Russell Hart D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry Project researched six pastors in Western North Carolina to see how they balance administrative duties and evangelistic efforts to produce a healthy church. The project began from my experience of pastoring three churches in the area and experiencing the struggles firsthand. It then looked into the Scriptures to understand the historical accounts and theology of administration and evangelism to comprehend the responsibilities of pastors. Further research was conducted from literature to evaluate what others say about the subject and if they have discovered this problem.

The data was collected through qualitative research of interviews with six pastors. The interviews were conducted with ten questions to discover how they balance administrative duties and evangelistic efforts as a pastor. The interviews were analyzed and synthesized from their experiences, theology, and literary viewpoints for the conclusions.

The research results showed a problem among pastors who have administrative demands on them because of the expectation of the congregation or the lack of others willing to take responsibility. The research also showed that evangelism efforts fail to reach the community because of the heavy administrative load of the pastor. The final results show, pastors that do have a balance, revamped or updated how administration is done, to simplify it for both him and the congregation. The process of updating the administration did require time for trust to build between the pastor and the congregation. The results prove a significant need for pastors and churches to work together to simplify the administration and intentionally reach the community with the gospel to produce a healthy church.

Healthy Church Planting in Mexico: An Analysis of Multiplication Network

Benjamin D. Meyer D.Min.
Through the ministry of the author in Mexico, over two thousand church planters were trained to start over one thousand new churches through the ministry of Resonate Global Mission in partnership with Multiplication Network and several denominations from 2010-2020. When these church planters were developed through the Multiplication Network’s recommended training program, the author desired to know to what extent can the new churches that were planted could be characterized as healthy congregations, kingdom communities, and reproducing organisms?

The author decided to study churches that had matured for approximately four years in order to answer this question. Starting with the total population of church planters who were trained and started new churches in 2016-2017, the author chose a random sample of them. He then surveyed and interviewed not only a percentage of those church planters, but also members of their four-year-old churches.

Factors were uncovered that often stood in the way of church realizing their full potential as healthy congregations, kingdom communities, and reproducing organisms, such as: antagonistic cultural forces in wider society and in the hearts of believers, navigating expectations with mother churches, getting derailed by daily pressures, and weak commitment. On the other hand, key beliefs, attitudes, and practices were unearthed that enabled some churches to become healthy congregations, kingdom communities, and—to a lesser extent—reproducing organisms, such as: seeing the local church as a family of faith, centering the life of the church on the Bible, praying for kingdom growth, desiring that non-believers receive salvation, serving sacrificially, and developing leadership potential in others.

Pastoring Evolving Faiths: Faith Deconstruction and Reconstruction in a Post-Evangelical Church

Stephen David Schmidt D.Min.
Faith deconstruction and reconstruction have become a religious cultural phenomenon in 21st century America. It is an experience lamented by conservative evangelical and fundamentalist leaders as a step toward apostasy. But deconstruction is also a vital practice of those seeking to retain an authentic spirituality while challenging the authoritative and often regressive doctrines and practices of their traditional church. The goal of faith reconstruction is a revitalized, more compassionate, progressive, and inclusive belief system; one that rejects ancient perspectives of an angry God and embraces a perspective of a more loving and gracious God.
The act of ministry at the heart of this doctoral thesis project was implementing the “Evolving Faiths Discussion Group” in an inter-denominational church in Norman, Oklahoma. The goal was to provide a “safe space” where Christians from fundamentalist and evangelical backgrounds could openly discuss their questions and doubts about the faith they inherited, and explore more palatable alternative theologies. The intent was to provide a regular place and time, resources, and fellow deconstructors to explore those concerns. The desired outcome was that the participants would continue faith exploration as a life-long journey, become comfortable with questions as normative of spiritual health, and experience an enhanced connection with God and the world (3Cs).
The project engaged in action research, and employed adapted elements from heuristic phenomenology and ethnography. The thesis examines a recent social history of the “Fall of American evangelicalism,” and the “Rise of the Spiritual But Not Religious.” It constructs a biblical defense of deconstruction, describes the implementation of the Discussion Group, presents an analysis of five core evangelical themes as they affected the participants with a composite summary of the group experience as a whole, and concludes with some pastoral reflections.

Developing a Biblical Response to the Providence of God and Natural Disasters at First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Mississippi

Wade Lee Ricks D.Min.
This project evaluated whether an introductory curriculum on the providence of God could equip a select group of First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Mississippi to respond biblically to God’s providence in natural disasters.

Chapter 1 introduces the need to reexamine the theology of the providence of God as a result of scientific discovery. Additionally, the project's thesis, rationale, purpose, methodology, and goals are also presented.

Chapter 2 presents the theological background with an exegetical analysis of three major texts detailing the foundation for the theology of the providence of God.

Chapter 3 outlines the project description, scope, design, and weekly progress report.

