Bible--Gospels

Equipping Leaders for Missional Small Groups at Oak Grove Baptist Church Burleson, TX

Author
Brady Logan Lock D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to equip leaders of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas, (OGBC) to lead missional small groups. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of OGBC and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides an exegesis of three passages of Scripture (Acts 2:42-47; Matt. 19:16-22; Col. 3:12-17) to show that discipleship occurs in the everyday missional living of the believer, not merely in the educational sphere of the church. Chapter 3 presents the historical/practical/theoretical ideas behind missional small groups. Chapter 4 describes the project itself, recounting the content and teaching methodology of the specific course curriculum. Chapter 5 evaluates the efficacy of the project based on the completion of the specified goals. Ultimately, this project sought to equip Christians with the confidence and competency to minister to fellow sinners and sufferers with the truth of the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.

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.

SUSTAINING A PRAYER LIFE AMONG CLERGY AND CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS

Author
Philomena Ofori-Nipaah D.Min.
Abstract
This research examines how a Reformed understanding of prayer can be enriched by the use of the Prayer of Nehemiah and the Lord’s Prayer. The project demonstrates that a better-informed theology of prayer results in a deepening of the spiritual practices of clergy and church leaders, allowing them to slow down and be involved in a faithful and sustained discipline. This helps them develop a deeper relationship with God. The results are established by a comparison of participants’ surveys taken before, during, and after they have practiced different prayer rules and through the interviews I conducted with the participants.

Welcoming People With Serious Mental Illness Into the Body of Christ

Author
Robert Alan Renix D.Min.
Abstract
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.

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.

PREACHING CHRIST FROM VIETNAMESE PROVERBS AND FOLK POETRY

Author
Dieu Tran D.Min.
Abstract
Peter Dieu Tran, M.A., D.Min. Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2021.

This doctor of ministry thesis is an attempt to contribute to the preaching mission in Vietnam. Dealing with the problem that many Vietnamese preachers face (Chapter I), this project proposes that preachers use proverbs and folk poetry in their preaching. Before trying to put this preaching method into practice, this thesis looks at the theological framework (Chapter II), the homiletical foundation (Chapter III), and a brief study of Vietnamese proverbs and folk poetry (Chapter IV). Chapter V details the ministerial intervention of this project and the interpretation of its outcomes. Chapter VI reviews the overall project and the next steps for my research.

PREPARING THE SOIL FOR PREACHING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING THROUGH EMPATHETIC NARRATIVE

Author
William Hisker D.Min.
Abstract
The research study explores the theological and social-psychological forces that discourage the preaching of the prophetic message of the Gospel. The study was conducted with seventy-four volunteers and six permanent deacons in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys and interviews. The hypothesis explored was whether or not the use of narrative techniques, specifically Narrative 4 story exchange would be useful as a technique for preparing congregations to be open to the challenges presented by Catholic social teaching. Additionally, the research sought to determine whether or not the six deacons who participated in the study would find narrative a useful technique in their preaching and evangelization efforts.

Participants completed an empathy profile before viewing one of seven different videos produced by the United States Conference of Bishops on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person; the Call to Family, Community, and Participation; the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; Rights and Responsibilities; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation; and the Dignity of Work. Participants were asked to rate the videos and indicate how often they heard preaching of the subject matter of the videos. Participants were also given the opportunity to participate in a Narrative 4 story exchange. Participants were then asked to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index a second time to see if there was a statistically significant change in their empathy profile. In addition, participants were asked to evaluate their experience with the story exchange. While there was no significant statistical change, as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the interviewees demonstrated a high level of approval for the story exchange as a vehicle for improving the empathetic response of a congregation and as a useful technique for use in the preaching of Catholic social teaching.

Perfect Love Casts out Fear: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Person-Centered Disability Awareness Seminar in a Congregational Setting

Author
Joshua H Jones D.Min.
Abstract
People with disabilities and their families frequently experience barriers toward inclusion and belonging in multiple spheres of life. These barriers are also present in Christian congregations. However, many congregations express a godly desire to love people with disabilities and their families without these obstacles.

The Old and New Testaments provide examples of how God’s people sought to love people with disabilities in their midst creatively and intentionally in response to God’s gracious actions, invitation, and command. Recent research in disability studies routinely highlight the necessity of being attentive to the uniqueness of each person with disabilities and his or her family. Recent work in the realm of sanctification also encourages Christians to practice active righteousness and vocation with an emphasis upon loving specific neighbors.

In light of current research, this project attempted to better understand the effects of a person-centered disability awareness seminar about the pastor’s own child in a single congregation using a mixed methods approach. A pretest posttest design was used in the quantitative phase of the research utilizing the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons with Disabilities (MAS) to measure attitudes (N = 42). A focus group was used in the qualitative phase of research (N = 7). Results suggest a person-centered disability awareness seminar can be an effective way to improve attitudes and relational engagement in a congregational setting.

HOW EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA ARE ENGAGING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

Author
Michael Urton D.Min.
Abstract
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.

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.
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