United States

Criteria for the Development of a Small Group Model for the Second Baptist Church Of Macaé

Ivis Costa Fernandes D.Min.
Many churches live in search of the new model of ecclesiastical functioning that will lead them to the proper care of the flock and to growth. Some varied from one model to the next, in an endless search. Others have been frustrated and are disappointed with the possibility of healthy growth. This is the reality of many churches regarding small group models. What will help churches to develop healthy small groups is a comprehensive understanding of the topic, from some essential perspectives.

The objective of the research was to identify criteria that would guide the Second Baptist Church of Macaé to build a new model of small group ministry suited to its reality and needs. The literature review pointed to six hypotheses of guiding criteria. From in-depth interviews with eight pastors and church leaders with strong small-group ministries, the hypotheses were confirmed.

The research concludes with a proposal of procedure for the implementation of the ministry in the church, as well as suggestions of themes for future studies, which can help in the deepening of practical questions of the research.

An Evaluation of the Major Key Factors Contributing to Marital Satisfaction of Korean American Couples Raising a Special Needs Child

Matthew B. Ahn D.Min.
This research was designed to answer the question “What are the major key factors contributing to marital satisfaction of Korean American couples raising a special needs child?” by examining the shared experiences expressed by three couples who enjoy satisfactory marriages. A popular myth holds that the marriages of most couples raising a special needs child end in divorce. However, numerous studies show this is not always the case; in fact, in many instances, raising a special needs child makes a couple’s marriages stronger. This study focused on researching and identifying key factors contributing to marital satisfaction among couples raising a special needs child. Previously, there has been little research done on this topic, a fact which inspired the researcher to look into this phenomenon. The discovery of these major factors will be helpful to couples raising special needs children, pastors, and marriage counselors.

To gather the necessary data for this study, three different methods were used. First, descriptive surveys were administered to discover qualified couples who fulfilled the established criteria. Second, the quantitative research method was employed through surveys that were used to identify key factors contributing to the marital satisfaction of the volunteering couples. Third, the qualitative research method was used through personal interviews with the selected couples to identify the major factors that contributed to their satisfaction in their marriages.

The results of this research support the association between marital satisfaction among Korean American couples raising a special needs child and communication, spirituality, and commitment. This study and its discoveries should provide valuable resources to pastors, leaders, and marriage counselors who are in a position to assist couples who struggle in their marriage while raising a special needs child.


William Hisker D.Min.
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.


In Southeast Missouri, where Catholics are a minority, the challenge of diminishing participation and reduced membership requires an intentional engagement of the inactive members and the unaffiliated within the community. Unfortunately, many members of the laity do not have the awareness or skills to evangelize. In a rural community, the challenges seem more significant due to limited personnel and resources. This thesis project aims to equip the laity with the skills and tools to evangelize inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated. It will involve growing in prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, and the discernment of their charisms. With the benefit of social media engagement like Facebook live stream, an opportunity to engage and evangelize is available for our rural parish community. The resources from experienced lay evangelists in evangelization and social media engagement will provide a template that can enhance the development of a program on evangelization for my rural parish community. To test the effectiveness of these resources, seventeen participants engaged in a nine-week program to learn how prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, the discernment of their charisms, and teamwork can prepare them for evangelization. This thesis engaged the inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated in rural Southeast Missouri by using Facebook live stream as an evangelization tool. The focus of this project is thus reminding active Catholics of their responsibility to evangelize and how utilizing a familiar social media portal like Facebook can enhance the process even in a rural community.

Increasing Knowledge of the Doctrine of Salvation among Sunday School Participants at First Baptist Church Minden Louisiana

Stephen Duwayne Bradley D.Min.
This project seeks to help Baptists better understand soteriology by using the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a model to demonstrate how both Reformed and Arminian soteriological views can fit within the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and to be clear where there is disagreement. It is not appropriate to label Southern Baptists as Calvinists, or Arminians, as historically they fall somewhere between the two persuasions. While there is significant agreement on numerous facets, Baptists vary on elements of soteriology, and thus training lay people to understand these differences will cause less confusion and mitigate unnecessary division.

Chapter 1 introduces the basis for the research project; the thesis of the project, the goals, and the methodology.

Chapter 2 introduces biblical and theological foundations for the doctrine of salvation. This chapter presents exegetical interpretations of relevant biblical passages and theological material.

Chapter 3 provides historical information regarding Reformed/Arminian debate within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chapter 4 presents a recounting of the project including a 12-week study of the doctrine of salvation as presented by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Chapter 5 provides a short conclusion for the project and offers additional observations, and testimonials from the participants of the 12-week course. Suggestions for further study are also included.

Perfect Love Casts out Fear: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Person-Centered Disability Awareness Seminar in a Congregational Setting

Joshua H Jones D.Min.
People with disabilities and their families frequently experience barriers toward inclusion and belonging in multiple spheres of life. These barriers are also present in Christian congregations. However, many congregations express a godly desire to love people with disabilities and their families without these obstacles.

The Old and New Testaments provide examples of how God’s people sought to love people with disabilities in their midst creatively and intentionally in response to God’s gracious actions, invitation, and command. Recent research in disability studies routinely highlight the necessity of being attentive to the uniqueness of each person with disabilities and his or her family. Recent work in the realm of sanctification also encourages Christians to practice active righteousness and vocation with an emphasis upon loving specific neighbors.