Chapter 4 presents the project analysis gathered from both a pre- and post-study survey.

Chapter 5 concludes with an administrative summary and suggestions for further implementation of the project.

Wade Lee Ricks, D.Min.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2022
Supervisor: Dr. Thomas Kiker, Ph.D.

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

Robert Elliot Martin D.Min.
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.

Welcoming People With Serious Mental Illness Into the Body of Christ

Robert Alan Renix D.Min.
This project’s purpose was to enhance clergy and the church’s ability to welcome people with serious mental illness into the body of Christ. My contexts were Saint Elizabeths Hospital and Inner Light Ministries UCC. I developed a seminar to teach Inner Light clergy about mental illness through a seminar. I explored how to merge their clerical skills as resources for welcoming people with serious mental illness into the church. A project goal was also to increase their confident competence in assisting people with serious mental illness.

Clergy are, most often, the first people sought out, by the churched and not so churched, for support and guidance when mental illness inserts itself into their lives. Clergy are called upon to help make meaning of the uncertainties surrounding mental illness disorders. Because others look to clergy for understanding, clergy have to become aware and confident with applying their skills to care for people with serious mental illness. Clergy do not need to attain a clinical level of confidence; instead, they must achieve the confident competence in their gifts as pastors, priest, chaplains, pastoral counselors, and leaders of faith.

What we can do as clergy and the church is reexamine our skills. We have been trained to care for parishioners through biblical interpretation, bible study, and the sacraments. Clergy and the church value hospitality and meals. Observing who is not at Christ’s table and inviting them back home to God’s community will ensure the feast includes people living with serious mental illness.

Using Springshare LibWizard as an Information Literacy Module to Improve the Research Skills of Students at Mississippi College

Robert Lee Burgess D.Ed.Min.
This project will measure the effectiveness of using LibWizard tutorials to teach library instruction over in-person instruction sessions. Chapter two will focus on the biblical rationale of the importance for students at Christian schools to become effective researchers so that they may live out their Christian calling to better the world. Chapter three will focus on the need of students to learn how to do research, the effectiveness of in-person instruction sessions, and benefits of online instructional tutorials. Chapter four will focus on the creation of the tutorials. Chapter five will present the evaluation of student learning from library instruction.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest Toward the Preparation of Sermons

Stephen Trent Thomas M.Div.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest
Towards the Preparation of Sermons

This project will argue that, because deliberate rest is restorative to the intellect and to creativity, and because preaching preparation is a creative and intellectual endeavor, preachers should intentionally incorporate deliberate rest into their sermon-preparation process. The writer will explore the biblical basis for rest using six passages of Scripture. Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 will establish the importance of Sabbath rest. Psalm 19 will describe rest as one experiences nature. Matthew 11:25-30 will reveal the rest Jesus promises to those who are weak and heavy-laden. Mark 6:30-44 will develop the rest Jesus provides to His followers when they become overwhelmed with ministry. Hebrews 3:18-4:13 will explore the rest promised to the obedient.
The writer will present research from scientific sources. Rest, Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Sooing-Kim Pang, The Wandering Mind by Michael Corbalis, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré, and The Secret World of Sleep by Penelope Lewis are the sources that will reveal the value of sleep to the intellect and to human creativity.
The writer will survey Christian authors to provide biblical insight into the value of sleep. These books are Saints’ Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter, The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry, Subversive Sabbath by A. J. Swoboda, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. These authors accentuate the necessity of rest for the follower of Jesus.
The project’s goal is to help preachers improve their preaching by adding various forms of rest during their sermon-preparation process.


Michael Urton D.Min.
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.


Steven Koster D.Min.
Media ministry publishes gospel content on paper, on the air, and online, but few robust feedback systems are in place to measure the spiritual impact of gospel broadcasts. This study articulated a theoretical foundation of a biblical theology and review of pastoral practices on children and parenting, published a resource on biblical parenting for distribution through the Internet, and then asked the audience for feedback.

The resource was rooted in a study of how the Bible regards both children and the task of parenting. The study also explored models of faith formation, pastoral parenting best practices, and a review of the religious landscape of contemporary youth. A 93-page electronic booklet (PDF) called “A Handbook of Biblical Parenting” was developed and shared with over a thousand people online, who were then invited via email to complete an online questionnaire.

The response rate was less than 2%, yet the audience was demographically in line with the expected audience. Most respondents were actively parenting young children, expressed an improvement in their parenting confidence, and found the resource practical, using its ideas several times. Most considered faith important to their parenting and found the resource to be encouraging, biblical, and educational. Most consumed the PDF deeply, even though most used a handheld mobile device. A repeated use of this prototype process would require a greater response rate to be consistently useful. Formatting for a small screen would be wise. The questions would require adaptation for other topics. Alternatively, a shorter version of the questionnaire could focus the inquiry more directly on gathering actionable information.
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