Bible--Acts

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.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Author
Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
Abstract
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.

GUIDELINES FOR MOBILIZING CHINESE BI-VOCATIONAL KINGDOM WORKERS FOR THE NEWLY OPENING BELT ROAD COUNTRIES

Author
R. Strickler D.Min.
Abstract
The project set out to discover guidelines for how to best prepare Chinese bi-vocational Kingdom Workers to work and live missionally wherever God leads them. Of particular interest to the emerging missions candidates from China are Muslim peoples spread throughout the countries aligned with the emerging Belt Road Initiative.

A review of international marketplace ministry and business as mission practices was undertaken. The project research focuses on a sample of existing Chinese-led Business as Mission enterprises. Interviews were conducted with ten different Chinese executives or owners, located in seven different countries, including China proper.

Information on why companies chose to locate in an area and how the leaders were prepared, was elicited. Some correlation was made as to how the Chinese BAM companies conduct their businesses compared to the international BAM movement.

There was convergence between the two streams, and at the same time several distinct issues and opportunities emerged for the preparation of future Chinese workers. Among these are: solid teaching on the theology of work for both candidates and senders; the need for life-on- life discipleship training prior to going out; for those inexperienced in BAM or marketplace ministry, the recommendation for apprenticeship with an existing company prior to being deployed; and, the opportunity for Chinese BAM companies to capitalize on emerging green technologies.

The findings from these interviews provides material that will be used by the writer, his agency, and partners, in the preparation of bi-vocational Kingdom Workers. This will help new appointees they are coaching to live and work most effectively as they answer the call to go to unreached peoples in the newly opened Belt Road countries.

The Baptized Community: Community Formation as Seen through Anglican Baptismal Ecclesiology
and the Liturgical Practice of Morning Prayer

Author
Kyle Norman D.Min.
Abstract
Beginning with The Book of Common Prayer, the first version of which was published in 1549, Anglicans have mediated their spirituality through participation in a common spiritual life. This is to say, formation toward Christlikeness is not to be understood as an individualized process whereby the individual grows in Christlikeness in an isolated and privatized manner. Rather, formation toward Christlikeness is a Spirit-led process that primarily occurs within the community of faith. The baptismal community is the very context of Christlike formation. This portfolio looks at communal formation through three, integrated components. Firstly, communal formation, along with its various components and nuances, will be described through an appeal to the Anglican baptismal liturgy. Secondly, scenes from the author’s own autobiography will serve to illustrate how communal formation may be practically experienced. Lastly, the author’s own research into the practice of Morning Prayer will highlight the importance of shared liturgy within communal formation. The portfolio argues that one is not formed individually, rather one is called to participate in the formation of the community. This is seen as occurring through immersion in shared liturgy, embodied action, and evangelistic mission.

Disciple-making: Key Ingredients for Building God’s Kingdom

Author
Sidney Wes Emory Sr D.Min.
Abstract
The first century Church was founded in response to the disciple-making processes of Jesus. His disciples were transformed by following Jesus in a way that obedience, transformation, community, education, worship, and the expansion of God’s kingdom became the central themes of their lives.
This study addressed the need to understand the disciple-making process found in Scripture in a way that will yield the results that are found in the Book of Acts primarily those found in Acts 2:42-47.
Christian churches of every denomination, tradition, model, and size have been called to make disciples. The Scripture, literature, interviews, and surveys researched in this project were designed to discover transferrable suggestions that could focus all believers on the results of following the plans of God to build his kingdom using the process of disciple-making.
The results of the project revealed that the key to building the kingdom of God is found in the practices and plans of the ultimate disciple-maker, Jesus. It recommends having the correct mindset in of making disciples a part of everyday life, creating a deeper understanding of the worship of God, living relationally connected to other people in a process of becoming more like Christ, and focusing on God first in everyday life

The Training, Role and Professional Development of a Confessional Lutheran Lay Diaconate

Author
Michael Morehouse D.Min.
Abstract
The Training, Role and Professional Development of a Confessional Lutheran Lay Diaconate
What was the biblical basis, history, tradition, and practice of a Lay Diaconate in confessional Lutheran congregations? How had such served the Church? A Lay Diaconate has been trained and utilized in congregations of Southern Arizona for nearly three decades. Its officeholders were locally trained, primarily by Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod pastors. This project’s purpose, therefore, was to study that which was in place and to develop exportable teaching resources. It produced and included two courses: “Diaconal Ministry,” and “Visitation of Sick and Shut-ins.” It provided two Lay Diaconate apologetics brochures and a historical time-line of changes to the diaconate

Incorporating giving as an integral part of worship at Blessed Harvest Institute of Charlotte, North Carolina

Author
Brian Gerard Fite
Abstract
Giving is one of the most effective forms of worship we have available to us, but it has become the most exploitive and misunderstood element of the worship service. The methods and language used to frame giving within worship have led to exploitation resulting in unwillingness to wholeheartedly participate in giving as an element of worship. The literature addressing giving and the biblical interpretations are lacking in accurately speaking to the issues that arise in applying Old and New Testament scripture to address giving as an element of worship. There are a growing number of articles attempting to address the covetous nature involved in the methods and language used in inviting people to give to God. This work evaluated the giving practice in Blessed Harvest Institute by evaluating some Old and New Testament scriptures and determining how the interpretations are to be applied in the methods and language used to frame the giving experience in the worship service. Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Malachi 3, Acts 3-5, 2 Corinthians 8-9, and other scriptures were used to understand the methods and language of giving biblically. Giving is to be a freewill expression of worship executed in an environment of liberty. It is necessary to reframe the concept of tithing not to be an obligation but a personal choice to express worship to God. Any prompting will remove worship from giving. Worship is a free expression that must be voluntary; therefore, giving must be voluntarily expressed, not grudgingly, by compulsion or of necessity, in order to be an element of worship.

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.

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.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? EFFECTIVE PREACHING IN A POST-CHURCH CULTURE

Author
Randall Dean Ahlberg D.Min.
Abstract
This project addressed the need for preaching principles that more effectively communicate to those living in the realities of our current cultural. In examining the sermons of the apostle Paul, it was evident that he significantly contextualized his message to his various audiences, demonstrating for all preachers the need to engage in not only good exegesis of the text but in good exegesis of the audience. The researcher attempted to gain a better understanding of the culture of the community surrounding his church in Andover, Minnesota and ways to communicate clearly to this culture. The primary tool used was a survey conducted at a community festival on church property. The survey was designed to measure the level of biblical knowledge of the participants and also to investigate the relationship between church attendance and the demonstrated levels of biblical knowledge. The assumption of the researcher was that preachers often assume their congregations know more than they do, and this assumption was proven to hold merit. Finally, in assessing the above information, a set of homiletical principles were developed that embrace both a commitment to biblical preaching and an awareness of the realities of post-church American culture. One of the conclusions of the author is that a neglected aspect of homiletics is our need to wrestle through the striking differences between oral and written communication styles. The preacher’s preparation must keep these dynamics in mind if he/she hopes to communicate the timeless truths of the Bible to a time-bound audience.
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