Bible--Epistles of Paul

FOOD, FAITH, AND FILM: Cultivating a spirituality of Hospitality in a Presbyterian Congregation.

Author
Robert Elliot Martin D.Min.
Abstract
Welcoming strangers into a home and offering them food, shelter, and protection were historically key components in the practice of hospitality. Many consider the church to be a home. How do we extend welcome and hospitality to those in our context? In this paper, I link the power of storytelling in film to developing a theology of hospitality. To share meals with strangers is one of the most powerful and practical things we can do to help the church shape a more just and hospitable spirituality. Through film, the study of scripture, prayer practices, and table discussions, can we link our present and future faith practices to a theology of hospitality? A final analysis will allow us to begin clarifying what effective and transformative practices of hospitality in the name of Christ looks like.

TRAINING CHURCH MEMBERS FOR PERSONAL EVANGELISM IN A SECULAR POST-CHRISTIAN CONTEXT

Author
Gavin Perkins D.Min.
Abstract
The author’s chief goal in this project was to produce and pilot a useful and effective resource in training believers in personal evangelism. Although he conducted the field work during COVID-19 lockdowns and disruption that goal was substantially achieved.

Biblical study, theological reflection, and sociological insights formed the foundation for the author’s development of the training course. That research shaped a congregational survey regarding attitudes to personal evangelism, which in turn fed into an expert sample of ministry leaders and evangelistic trainers. In the light of these inputs the author wrote and piloted a four-week evangelistic training course. Course participant responses enabled the author to make a preliminary assessment regarding the effectiveness of the training course.

The author then suggested a trajectory along which he could develop the course, and supplement it with additional support and resources. He also mapped out a ministry plan for the construction of an evangelistic ecosystem within a local church, incorporating an adapted version of the piloted course alongside additional groups and further input.

The needs identified in this project regarding evangelistic training were greater than could be met in a short four-week course, but the author identified sufficient reasons for confidence that, alongside further ministry inputs, such a course could play a vital part in shifting a church’s culture in a more evangelistic direction.

Developing a Pastor-Led Model Using a Text-Driven Invitation for the Effective Equipping of Decision Counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, Texas

Author
Teddy Wayne Sorrells Jr D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to train decision counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, TX to counsel church attenders who have responded to a text-driven invitation issued at the end of a sermon. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of Living Water Church and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides the biblical precepts that call for a response to every sermon preached and the necessary need to recruit and equip others to help during this time of response. Chapter 3 explains why and how text-driven sermons call for a response and presents a model for text-driven preachers to equip decisions counselors. Chapter 4 presents the project and its methodology. Chapter 5 will evaluate the results of the project through a complete analysis of the specific goals completed. This project will develop a pastor-led model using a text-driven invitation for the effective equipping of decision counselors.

THE INDICATIVE / IMPERATIVE CONSTRUCT IN PAUL’S WRITINGS AS A PASTORAL TOOL FOR SPIRITUAL FORMATION

Author
Christopher Allen Oliveri D.Min.
Abstract
A distorted view of the gospel leads to distorted Christian lives. This is particularly true when believers try to live the Christian life without an awareness of what the gospel says about their union with Christ. In this condition they become vulnerable to two grave spiritual dangers legalism and licentiousness. The Indicative / Imperative construct can bring clarity and help against the debilitating effects of these two detrimental spiritual conditions. This construct is found especially in the Pauline epistles (Eph. 4:1ff.; Rom. 12:1ff.) as the Apostle boldly declares to the recipients who they are in Christ (indicative) and then how they must live anew on the basis of this new spiritual identity (imperative).

This project utilized qualitative research techniques to explore the use of the Indicative / Imperative Construct as a pastoral tool for spiritual formation. The researcher preached a series of seven sermons highlighting the Indicative / Imperative construct in the writings of Paul. A focus group of twelve participants gathered weekly following each sermon. A pre and post focus group survey was utilized along with weekly homework assignments. A group interview was conducted during the eighth and final focus group gathering. Four weeks after the final focus group meeting, each participant took part in an individual interview. A trained participant observer recorded field notes throughout each focus group session. These notes, in combination with the researcher’s observational notes, provided a multilayered data set for evaluation as the project progressed.

After evaluating the data results, trends towards spiritual growth in connection with a deepening grasp of the Indicative / Imperative Construct became apparent in the lives of several project participants. There were other trends in the data that were not overwhelmingly conclusive however, the researcher learned several lessons from this project that will impact his ministry for years to come.

Equipping Rural Pastors in Zimbabwe to Practice John Owen’s Discipline of Mortifying Sin in Their Daily Life

Author
Stephen Douglas Skinner ThM
Abstract
This project introduced John Owen’s biblical discipline of mortifying sin to twenty-five rural pastors in Zimbabwe. These pastors serve the Lord in regions that limit their access to training and biblical resources. Through the implementation of Owen’s, The Mortification of Sin in the Life of the Believer, these men learned the biblical discipline of daily fighting against the tendency of catering to their residual sin. After they thoroughly read Owen’s work, and signed an agreement to participate letter, an assessment of their spiritual health was made and evaluated through the completion of a spiritual health survey. This was followed by attending a 32-hour seminar, where each man received a conference book. The material had been abridged and edited into a ten-session format. The course was taught at the Peniel Training Center in Hope Fountain, Zimbabwe. At the conclusion of the course, each pastor was asked to summarize this experience in an essay, and each received a certificate of completion.

