"Lessons of Hospitality in the Parables of Jesus: Inspiring a Congregation to Transform Its Ways of Loving and Serving Neighbors"

Joan Warren Gandy D.Min.
This project proposes that lessons of hospitality in the parables of Jesus can inspire a congregation to transform its ways of loving and serving neighbors. The congregation took part in an eight-week study with multiple opportunities to engage the parables each week. Research methods included ethnographic practices of listening, observing, and reading historical documents; written surveys to gauge how participants viewed congregational hospitality and service to neighbors before and after the study; and practical theological methods such as reflection/action and the four tasks of practical theological interpretation. The research discloses the power of parables to stir hearts for neighborhood mission.

Developing a biblical discipleship course that transforms seminary students to fulfill the Great Commission

Mark M Cancel D.Min.
The focus of this study is the development and evaluation of a Biblical Discipleship Course at a seminary designed equip students to make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission. In developing the Biblical Discipleship Course, the theological framework and doctrinal implications of the Great Commission Matthew 28:18–20 were identified and discussed. This course was designed to be objective based, transformative and motivational driven with several schools of thought on this subject were used in its development. The assertions of two hypotheses of this study were satisfied and upheld, by collected research and analysis. A Seminary Level Biblical Discipleship Course can transform students into makers of disciples in fulfillment of the Great Commission. Change in spiritual attitudes and commitment affects making disciples.


Phillip Smith D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry project was designed to explore the practical implications that can help disciplers of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in their mission to care for and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, develop the life and conduct of the new disciples from that background. It begins with the theological foundation of discipleship within the context of persecution and moves on to an examination of the existing literature on the topic.

This researcher conducted qualitative interviews with eighteen MBBs in a city in North Africa and another twelve experienced disciplers who worked in that field. The purpose of this project is to investigate the themes found in the journeys of discipleship and to discover the specific factors that influence MBB disciples to mature in Christ.

Based on a robust understanding and the findings of this research, a proposal for "Adaptive Discipleship Principles in the Context of Persecution" is put forth for workers to enhance the process of training and discipling MBBs, who might suffer for their faith, to know Him and to make Him known.

The research concludes that fear is a key challenging barrier. Those who crossed that barrier have identified themselves with the early church disciples (Acts 4:31). Another important factor that needs the attention of the disciplers is that this kind of work will take patience, perseverance, and much time. This work will be done on a low profile and it will continue to be unnoticeable.


Kenneth Fisher D.Min.
Entering the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), a voucher program, enabled Wisconsin Lutheran High School (WLHS) to become a multi-ethnic Christian high school, fulfilling the Great Commission's call to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19) while offering its students the many benefits of ethnic diversity. In order to assist in the recruitment of a balanced multi-ethnic student body, this project explores the positive benefits from the majority culture perspective of Caucasian parents whose students attended WLHS in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The project's biblical exploration centers on the Great Commission's call for ethnic inclusion, as well as the biblical issues related to maintaining a healthy, multi-ethnic diversity in a high school. The review of contemporary literature explores the problem of school segregation; the demonstrable benefits of multi-ethnic schools for white students; the role parental perceptions play in school selection; and the special way a multi-ethnic Christian school can deal with racism and segregation as spiritual problems.

Key findings of the project included: white parents are more likely to listen to other white parents than objective data; diversity is more often a reason to reject a school than a factor in selecting a school; parents' positive perceptions of safety and academic rigor are vital; and parents' understanding of diversity's benefits grow as they reflect more deeply upon them.


Larry Hall D.Min.
The writer is the pastor of a Missionary Baptist congregation. In a self-appraisal survey, congregational leaders ranked Great Commission obedience low among ministry priorities. This project investigated the question: Can a pastoral approach in expounding Romans 6-8 be effective in developing a Great Commission theology and in advancing Great Commission obedience for select leaders at Mayfield Missionary Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas. The project pursues two goals: 1) to develop the theology of the participants and 2) to develop pastoral preaching effectiveness.
The research design combined both the qualitative and quantitative method. The writer designed seven sermons from Romans 6-8 in a series entitled Gospel Assurance, a Motivation to Great Commission Obedience. The writer expounded selected doctrinal themes from the Biblical text to develop elements of a Great Commission theology in the participants. Using a pastoral approach, the writer selected eight congregational leaders to participate in a small group to give feedback on the preaching effectiveness. In addition, the participants completed a pre and post project questionnaire to indicate theological understanding, opinion surveys, and interviews. The writer assessed the participants’ awareness, attitudes and actions in relation to the Matthew 28:18-20 mandate to make disciples.
The writer diagnosed the participants’ gain in theological understanding and simultaneously increased pastoral preaching effectiveness through small group feedback. The writer and participants advanced toward Great Commission obedience.

Awana Together: Empowering Parents as Spiritual Mentors for Their Children

Sara-Jane Heacox Sosa D.Min.
The post-Christian culture in the United States presents a significant challenge to the spiritual growth of adults and children. At Plymouth Covenant Church, ministry leaders recognized that young parents often lacked a biblical foundation. Many did not feel competent to lead their children spiritually. These parents needed a vibrant personal faith as well as good role models. As a result, ministry leaders designed a more effective way to empower parents as spiritual mentors for their children. They created a new ministry that would provide personal faith development for parents, a supportive faith community, family-focused programming, and solid biblical teaching. This new ministry was a family version of Awana that they called Awana Together.

