Spiritual exercises

The Knowledge of God and the Knowledge of Self: Exploring Spiritual Formation via Discernment and the MBTI

Author
Christopher Andrew Walker D.Min.
Abstract
In this Research Portfolio, the author explores spiritual formation through growing in the knowledge of God and in the knowledge of self. The specific avenue for exploring growing in the knowledge of God is discernment, and the specific avenue for exploring growing in the knowledge of self is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. The Spiritual Autobiography tells the story of the author’s personal journey of spiritual formation through the various revelations about God and self that the Lord has brought to his life. The Model of Spiritual Formation theorizes that growing in the knowledge of self can help us to hear from and know God better through discernment, thus aiding in our spiritual formation. The Research Project tested one aspect of the Model with a small group of congregants from Meadow Brook Church in Leamington, ON, and demonstrated an effective process of discernment for the participants. The conclusion of this Research Portfolio is that growing in the knowledge of self can help us to grow in the knowledge of God, which will aid us in our spiritual formation.

Deep Roots in Christ: An Exploration of Spiritual Formation Through Habits in College Ministry

Author
John L Miller IV D.Min.
Abstract
In this Research Portfolio, the author examines the role of habits and rituals in spiritual formation. The specific focus of the work is on the potential impact of ancient spiritual practices in the lives of contemporary students at an undergraduate institution. The author presents this topic through three primary movements. First, the author explores aspects of his personal spiritual journey through an autobiographical chapter. These reflections introduce the author’s call to ministry and share some foundational thoughts on spiritual formation as both key turning points and habits that ignite and sustain such experiences. Second, the author develops an organic framework for spiritual formation through habits focused on the image of a healthy tree. The model builds upon John Wesley’s Means of Grace and James K.A. Smith’s work on habits. Finally, the author reports on a research project where he invites current undergraduate students at Houghton College to participate in the practice of Lectio Divina to better understand the potential impact of habits on spiritual formation with contemporary college students. The research suggests that habits and ancient spiritual practices are indeed reliable pathways to experiencing God’s love for the contemporary undergraduate student.

A THIRTY-ONE DAY SPIRITUAL GROWTH EXERCISE AT SYRACUSE ALLIANCE CHURCH TO HELP CHRISTIANS KNOW AND EXPRESS THE LOVE OF GOD

Author
Brian Rathbun D.Min.
Abstract
The “Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise” was developed because it was essential at Syracuse Alliance Church in Syracuse, New York to develop the Great Commandment environment in order for the church to more effectively fulfill the Great Commission.

The Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise was developed to focus the people of the church for thirty-one consecutive days on loving God with all their being and expressing their love for God by loving others as themselves. A series of five messages from 1 John was preached over five consecutive Sunday mornings. Thirty-one “Love One Another” devotionals were developed and then distributed daily. People were challenged to memorize one key Love One Another scripture verse per week for five weeks. They were asked to make one brief journal entry per week for five weeks to reflect on what God was teaching them about loving Him and others.

At the end of the exercise three Focus Groups, a women’s group, a men’s group, and an elders group, were convened to gather feedback on the impact of the project. The feedback from these groups indicated that the exercise engaged a large percentage of people in the church and helped them take a step to enhance the Great Commandment environment. The Focus Groups provided valuable information for how to improve the various aspects of the exercise and proved invaluable for the development and implementation of any spiritual growth exercise at any church.

Leading a congregation to spiritual rest through a ministry of daily devotions and journaling

Author
Samuel Park
Abstract
This project sought to bring an ethic of spiritual rest based on biblical concepts of Sabbath and abiding in Jesus to a busy, overworked congregation in the suburbs of New York City through the practical exercise of daily devotions and reflective journal writing. Various teams were organized to produce a forty-day devotional and use it as the basis for journaling throughout Lent. Survey responses and interviews show that the experience of a majority of people who were on this contemplative journey found a sense of rest, peace and God’s purpose in their lives.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Rediscovering lament : a five week study to help recover a lost practice of the faith

Author
Mark N. J. Charles
Abstract
Knowledge and understanding of biblical lament has been all but lost in the 21st century western church. This loss is a costly one. What kind of engagement with sermons, liturgies, and bible study will help 21st century western Christians recover this lost practice? In this project, the author outlines a five week study experience designed to introduce participants to lament, and help them experience it using bible study, responsive prayer, bibliodrama, and song. Participants from five churches took part in the program. Their responses suggest that rediscovering lament is both possible and needed.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Co-creators with God : enhancing spirituality through visual art