FOSTERING A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM AT GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH THAT AFFECTS CONVERSION GROWTH

Author
Philip Schenck D.Min.
Abstract
There are high expectations that a church plant grow by seeing people come to faith in Christ. Such seems to be the expectation placed upon every church plant, as evidenced in literature and conferences and denominational leaders. Experience has not born out what the church anticipated in terms of multiple and regular conversion growth. Academic research, interviews, surveys and focus groups were utilized to understand evangelism and outreach as a whole and as it pertains to the local church that was the focus of this project. Attempt has been made to determine and suggest a response or series of responses that might aid the church in its evangelistic effectiveness. Church members indicated a desire to see the church grow by conversion, but raised concerns about individual preparedness, the need for training, and overcoming fear. Community members raised questions and shared expectations of local churches and church leadership. An overall need for pastoral leadership in the area of evangelism was highlighted. The strategic plan for evangelism and outreach seeks to address the areas of concern and focus that came to light as a result of the research and study, the surveys and interviews undertaken, and conversations with members of church leadership. Is has sought to address needs represented and stated by church and community, leaves opportunity for further study and innovation and invites the involvement of every ministry team and every individual in the church.

KINDLING DELIGHT IN GOD: MINISTERING TO THE SPIRITUAL AFFECTIONS IN A SMALL RURAL CHURCH

Author
Nathan Edwards D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to discover effective ministry methods for cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of followers of Jesus to nurture stronger affections of love, delight, and desire for God.

The author built the theological basis of the project from both Old Testament and New Testament passages that describe the role of affections such as love, delight, and desire, as well as anger and sadness in the lives of God’s people.

Jonathan Edwards, especially the Religious Affections, was part of the key literature the author drew from, looking also at a brief theological history around the theme of affections leading up to Edwards, with special attention on the Puritans. The author considered more recent spiritual formation literature regarding affections and spiritual disciples that nurture them in light of Edwards’s legacy.

The author conducted field research with ten participants around a series of eight meetings, utilizing a combination of biblically-based teaching curriculum and practical experiences of spiritual disciplines. Some adjustments were made for the COVID-19 health crisis.

The author identified meditating on God’s creation and candid spiritual conversations between followers of Jesus as the two most consistently effective disciplines for nurturing spiritual affections. Fasting also had a notable impact, especially associated with protracted time focused exclusively on God. The responses to biblical meditation, including scripture memorization and lectio divina, had a mixed reception from different participants. Participant responses highlight the importance of building the believer’s affection for God on God’s love for the believer and of finding expressions of adoration appropriate to the believer. The author concluded with some suggestions for implementing spiritual disciplines in the author’s congregation.

Indigenous African Demonic Deliverance and its Transference into Pentecostalism with Subsequent Refining: Ghana and its Diaspora as a Case Study

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract

This paper examines how the traditional Ghanaian worldview has been contextualized by grass-roots Christians in Ghana, and further by Ghanaian Pentecostals, and how this has been exported, adapted, and refined from Ghana across national and continental lines to its diaspora. I hope to address some key questions regarding Ghanaian deliverance practices (at home and abroad) and integrate my findings into ministry, whether to Africans or anyone. Some of these questions include: “What drives Ghanaians to seek deliverance? How have they, historically, sought to deal with the spirit realm? How do they currently seek to deal with it? What are some of the differences between a traditional Ghanaian understanding and that of a Ghanaian Pentecostal view?”

A Mentoring Program for Pastoral Interns at Calvary Baptist Church, Watertown, WI

Author
Robert Loggans D.Min.
Abstract
The rationale for this project emerged from a significant need to encourage, promote, develop and train young men preparing for pastoral ministry in the local church setting. While the college and seminary classroom experience is of great value, the practical application of such knowledge under the tutelage of an experienced pastor helps to complete the preliminary preparation for pastoral ministry.

God's call to pastoral ministry is unique and individualized; the call to serve is a call to prepare. The Apostle Paul invested much time in his young protégé Timothy. Paul eventually gave the following characterization of Timothy, "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." (Philippians 4:20KJV)

This project (1) states the purpose of investing in those preparing for pastoral ministry, (2) provides theological and Biblical rationale for internships, (3) looks at and considers contemporary literature on internships and mentoring, (4) explains the design and methodology used in the project, (5) develops a narrative of the course of the project, (6) And shares the outcomes and suggestions for intentional mentoring internships in the local church setting.

Several significant findings indicate that internships are vitally important in preparing for pastoral ministry. Those preparing for pastoral ministry often desire an experienced pastor to make a significant investment in their lives. I have found that many pastors deeply desire to share their life and ministry experiences with those who are younger. Mentoring takes time, flexibility and understanding as each individual preparing for pastoral ministry is special and unique. It is a delightful privilege and joy to have part in preparing students for ministry.

Applying the Principles Taught in the Emotionally Healthy Church Through a Discipleship Workshop of Christians Within the A&D Biker Ministries Congregation

Author
Ralph L. Scherer D.Min.
Abstract
Making disciples was part of Christ’s commission to his Church. Historically, the focus of Christian discipleship has been to produce greater spiritual health and maturity. Author Pete Scazzero, in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, offers a paradigm of discipleship that promises to also produce greater emotional health and maturity. This project sought to test the validity of this discipleship paradigm, by teaching and utilizing the principles of The Emotionally Healthy Church in an extended discipleship workshop process with 20-30 adult Christians within our congregation. The process included an anonymous survey, Nominal Group Technique, multiple workshop teaching / learning sessions, a preaching series on these principles and individual follow-up interviews.
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