United States

Creating a Narrative Empathy Among Southern Baptist Leaders: Shaping a New Perception of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and Jihad

Author
Charles Wesley Powell Dr. D.Min.
Abstract
The Southern Baptist denomination is the largest Protestant religious group in the United States. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 there has been an increase of negative rhetoric among Southern Baptists towards Muslims. This thesis-project asks to what extent a lack of narrative empathy towards Muslims can be altered in the life of the Southern Baptist leader thus enabling the leader, consequently the denomination, to better understand and communicate the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as embodiments of spiritual discipline and peaceful living. The theoretical framework and in-depth qualitative interviews provide invaluable insights into the dynamics and use of anti-Islamic rhetoric among Southern Baptists. Concrete strategies of action are proposed, such as strategic personal encounters between Southern Baptists and Muslims which when combined with a better understanding of Islam can help uncover the Southern Baptist denominations preconceived prejudices and misunderstandings of Islam that so often hinder constructive dialogue. This project has crucial practical implications that has not yet received scholarly attention.

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.

Let all Who Are Hungry Come and Eat - "In Good Faith": Intentional Interreligious Encounter and the Spirit of Hospitality

Author
Chava Stacie Bahle D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores participant experiences in a long-term Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue program. Examined through the theological quests for truth, love and peace, participants reflected on their experiences, placing those experiences in conversation with sacred texts and images from their home traditions. T'shuvah, the Jewish theological act of turning toward the holy, is explored as a transtemporal, liberative and conciliatory gesture, through which the program might create change in the participants' sense of self and other. Reflective storytelling as a method is explored in depth.
The author theorizes that t’shuvah did in fact occur, according to participant interviews. T’shuvah in an interreligious dialogue setting may occur in part because of: the phenomenon of multiple “Us-es,” according to the neurobiology theories of Robert Sapolsky; contact theories through dialogue; and the structure of gatherings proposed by Priya Parker. Ethical considerations of intentional interreligious engagement, especially historical wounds and vulnerability, are also discussed.
The thesis-project used semi-structured, one on one interviews, and applied a novel, four step Jewish theological reflection method conceived by the author: p’shat, thick descriptions of “what happened”; d’rash, placing those experiences in dialogue with sacred texts and images; t’shuvah, how the experiences may have created individual and cosmic repair among the dialogue partners; and k’dushah, exploring whether and how participation in the program translated into action in the world outside the program. Framing the interviews through the lens of “participant as storyteller” is explored in detail as a potential contribution to sacralizing the lived experience of the program.
The rich imageries of shared ancestry, meeting at table, fellow travelers and learning in the presence of the other inform the conclusion that the intentional interreligious engagement of this program may create tikkunim (repairs) in both individual and group to group relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

When prophets speak to kings: Air Force chaplains and the praxis of leadership advisement

Author
Glen E. Harris Jr.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand how Air Force chaplains advise superior military leaders on religious and ethical matters. Specifically, the qualitative research addressed what informs Air Force chaplains’ understanding of leadership, what Air Force chaplains do as they advise military leaders, what challenges are faced by Air Force chaplains in advising leaders, and how Air Force chaplains evaluate their own effectiveness in advising military leaders.
The findings were, first, that Air Force chaplains develop their understanding of leadership advisement primarily through experience. Some rely on the theological concepts of pastoral identity to buttress their experience, but years of trial and error in the core capability is the dominant path. Furthermore, chaplains rely on a nexus of communication and collaboration with the senior leaders they advise. And they adopt an approach inclusive of both data and relationship, with the latter being paramount. They also see spiritual care and leadership advisement as being two closely interrelated acts of pastoral ministry. Next, the challenges that Air Force chaplains face in advisement involve primarily power differentials and information fidelity. Finally, chaplains evaluate their effectiveness in leadership advisement in terms of building healthy organizational climates and building trust with senior leaders, even while struggling with questions of ineffectiveness and self-doubt.
The study provided three primary conclusions. First, chaplains would benefit from scenario-based coursework early in their careers to jettison the trend of experience-only development in advising leaders. Second, integrating emotional intelligence into the corporate ethos of the Air Force Chaplain Corps synergizes future success in leadership advisement by giving chaplains the boldness and courage to wield a pastoral and yet prophetic voice. Third, for a chaplain to lead a senior leader with advisement that is both on target and on time, they must first be skilled followers or “second chair leaders”.

UnderANDING

Author
J A T
Abstract
There is a documented need for caring education regarding patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for nursing students and nursing staff. The autism spectrum population is increasing, one in 59 children in the United States as reported by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network (as cited in Baio et al., 2018). Nurses are expected to provide appropriate care, showing respect and understanding at all times to both the client and family. Through lack of knowledge and misunderstanding the ASD population has not been given this care. Based on Watson’s Theory of Caring, an educational ASD caring program was created for a summer session Family Nurse Practitioner assessment class. This educational program provided basic knowledge of ASD and appropriate communication skills for caregivers, guided by caring science concepts. Using the Caring Factor Survey-Care Provider Version, Short Version (CFS-CPV) by Nelson, Thiel, Hozak, and Thomas (2016), and the Autism Knowledge Survey-Revised (AKS-R) by Swiezy, Stuart, and Ashby (2005), student perceived ability to care and student knowledge of ASD were measured. Nursing curriculums and continuing education offerings should include knowledge related to working with special populations, such as those with communication disorders. Nursing practice guided by caring science principles help nurses to build authentic relationships with patients and families resulting in better health outcomes. THIS WAS PLACED IN INCORRECT LOCATION. PLEASE DISMISS. Thank you.