The problem that this project addressed was the need for a family ministry model at Plymouth Covenant Church that fostered a partnership between the church and families that empowered parents as spiritual mentors for their children. It used an intrinsic case study approach to evaluate Plymouth Covenant’s unique ministry, Awana Together, to determine if it provided a pathway for a better partnership between the home and the church in empowering parents as spiritual mentors. The research included evaluations of biblical passages and current scholarship, surveys of past and present Awana Together participants, focus group discussions with ministry leaders, and in-depth questionnaire responses from three different families. The research revealed that Awana Together was successfully designed to meet the goal of empowering parents as spiritual mentors for their children.

Mission Strategy of Chinese Urban House Churches

Yunhong Xuan D.Min.
This paper introduces the theory of ecosystem into missiology for the first time, and it puts forward the theory of mission ecosystem. The so-called theory of mission ecosystem refers to the healthy interaction among mission-driven church, mission-driven leaders, mission-driven disciples, missionaries, and mission strategies which form a system in world missions, thus establishing a complete mission ecosystem.
This paper emphasizes that God is the source of power in the entire mission ecosystem. Just as the energy of the natural ecosystem comes from the sun, the energy of the mission ecosystem comes from God. Missionary God is the core of mission, the driving force of mission, and the essence of mission. Missionary God is like the engine of the mission ministry. Only God-centered missions can receive a constant supply of missionary power.
This paper emphasizes that in the engineering of the mission ecosystem, the establishment of the mission-driven church, the cultivation of mission-driven leaders, the training of mission-driven disciples, the dispatching of mission-driven missionaries and the formulation of mission-driven strategy form a complete mission bio-chain. When the influence and interaction between them achieve a dynamic equilibrium, it enables effective world mission.
This paper provides strategies for establishing mission-driven church, cultivating mission-driven leaders, training mission-driven disciples, dispatching mission-driven missionaries and formulating mission-driven strategies.
Key Words: Mission Strategy, Missionary God, Missional Church, Missional Leader, Missional Discipleship, Missionary.

Developing a Regional Understanding of Church Growth of Chinese Churches in the U.S. and a Plan for Disciple-Making Based Church Growth at a Local Chinese Church

Fong-Yuen Ding D.Min.
A DMin major paper effort was made to understand church growth of Chinese churches in the U.S. It is suggested that church growth should be considered along with other biblical goals, and the principles of church growth should be considered as reminder for our being faithful. The dynamics of church growth were stated as a guide for faithfulness. A survey among four Chinese churches in the U.S. east coast region was conducted, and another in a local Chinese church in Knoxville among its attendees was also conduct. A strategic plan for disciple-making based church growth plan was developed.

An Examination of Discipleship in Army Chapel Ministries Overseas

Jesse McCullough D.Min.
Military chapels face unique situations that churches do not. These circumstances complicate making Biblical disciples, especially in an overseas environment. As pastors called to preach the gospel and make disciples, Army chaplains must discern how to fulfill the command of Christ while also working as an Army staff officer. Measuring whether growth is occurring may provide information to help chaplains keep what is working and change what is not. This project is designed to gauge whether chapels in an overseas environment, specifically Germany, are truly making disciples in accordance with the Biblical mandate. The research combines context, theological basis, and surveys of congregants to attempt determining which factors contribute to growth and which are unimportant. Advice for lessons learned and further research are included.

Apostolic Women Religious in the United States and Their Legacy

Janice J Brown O.P. D.Min.
The legacy of Jesus has manifested itself among different populations, within different cultures, and during different times. This thesis-project looks at this manifestation as it unfolds as the legacy of apostolic women religious in the United States. The legacy of each participating congregation was described as a mission or more specifically as the mission of Jesus. It has also been the experience of these women religious that legacy is most tangible in the relationships and trust they built with their students, coworkers, and community members with whom they worked and partnered.
The legacy of apostolic women religious is a witness to the gospel message that took root as Christianity two thousand years ago. The thesis-project begins by exploring the legacy of Jesus, as well as the historical context that furthers God’s mission through the lives of three historical women – Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and Angela Merici. The research then flows into the brief history of the Ursuline Sisters in the United States. Reviewing the pre and post-Vatican II eras and their influence on religious life helps lay a foundation upon which apostolic women today have been formed.
The primary data was gathered through focus group discussions involving seven congregations consisting of thirty-five apostolic women religious. Their comments are summarized first by congregation in order to maintain the richness within each discussion, then by main themes, and concluded with a reflection on the legacy of these women as it finds meaning through the Gospel of John.
Legacy has many definitions, but what surfaced most prominently was legacy as ministry, and the ministries are what define the women. Legacy efforts included developing relationships, education, healing, inclusivity, and service. All of these works could be imagined as the ongoing narrative of the Gospels, epitomized in the Beloved Disciple.
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