those have served before us and to the Holy Spirit that leads us into transformative relationships. This project explores the works of several researchers and scholars who identify the potential outcomes of service-learning and short-term mission, and those interested in the transformational effects of such experiences. Incorporated into the discoveries are the words of four individuals whose narratives contribute to the collective findings and serve as evidence for the transforming potential within the serving and learning experience.

Joining together in God's work: the relationship between spiritual formation and community ministry at Westwood Baptist Church, Cary, North Carolina

Author
Keith N Vaughn
Abstract
This ministry project sought to draw a correlation between Christian spiritual formation and participation in community service. The project's goals were to research the congregation's knowledge and participation in community service and determine how it affected their faith, and how their faith affected their view of community service as they served those in need. The project also served in providing the minister knowledge, tools, and resources increasing his effectiveness in practicing ministry in the local congregation. The project enabled the minister to understand that spiritual formation and community service are significantly interrelated as one shares the gospel locally and globally. The project also served the minister by enhancing his spiritual growth and learning that spiritual formation is a lifelong process, which integrates our life and faith stories into God's story of redemption and reclamation of human life in the present and the future.

Social action and evangelism: envisioning a new relational paradigm for 21st-century American Christianity

Author
James B Carroll
Abstract
For the church to effectively minister to a lost and hurting world, in the midst of an ever-burgeoning segregation between social action and evangelism, it must first come to grips with the fullness of its past and present. In light of such reflection, this dissertation will address the gap between these diverse expressions of Christian faith and practice and propose a published work that offers a new and unique paradigm which reflects the fullness of the Great Commission. The new paradigm will propose a model of everyday witness that is authentic and relevant to believers and unbelievers alike. Its intent is to serve as a catalyst for the revitalization and groth of the Kingdom of God through his church both today and in future generations.

Holistic emerging preaching: measuring the impact of a twelve-week sermon series from the book of James on emerging worshipers' heads, hearts, and hands

Author
Matthew G Melton
Abstract
This project studied preaching as a motivator toward social action. It asked if an expository sermon series taught to emerging worshipers on the biblical book of James would result in an increase in head knowledge, heart desire to serve others, and participants taking part in community service projects. The results were not statistically significant.

From adoration to action: how preaching forms congregations for acts of love, justice, and mercy

Author
Theophilus James Stanford
Abstract
This project explores the transformative power of preaching, which inspires congregants to acts of love, justice, and mercy, in order that corporate worship becomes a sending, rather than an ending. This report is based on the collaborative method of sermon preparation and preaching, based on the "roundtable pulpit" methodology developed by John S. McClure. Utilizing this approach, congregants are invited to become an integral part of the proclaimed word, thereby empowering congregations to become more missional.

"Do you see this woman?": a Christological reflection on the community ministry of one congregation

Author
George E Young
Abstract
The struggle that the church faces is really about who we are trying to become. We lift Christ as our focus in this struggle and journey, but how do we see him? When we think of the church, we think of an institution that serves the needs of the members. I am submitting the thought that we should be placing our faith at risk by making ourselves vulnerable to the needs of others. In my project, I have wrestled with who Christ is to me and to the church. This Christology is the focal point of my work. As I engaged and continue to engage in the struggle for the soul of the church, this project represents my work on this effort. Revising my view of Christ is central to this work. This project is built around the creation and maintenance of an outreach within a community based ministry, and the process of leading a congregation to become oriented toward community service and revising our view of Christ.

Community building and peacemaking though interfaith dialogue, religious education and social justice action

Author
Loletta M Barrett
Abstract
The thesis for this project is that peace on a global level can only be achieved through a foundation of peace in the individual, faith community, and inter-religious community. It is based on a practical application of the intersection between ethics and religious education. Research included information on the purpose, resources and programs of interfaith web sites and local interfaith groups. A review of interfaith literature on peacemaking, ethics, community and religious education was supplemented with interviews with specialists in these areas including scholars, spiritual leaders and religious educators. A model for an interfaith program is presented, as well as resources for faith communities who seek to implement the model. The model is a one-year program for two faith communities and includes religious education, fellowship/worship, and social justice action components.
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