Bible--New Testament

The Impact of a Staff Performance Management System on Performance Outcomes and Employee Commitment in a Private, Christian, Higher Education Institution

Author
Janis Lynn Ryder D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis explored performance management in a private, Christian, Canadian, higher education institution. A Model for Effective Performance Management was developed which served as a framework for a participatory action research project that piloted a staff performance review process and tool aimed at improving employee performance and organizational commitment of university staff employees. Seven university departments were part of the pilot project which included participating in supervisor training, testing a new performance review process and tool, and providing post-pilot feedback.
Post-pilot online survey results and interviews with leaders demonstrated a higher rate of completed performance reviews, increased competency and comfort level of supervisors/appraisers to lead performance review conversations, and increased employee commitment and performance resulting from the performance review experience.
There are opportunities for HR professionals, churches, and para-church organizations to use and benefit from this research and the Model for Effective Performance Management.

DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR CAMPUS MINISTRY TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY--ANN ARBOR

Author
Ryan Peterson D.Min.
Abstract
Concordia University, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has always had a strong commitment to a Christ-centered ministry. But with a changing student body and an awareness of the changing needs of the millennial generation, it is clear that deliberate and intentional planning for ministry is needed. This major project has sought to consider the historical issues surrounding campus ministry, as well as the theological and biblical issues that undergird the ministry, in order to develop a strategic plan for campus ministry to undergraduate students.

This project focused on achieving four primary goals. The first goal was seeking to understand the values, ideals, influences, and preferences of the millennial generation. The second goal was to identify the five to seven greatest spiritual challenges facing the students at Concordia University--Ann Arbor. The third goal was to analyze and synthesize the findings from the identified challenges and SWOT analysis. Finally, the fourth goal was to describe the strategic plan for campus ministry at Concordia University--Ann Arbor.

The field research focused on three specific areas: writing a campus culture narrative based on three student focus groups, completing a SWOT analysis of current campus ministry programming by students, faculty, and staff, and then identifying the specific spiritual challenges facing our current students through a Delphi survey. Finally, a strategic plan with strategies, objectives, and tactics was completed and presented to the president of the university for his approval. The effectiveness of the field research components was evaluated, and each of the four goals of the major project have been achieved.

HOW CAMPUS MINISTRY INFLUENCES AND FACILITATES SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN THE LIVES OF PRINCETON UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Author
Jonathan Nielson D.Min.
Abstract
For this major project, the study participants were Princeton University undergraduate
students who were actively involved in the ministry of Princeton Faith and Action, which is
staffed and resourced by Christian Union. Students were observed, studied, and interviewed at
the beginning (fall) and conclusion (spring) of their freshmen years at Princeton, with the goal of
determining to what extent this campus ministry was contributing to their spiritual growth. The
research and study focused on five main metrics to measure the growth in spiritual maturity of
these students: Bible and theology knowledge, spiritual disciplines, personal holiness and
godliness, evangelism and gospel witness, and understanding of and involvement in local
churches. Conclusions were drawn about the strengths and weaknesses of this campus ministry
at Princeton University and its effectiveness in helping undergraduate students grow in spiritual
maturity.

IDENTIFICATION OF FACTORS RELEVANT FOR THE CREATION OF A DISCIPLESHIP CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Author
Timothy Dahlin D.Min.
Abstract
This project had as its purpose to identify issues that evangelical leaders in Latin America raise regarding discipleship and ministerial formation in their contexts and, second, to identify effective ways in which these issues might be addressed through a program created by ProMETA, a training institution with which the researcher works. The researcher had taught an online course focusing on biblical models of discipleship. The students, who represented five Latin American countries, expressed dissatisfaction with the current practice of discipleship in evangelical churches in the region. This motivated the researcher to carry out this project. Following a review of relevant literature which highlighted contextual, theological and educational concerns, the researcher conducted a qualitative inductive investigation. He interviewed eleven leaders representing Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Argentina in a sequence of three interviews. Those interviewed included pastors, individuals dedicated to youth and discipleship ministries, a seminary professor, and a representative of a ministry devoted to training leaders in the Majority World. They expressed serious concerns about the current practice of discipleship as being limited in scope, overly cognitive in its nature, and giving insufficient attention to the assimilation of the life and teaching of Jesus. Participants also noted that current church practice was not responding adequately to rapid changes in the region. The group affirmed the value of a program at a level other than masters to address these needs. They recommended a curriculum focused on providing an adequate vision of discipleship, character development, and tools to implement discipleship in the local setting. The group interviewed provided many suggestions for the promotion and implementation of such a program. They also affirmed the importance of local leadership and the involvement of the local church for the success of such a program.

