Denver Seminary

How a Study of Biblical Individualism and the Body of Christ Affects Young People’s
Willingness to Engage in Church Leadership at First Presbyterian Church, Alliance,
Nebraska

Author
Kim Y Jay D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis researched the issue of an independent and individualistic mindset of young people in their 20s to 40s at First Presbyterian Church Alliance in Nebraska. This mindset is associated with their unwillingness to participate in church leadership. Understanding the biblical and literary foundations of individualism and collectivism are the core approach to confronting this mentality which is exhibited in behaviors of egocentricity, selfishness, or egoism. The biblical and literary principles of individualism and collectivism are intrinsically harmonized with a sense of unity which is actualized in a recognition of self-value as an autonomous being. An individual as an autonomous and rational being should recognize his and her inner attributes and utilize them for the needs of others. The nature of unity is the corporate reality of all individuals which is represented in the characteristics of the body of Christ. Learning true individual value and unity would benefit the young people and encourage them to get involved in church leadership.

Strengthening Pastoral Identity in Army Chaplains: The Effect of Spiritual Mentoring on Mentors as a Way to Develop Pastoral Identity

Author
Douglas Ball
Abstract
Army Chaplains are in a struggle between various identities within in a system that reinforces and rewards those identities outside the historic pastoral role. This thesis explores how spiritual mentoring can foster, maintain, and revitalize pastoral identity in mid-level chaplains serving as mentors. The author defines and explains pastoral identity; shows that spiritual mentoring is a biblical and necessary aspect of pastoral ministry; and explores the possibility of strengthening pastoral identity in Army chaplains through spiritual mentoring. However, unlike most approaches to spiritual mentoring for pastoral formation, the goal of this project was not primarily the formation of the mentee, but rather the formation of the mentor. Chaplains who serve as mentors are engaging in a historically pastoral activity which will clarify and strengthen their own pastoral identity. The project engaged mid-level and junior chaplains in short-term spiritual mentoring relationships and measured indicators of pastoral identity through a sequential mixed methods approach (pre-surveys, post-surveys, and interviews). Overall, both quantitative and qualitative data supports spiritual mentoring as a method for identity change and formation within the Army Chaplain Corps.

Finding Peace in Union with Christ through the Practice of Contemplation

Author
Gary W Brouwers
Abstract
Believers in Jesus exist in a powerful unsion with the ecodn person of the Trinity. Through this union, believers have access to everything that Jesus is, including the ability to expereince peace regardless of circumstances. This thesis examinded how a growing awreness of one's union with Jesus affects one's experience of anxiety. Using a mixed method phenomenological study, 46 participants spent increasingly longer periods of time contemplating on thier union with Christ. Anxiety levels were tested using pretexts and posttests of Beck's Anxiety Indicator (BAI). Participants kept records of their experiences using Likert-style scales as well as written journals. Data from BAI, the individual records, and a focus group were triangulated and compared. The results indicated that anxiety levels were reduced in 63 percent of participants. In addition , the data revealed common themes among the experiences of the participants, including strong expressions of God's love, continuing effects of peace beyond the period of contemplation and an appreciation for the structure and accountability of the project. In addition, most participants reported experiences of frustration and confusion as they attempted to spend time in contemplation.

Cultivate Compassion through Affective Perspective Taking

Author
Weihua He D.Min.
Abstract
The hope of the researcher in the project was to help people cultivate compassion through affective perspective taking preconditioned by the practice of imaginative meditation on gospel accounts, the practice of the Jesus Prayer, and the practice of cognitive disputation technique. This research depended on the strategies for data analysis advised by grounded theory. The project did effectuate interpersonal and intrapersonal empathy. The problem studies was whether or not a program of affective perspective taking preconditioned by imaginative meditation, mindfulness practice, and cognitive disputation technique would effectuate the cultivation of compassion in the life of a group of dating or married Christians.