Author
Mark L. Barden
Abstract
The visual arts are instrumental in enriching Christian spirituality. This project engaged participants through videos, discussions, devotions, presentations, experiential activities and a field trip, to enable them to embrace visual arts to deepen their spirituality. The author designed and implemented a multi-week course, including a video series, for participants to explore the connection between their spirituality and the visual arts. The results indicated a positive impact prompting changes for growth by each participant in utilizing the visual arts as a spiritual discipline.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Towards a Reformed Evangelical Program of Spiritual Formation at Ryle Seminary, Ottawa

Author
Shaun Minett Turner D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio the author seeks to articulate a form of reformed-evangelical spiritual formation and apply it to ministry formation training in both military and civilian ministry training contexts. The author sees spiritual formation as stripping off the old self and putting on the new self by looking to Jesus. Research is presented which shows that this formation often leads to greater resilience in ministry and life, as well as an increased awareness of, and dependence on, God’s sovereign grace, leading to a deeper sense of discerning God’s voice every day. The author used three parts: a personal spiritual autobiography, a model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition, and a field research project using appreciative inquiry to develop an integrated spiritual formation program at a reformed-evangelical seminary in Ottawa, Canada. The author was successful in using an appreciative approach to engage the students of the Seminary to design a program that was accepted by an expert panel of school administration, denominational leadership, and student leadership. This research portfolio provides both a practical model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition and a means of tailoring this model, through appreciative inquiry, to specific contexts.

Finding Peace in Union with Christ through the Practice of Contemplation

Author
Gary W Brouwers
Abstract
Believers in Jesus exist in a powerful unsion with the ecodn person of the Trinity. Through this union, believers have access to everything that Jesus is, including the ability to expereince peace regardless of circumstances. This thesis examinded how a growing awreness of one's union with Jesus affects one's experience of anxiety. Using a mixed method phenomenological study, 46 participants spent increasingly longer periods of time contemplating on thier union with Christ. Anxiety levels were tested using pretexts and posttests of Beck's Anxiety Indicator (BAI). Participants kept records of their experiences using Likert-style scales as well as written journals. Data from BAI, the individual records, and a focus group were triangulated and compared. The results indicated that anxiety levels were reduced in 63 percent of participants. In addition , the data revealed common themes among the experiences of the participants, including strong expressions of God's love, continuing effects of peace beyond the period of contemplation and an appreciation for the structure and accountability of the project. In addition, most participants reported experiences of frustration and confusion as they attempted to spend time in contemplation.

FROM ASHES RISE AGAIN: SPIRITUAL IDENTITY BASED RESILIENCY

Author
Charles Christopher Mason D.Min.
Abstract
The focus of this project was to consider the question of how to build and maintain resiliency. While the project was developed and implemented for chaplains in a health care system, the principles of spiritual identity based resiliency may be an answer for others looking for ways to be more resilient. Spiritual identity based resiliency at its core is a focus on understanding one’s personal value, meaning and purpose as a way to cope and be resilient in stressful and anxious situations. The project was designed to inform participants of the importance of orienting their lives on the basis of their spiritual identity, this is the means of being able to manage external and internal influential pressures that distort or confuse understanding of value, meaning and purpose. The result of a lack of focus on value, meaning and purpose is a lack of resiliency and may eventually lead to burnout.

CHRISTIAN CHARACTER FORMATION PROGRAM FOR PASTORS AND LEADERS IN SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA

Author
Diego Chuyma D.Min.
Abstract
Pastors and Christian leaders are supposed to be Christ-like in character as the Scriptures indicate, but this does not always happen. Christ-like character formation is a lifelong process, of course, but specific steps can be taken to engage in this process of transformation. The purpose of this project is to develop, teach, and evaluate a Christian character formation program for pastors and Christian leaders in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The philosophical, theological, and biblical foundations of Christian character formation are reviewed. A Christ-like character formation program was developed and implemented. A focus group of pastors and Christian leaders was organized to test the effectiveness of this program. Pastors and leaders in this study developed a conviction that Christ-like character formation is possible, their relationship with God deepened, and they were willing to practice spiritual disciplines with the purpose of developing Christ-like character. This study reveals a need for mind renewal, heart transformation, and body subjection under spiritual disciplines to begin developing a Christ-like character.
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