MULTIETHNIC AND MISSIONAL: GOD’S HEART FOR AN INTEGRATED AND DIVERSE CHURCH

Author
Justin Hiebert D.Min.
Abstract
The American church is largely segregated and homogenous. This has not only stunted the growth of the church but led to an ineffective and limited mission vision. The contemporary American church must reclaim the biblical mandate to be both ethnically diverse and missionally minded. Through a qualitative research methodology this research project focuses on creating a healthy and sustainable multiethnic identity and leadership structure. Through interviewing and visiting some of the leading multiethnic churches of the Central Valley of California, the researcher lays out a clear understanding and argument for multiethnic churches. This paper examines the book of Acts, interviewing insights from key pastoral leaders, and provides a key table and summary of actionable next steps.
The insights from the book of Acts reveals that God’s original intent for the church is to be both multiethnic and missional. Contemporary literature highlights the necessary traits and qualities for healthy and sustainable leadership. Finally, interviews with leaders engaged in ministry show the foundational attitudes and characteristics leaders must possess to lead their churches through a successful transition to multiethnic.
For leaders engaging in multiethnic ministry, there are five key leadership characteristics that they must practice: humility, personal holistic health, community engagement, an intentionality in seeking out different voices, and a celebration of diversity.

A Phenomenology of Authentic Leadership

Author
Joshua James Tilley D.Min.
Abstract
Objective: To grasp the characteristics and essence of authentic leadership as seen and experienced through the lives of those who have served under and/or over those they perceive and identify as “authentic” or “high quality” leaders.

Method: A literary review and a biblical review were conducted to establish the current scholarship related to authentic leadership. A new phenomenological study was conducted in October of 2018. 12 individuals were interviewed either in person, by phone, or via a video chat.
Results: The result was a literary study, a biblical review, and a new phenomenological study of authentic leadership.

Conclusions: Through the phenomenology and subsequent qualitative research, the researcher came to the conclusion that authentic leadership is provided, felt, and acted upon in different ways by different people in different cultures, but the one universal essence of authentic leadership is the paradox of “relief” and “peace” preceded by a sense of “anxiety” and “pressure,” which is provoked within the follower by the leader. Trust is built through the process.
A model of existential peace is offered to demonstrate this meaning, but no model for creating an authentic leadership is presented as a phenomenology does not provide the groundwork needed to establish such a theory. All cultures represent leadership in different ways, so further research would need to be conducted to create such a model.

Narratives Church: A Missional Church Planting Path for Cultivating a Unified Theological Vision

Author
Mark Miller D.Min.
Abstract
This research project focused on the development of a unified theological vision for the missional movement. The researcher conducted a thorough investigation of Scripture and current biblical material in order to discern the barriers existing within the missional movement. The researcher looked at key areas that shape the missional church planting movement: leadership development, theological interpretation of the early church, church planting methods and practice, ecclesiology, and the application and interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Four church planting organizations participated: North American Mission Board, Acts 29 Network, Association of Related Churches, and Converge Worldwide. A questionnaire given to each movement revealed that there is indeed a disconnect from one movement to the next in terms of areas mentioned above.

Awana Together: Empowering Parents as Spiritual Mentors for Their Children

Author
Sara-Jane Heacox Sosa D.Min.
Abstract
The post-Christian culture in the United States presents a significant challenge to the spiritual growth of adults and children. At Plymouth Covenant Church, ministry leaders recognized that young parents often lacked a biblical foundation. Many did not feel competent to lead their children spiritually. These parents needed a vibrant personal faith as well as good role models. As a result, ministry leaders designed a more effective way to empower parents as spiritual mentors for their children. They created a new ministry that would provide personal faith development for parents, a supportive faith community, family-focused programming, and solid biblical teaching. This new ministry was a family version of Awana that they called Awana Together.

The problem that this project addressed was the need for a family ministry model at Plymouth Covenant Church that fostered a partnership between the church and families that empowered parents as spiritual mentors for their children. It used an intrinsic case study approach to evaluate Plymouth Covenant’s unique ministry, Awana Together, to determine if it provided a pathway for a better partnership between the home and the church in empowering parents as spiritual mentors. The research included evaluations of biblical passages and current scholarship, surveys of past and present Awana Together participants, focus group discussions with ministry leaders, and in-depth questionnaire responses from three different families. The research revealed that Awana Together was successfully designed to meet the goal of empowering parents as spiritual mentors for their children.

Preaching APEST: Observing a sermon series, based on Ephesians 4, as a means of beginning to plant a vision in a local congregation

Author
David Taylor Averill D.Min.
Abstract
A prior study of a congregation in Winter Haven, Florida revealed an overlap in perceived, ideal qualities of clergy and lay leaders of the church. However, these qualities were limited to exclusively shepherding and teaching roles. Through preaching a 5-week sermon series, this project began to shape a vision of shared ministry and leadership in this local church among clergy and laity alike. The series used the APEST model of Ephesians 4, taken from the missional hermeneutic of Alan Hirsch. The project assessed the emergence of an inchoate understanding of the missional imperative through ethnographic data, gathered in a sermon roundtable, and surveys collected congregationally.
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