Changing Church Culture among Church Leaders by Moving from Meetings to Mission

Author
Andrew J Kumpel D.Min.
Abstract
This study researched the effect of replacing church committee meetings with missional teaching and experiences of evangelism for church leaders on perceived current and preferred organizational culture. A three-moth moratorium of all official church meetings allowed the researcher to conduct five training sessions on evangelism. The researcher collected quantitative data from both control group participants and experimental group participants using a pretest and posttest model using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument. Findings revealed some changes in perception of both current and preferred organizational culture among research participants. Change in organizations is pervasive because of the degree and rapidity of change in the external environment.

Understanding the Transformative Effect Suffering has on the Health of Marital Commitment in Devout Christian Marriages

Author
Patrick S. Lovejoy D.Min.
Abstract
This phenomenological study assessed, retrospectively, the transformative effect suffering has on the strength of marital commitment in devout Christian marriages. The study yielded a shared experience of suffering being viewed as instrumental in the development of strong intimate ties and shared sacred history within the marriages of the participants. Couples agreed that various forms of suffering refined their marital commitment towards one another and helped supply a lasting shared intimacy with the marriage. Many marriages equate suffering to evidence of failure and flee relationships preventing the birth of the resiliency necessary to navigate the transitions that come from enduring suffering.

Empowering American Baptist Pastors of Pastoral-Size Churches to Develop Psychological and Theological Resilience in an Age of Disestablishment

Author
Michael Wayne Oldham D.Min.
Abstract
Mainline churches no longer enjoy the status of being the "established" religion in today's culture. The implications of this disestablishment have left churches and pastors feeling frustrated, powerless and often hopeless. This project is a case study of how a combination of video chats and incremental learning resources increased the psychological and theological resilience of American Baptist pastors who serve in pastoral-size churches. This study showed that this process was effective in helping pastors develop a renewed sense of hope and direction for their ministry and might be used in other mainline as well as evangelical denominations. This project will focus on the role of the pastor as the key leader in their church.

Nature as a Means of Adolescent Spiritual Formation

Author
James D Thompson D.Min.
Abstract
The author researched what effect a ninety-day practice of journaling and guided contemplation of God in nature would have on an adolescent's sense of connection with God using the Convergent Parallel Mixed Method approach. Quantitatively, the intervention led to a statistically significant increase from the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale pretest to the posttest. Qualitatively, through student journals and reflections, five clusters of meaning emerged: the adolescent landscape, deeper connection with God, big questions, gratitude, and common nature. If God intends creation to point people to himself, then it is a significant problem if people have lost the capacity or the desire to pay attention to creation.

The Abide Project's Effect on Experiencing God's Presence in Daily LIfe

Author
Dean Wertz D.Min.
Abstract
The thesis seeks to answer: How will a three-month all-church focus on abiding in Jesus affect the participants' experience of God's presence in their daily lives? The Abide Project was facilitated in the fall of 2018 for children, youth and adults at Hope Community Church (Denver, CO0; included sermons, small groups and daily reminders; and was measured by mixed-methods. The quantitative assessment (compared pre and post-training scores from the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale by Dr. Lynn Underwood) and the qualitative assessment (8 phenomenological interviews) concluded that the project increased the participants' experience of God's presence in their daily lives. An invitation to abide from John 15:1-11 would increase the participant' attentiveness and experience God.

ADAPTERS: A Meta-Theoretical Conceptualization of Human Functioning and Therapeutic Intervention

Author
Gary W McDonald D.Min.
Abstract
Counselors utilizing eclectic and integrative approaches need a sound theoretical model on which to base their work. For the Christian counselor, this model must be biblically based as well as psychologically accurate. Although there are hundreds of models of psychotherapy, and many conceptualizations of integration, there exists a need for an overarching meta-theory to provide structure to these various approaches and guide effective interventions. The thesis was a theoretical development project. The author developed a comprehensive model of human functioning and therapeutic intervention that provides support for counselors utilizing eclectic or integrative approaches to therapy. The art and science of therapeutic intervention covers a wide spectrum of theory and practice.
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