Let all Who Are Hungry Come and Eat - "In Good Faith": Intentional Interreligious Encounter and the Spirit of Hospitality

Author
Chava Stacie Bahle D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores participant experiences in a long-term Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue program. Examined through the theological quests for truth, love and peace, participants reflected on their experiences, placing those experiences in conversation with sacred texts and images from their home traditions. T'shuvah, the Jewish theological act of turning toward the holy, is explored as a transtemporal, liberative and conciliatory gesture, through which the program might create change in the participants' sense of self and other. Reflective storytelling as a method is explored in depth.
The author theorizes that t’shuvah did in fact occur, according to participant interviews. T’shuvah in an interreligious dialogue setting may occur in part because of: the phenomenon of multiple “Us-es,” according to the neurobiology theories of Robert Sapolsky; contact theories through dialogue; and the structure of gatherings proposed by Priya Parker. Ethical considerations of intentional interreligious engagement, especially historical wounds and vulnerability, are also discussed.
The thesis-project used semi-structured, one on one interviews, and applied a novel, four step Jewish theological reflection method conceived by the author: p’shat, thick descriptions of “what happened”; d’rash, placing those experiences in dialogue with sacred texts and images; t’shuvah, how the experiences may have created individual and cosmic repair among the dialogue partners; and k’dushah, exploring whether and how participation in the program translated into action in the world outside the program. Framing the interviews through the lens of “participant as storyteller” is explored in detail as a potential contribution to sacralizing the lived experience of the program.
The rich imageries of shared ancestry, meeting at table, fellow travelers and learning in the presence of the other inform the conclusion that the intentional interreligious engagement of this program may create tikkunim (repairs) in both individual and group to group relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Meditation and Contemplation: Framework for a Coping Mechanism Among Small Groups at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Author
Gary W. Jordan
Abstract
“Don’t say God is silent if your Bible is closed.” - Church Sign This project aimed to encourage and enable a small group class at Mount Moriah Baptist Church to adopt meditative and contemplative prayer as a framework for a coping mechanism. In practicing this type of prayer life, participants anticipated to receive the benefit of being better able to cope with stressors of life. Utilizing a small group study, Lectio Divina, biblical examples, breathing techniques and various surveys, participants were enabled to experience a deeper interaction with Scripture, aided by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to hear God speaking to them and transforming their lives to the image of Christ.

Practicing Sabbath to Reduce Stress Among Ministers in the Tyger River Baptist Association, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Author
James Hailstock
Abstract
The Sabbath is the zenith of God’s creation and the climax of living. The key to reducing stress among ministers is the Sabbath lifestyle which includes practicing the disciplines of prayer, silence, feasting and fellowshipping in addition to identifying the signs and symptoms of stress. The Sabbath lifestyle empowers ministers with coping skills that can be personalized and implemented consistently as they progress and deal with the daunting demands and responsibilities of ministry. This project tested and compared the stress levels of the research and control groups before and after teaching four courses (disciplines) in the context of a Sabbath lifestyle to the research group only. During the retreat, four activities relative to the four courses were practiced by the research and control groups to determine if the courses had an impact on the activities to reduce stress among ministers. The project also revealed the effectiveness of the instructor, research site, courses, retreat, and activities. The project revealed strengths, weaknesses, and missteps. The results established that the courses did influence the activities to reduce stress among ministers.

Preaching on Porn: A Workshop to Train Pastors

Author
Michael Novotny D.Min.
Abstract
According to even the most conservative statistics, pornography is wrecking the bodies,
minds, and souls of millions of Christians in America. Nevertheless, most pastors are unsure
how to address this pandemic problem in their sermons.

This project suggests a solution. If a preacher verbalizes this taboo topic, normalizes the
struggle for God’s people, demonizes the sin of lust, evangelizes those struggling with sexual
sin, and strategizes ways for every member of the church to honor God with their bodies, the
pulpit might become a powerful solution for the saints’ struggle.

In this project, twelve pastors were surveyed and studied in order to create a workshop in
hopes of equipping them to preach wisely, boldly, and effectively on the topic of pornography.

How Selected Members from Life Church in La Vernia Pray After Considering Jonathan Edwards on Divine Glory

Author
John Frawley D.Min.
Abstract
How Selected Members from Life Church in La Vernia Pray After Considering Jonathan Edwards on Divine Glory

The subject of “the glory of God” feels hopelessly abstract to many Christians. Though the Bible has much to say about the glory of God, many cannot see how it is relevant to everyday living. This project attempted to correct this error of thinking among eleven volunteered participants from Life Church of La Vernia, TX (EFCA). This group evaluated both Scripture and selected writings from Jonathan Edwards on God’s glory. A practical assessment was measured by ongoing evaluation of participants’ prayer life throughout the project as it related to delighting in God.

A PRIMER FOR TRAINING EFFECTIVE PREACHERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

Author
Mark Frazee D.Min.
Abstract
A PRIMER FOR TRAINING EFFECTIVE PREACHERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
Training in effective preaching is helpful for the experienced preacher and the novice. This project gathered insights from experts on preaching, and organized them in six training sessions walking one through the entire process of preaching. These sessions were presented to a pilot group of pastors and teachers to further equip them for preaching, and to solicit their feedback on how the material could be improved to train others. Feedback was sought in group interviews and follow-up e-mail surveys. The sessions were revised and returned to the pilot group to be used to equip others in preaching.
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