Bible--Corinthians II

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

Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
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.

Helping People to Experience Spiritual Healing of Painful Life Experiences

Brian Smilde D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry Major Project was intended to assess the extent to which people experience spiritual healing of past wounds through a series of small group gatherings focused on teaching and experiencing the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ.

The project began with identifying the biblical and theological foundation for Jesus healing people from their wounds—not only physical but also emotional or spiritual. Then examining what people in other disciplines—such as social science, counseling, and business—also think, believe and teach about healing or restoration from past wounds.

The intervention involved a small group of six participants experiencing a series of eight small group gatherings. They filled out a Pre-Group and Post-Group Questionnaire. After five small group gatherings of teaching, experiencing and praying, there were two Focus Groups which allowed the participants to share feedback about what they learned, experienced and thought.

The data from the two Questionnaires and the Focus Groups was analyzed in order to assess the effectiveness of these small group gatherings to lead participants toward the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ. The result of this analysis was that participants were helped to identify past wounds or traumas, they felt safe to share honestly and vulnerably with the other group participants, they felt that others responded with grace and empathy, and they reflectively and personally applied the teaching in ways that allowed them to experience Jesus release them from past pain.

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

Brian Gerard Fite
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.

An exploration from the Corinthian church on conflict resolution and authority building:
A God-glorifying pastoral practice.

This thesis explores the relationship of pastoral authority and conflict resolution in a way that will glorify God, along with the process of building up such pastoral authority. Paul’s letters to the Corinthian Church contain specific events that provide realistic and historical material on which to base theological concepts regarding the resolution of conflict and the exercise of pastoral authority. Therefore, the researcher utilizes the perspective of equal and unequal powers in an organizational structure to analyze the conflicts in the Corinthian church. The investigation of these Scriptures is based on the presupposition that pastoral authority in conflict resolution needs to attain a certain level of competency and practice in three specific fields: adhering to pure biblical positions, pursuing mature spiritual character, and possessing excellent leadership skills.

A study of the cohesive function of conflict as experienced in the first century Corinthian church

Terry L Figgins
The author investigates conflict in the life of the early church in order to determine whether or not conflict functioned cohesively for her at any point. The thesis was that the church lived out of the "peace" that Christ gave which included conflict in some instances. The method of study was to formulate a socilogical exegetical model of biblical exegesis, apply that model to two pericopes in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and develop a leadership Bible study emphasizing the cohesive functions of conflict discovered in the exegesis. The author identified several cohesive functions of conflict (following Lewis A Coser's lead) and noted their contemporary significance.

A research project using the long-term sermon planning model for preaching the book of Second Corinthians to stimulate spiritual growth in the congregation at Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Dallas, Pennsylvania

Jeffrey Hinds
This research project utilized a strategy for increasing the spiritual growth in the congregation at Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Dallas, Pennsylvania. A long-term sermon plan was developed and implemented using the book of Second Corinthians to impact the believers at Fellowship Evangelical Church towards spiritual growth. An instrument was developed and used to pre-test and post-test participants in order to measure the effectiveness of the messages preached. Measurable areas of spiritual development were developed, incorporated didactically into the series, and stressed throughout the preaching series. The analysis of the post-test shows a measurable change in some areas of spiritual growth. The conclusion of this research project is that spiritual development in daily living can be measurably influenced in a congregation through long-term sermon preparation and delivery.
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