In light of current research, this project attempted to better understand the effects of a person-centered disability awareness seminar about the pastor’s own child in a single congregation using a mixed methods approach. A pretest posttest design was used in the quantitative phase of the research utilizing the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons with Disabilities (MAS) to measure attitudes (N = 42). A focus group was used in the qualitative phase of research (N = 7). Results suggest a person-centered disability awareness seminar can be an effective way to improve attitudes and relational engagement in a congregational setting.


Akintoye Jeremiah Akintunde Rev. D.Ed.Min.
People often disregard the fact that the spiritual state of mind is greatly affected by what is happening in the physical. At times, depression results from exhaustion, anxiety, worry, and many bottled-up issues in people’s lives. People are depressed because they are unfulfilled in their careers, marital life, education, and plans. Unconfessed sin and wickedness of hearts can be the root cause of some depressive moods. When daily challenges become overwhelming and frustrating, people are spiritually drained and discouraged. What is needed for any individual struggling with a depressive mood is the Word of God through biblical counseling. Biblical counselors offer a compassionate heart and practical help through the biblical principles applied to the counselee’s life and situation.
Christians (church members) are not immune from depression because it is real and can be overcome and conquered through reliance on the Holy Spirit and appropriate biblical principles. Biblical counselors should always keep in mind a holistic perspective of human nature. God created human beings holistically – body, spirit, and soul. When one part suffers, every other part suffers with it. Psychology, philosophy, and psychoanalysis (or psychotherapy) are human theories and philosophies that can only last for a short time. The Word of God (Scripture) is authentic, inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative for counseling tasks and is superior to anything the world’s wisdom offers. The Scripture has the power to change life and turn around situations.
Regardless of the latest scientific discovery, research, and methodology, medical professionals still believe, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), that ‘mental disorders’ including depression fall into such “diagnostic criteria” with a collection of symptoms known as syndromes. A syndrome is simply a collection of symptoms that a person is experiencing.

The Role of the Family-Equipping Model in Church Planting and Replanting Training for the Calvary Family of Churches in Englewood, CO

Franklin Samuel Trimble D.Ed.Min.
This project focuses on the combined efforts of the family ministry movement and the replanting movement in equipping current and future planters and replanters in family ministry. In the project, the reader will be given biblical, theological, historical, and ecclesiological examples of what a healthy family ministry can look like. This project is meant to encourage and equip future and current ministers, especially those with few resources, as they seek to develop a healthy family ministry culture in their contexts. Churches can see healthy family ministry established in their midst regardless of the number of resources at their disposal.
Throughout the project, the reader is given biblical instruction regarding the primacy of parental discipleship in relation to the biblical instruction of children. This primacy is made even more specific when the project addresses the role of the husband and father in the home-discipleship process. The project then looks to Hebrews 3 & 10 to address the need for all ages of the church to meet regularly. Once the biblical and theological groundwork has been laid, the project then moves into a section in which the history of modern youth ministry is examined in contrast with the historical precedent of family worship. Ecclesiological matters are then discussed in detail such as the importance of intentionally limiting church calendars and the need for a plurality of elders that can lead a congregation in meaningful membership which then leads to accountable shepherding.

Equipping the Korean-American Families for Family Worship at Orange Canaan Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA

In the 120 years of Korean immigration to the United States, there has been a history of much hardship and loneliness associated with settling down in a strange land and living life as an immigrant. For many immigrants adjusting to life in the United States, in which their children have had to adjust to life in a whole new culture, it is often the case that they have not been able to pay much attention to their children's lives. Now, these parents face the problem of communicating to and discipling children that have grown up in a completely different language and culture—having been assimilated to the culture and having been educated in the United States growing up with a completely different set of values from their parents' generation. As such, problems and conflicts within Korean immigrant families in the United States continue to grow. For Christians, the problems they face often find their children leaving their homes and leaving their churches. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the Korean church in the United States.

Establishing a Biblical Marriage Mentorship Program at First Baptist Church in Midlothian, TX

Kevin Joseph Phillips D.Ed.Min.
The purpose of this project is to answer the question, “Would first-year married couples learn about and embrace a biblical foundation of marriage from a mentoring relationship built upon a curriculum focused on appropriate passages of Scripture?” The project will outline the biblical foundation of marriage and how first-year couples better can connect with that foundation through an intentional mentor relationship that leads them to a better understanding of four scriptural passages around marriage.
Chapter 1 introduces the problem, need, and purpose of the project. The thesis states that first-year married couples will show more commitment to the teachings of Scripture as a foundation to a lifetime of marriage after being mentored in a curriculum centered on those Scriptures.
Chapter 2 includes the biblical and theological foundations for developing a marriage mentor curriculum that will help first-year married couples understand why God established marriage. The theology of marriage, mentorship, and Christian education are treated in the chapter. This chapter also includes a review of related literature.
Chapter 3 details the writer’s goals, limitations, and plan for his project. The researcher will support the thesis statement and describe the process by which it was addressed through the project.
Chapter 4 explains in detail the writer’s formation of his workshop material. This chapter will give the reader an overview of the training material as well as the curriculum utilized in carrying out the couple-to-couple mentorship.
Chapter 5 provides a detailed evaluation demonstrating the results of the project implementation. The researcher related the research that supports the thesis statement through the results of the surveys taken by the newlywed couples.
Chapter 6 is a summary section. The researcher utilizes this chapter to give an overview of the project and gives examples of ways this project could be utilized in addition to the couple-to-couple mentorship.
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