Pastoral theology--Lutheran churches

Improving New Member Catechesis and Integration at Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, by means of a Lutheran Catechumenate

Author
Christian C Tiews
Abstract
Borrowing a concept from the Early Church and the Roman Catholic RCIA, the author-a Lutheran pastor-implemented a nine month long new member class in his church. This deviates from most new member classes, which are often only a few hours in length. Surveying the 44 catechumens and other participants, who represented a sample/small subgroup and cross section of the total congregational population, the author showed quantitatively that the long period of instruction markedly improved the catechesis of the new members, created a stronger Lutheran identity in them, and improved their integration within the congregation.

Ministry to inactives in a large congregation in a rural/small town setting

Author
Robert L Hagan
Abstract
Worship attendance figures are on the decline among congregations in the U.S. One of the challenges facing many congregations is the large percentage of members who have been absent from worship for a significant period of time. The project is a study of congregational approaches and strategies for ministry to inactives. The research portion of the project included a survey of large rural congregations regarding their approach to inactive members. A follow-up interview was conducted with pastors of selected congregations that participated in the survey. This research, along with the literature review, informed the recommendations for a comprehensive approach for Christian caregiving of inactives in a large, rural congregation. The project challenges many of the traditional attitudes and approaches that pastors and congregation leaders have undertaken in ministry to inactives.

Practical pastoral care: observations from a military chaplain in dealing with trauma

Author
Eugene Wm Schneider
Abstract
Every individual has experienced some sort of setback in life. It is a challenging aspects of life. Traumatic events may come while serving as a member of the armed forces in a time of combat. Knowing how to conduct therapy is only one element of providing care. This project will look at how attachment, liturgy, ritual, counseling, and preaching can serve as elements of pastoral care. Exploring these elements provides a reminder of how we tap into valuable procedures for pastoral care. Getting help enables a person to cope. The church, as it offers pastoral care, stands ready to help.

Preaching like a sheep dog: loping into pastoral leadership

Author
Jules R Erickson
Abstract
This thesis uses the metaphor of a sheep dog as a role for pastor within the story of the Good Shepherd as revealed in Psalm 23 and John 10. A pastor's identity informs how a preacher witnesses to the Word of God. Using The Witness of Preaching by Thomas G. Long, I discuss the various images he used to illustrate the roles of preachers: the herald, the paster, the storyteller/poet, and finally, the witness. I have drawn upon my own experiences as a child raised in the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod and how I moved from a theology based in fear to a theology based in grace. As a secondary discourse I draw on Edwin H. Friedman's A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. Friedman uses the term 'non-anxious' and 'well-differentiated' to define these aspects of leadership; throughout this thesis I discuss what it means to become a leader and bear witness to God's Word as a preacher.

Developing a church planting resource book in an electronic format for the Rocky Mountain District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Author
Mark C Larson
Abstract
This project developed a resource book for church planting expressed in an electronic format appropriate to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Included in the goals were 1) providing theological, missiological and practical foundations, and 2) suggesting a process for church planting. The methodology used was 1) to gather material for the resource book, 2) to evaluate the material, 3) to develop the book, and 4) to begin the ongoing process of evaluation. The result of this project was a resource CD entitled "Mission Planting Catechism," consisting of approximately 200 pages, and containing nearly 150 resources for church planting.

Lutherans, animals and ministry: unleashing theology

Author
Susan Carole Roy
Abstract
The relationship that people share with animals, called the human-animal bond, finds expression in Judeo-Christian theology as a meaningful venue for spiritual growth. The author explores ways in which a viable mainline church ministry could be developed to serve the human-animal bond. A case study of the author's personal story in ministering to people and companion animals, and doing so within an ecclesiastical structure, serves as the method of research. A pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the author concludes that Lutheran theology supports the development of ministries to the human-animal bond, while ecclesiastical polity invites further exploration.

Becoming who you are in Christ: a Lutheran and van Kaamian approach to spiritual growth

Author
Frederick P Schenker
Abstract
Spiritual formation in mainline denominations has fallen on hard times. Research agencies such as the Search Institute have rated Lutherans lowest in the areas of faith maturity and growth in faith maturity among Protestant denominations. Such studies indicate a lack of integration of faith understanding into holy living. The author's thesis utilizes Martin Luther's formative approach to the catechism and Adrian van Kaam's formation science to facilitate the integration of belief and faith practice for Lutherans as well as other faith traditions. The author has designed a six-week course to put this thesis into practice. After completing the course, participants in the study group showed stronger integration in their beliefs and lifestyles.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving": rethinking the experience of Christian initiation

Author
Louis J Quetel
Abstract
This project proposes that Christian initiation is a primary, essential component of mission-centered pastoral ministry. It is a significant dimension of the conversion experience, it is a spiritual process, it involves the entire faith community, and it deserves emphasis is liturgical expression. Drawing on research in the Bible, the Roman Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and documents of the Alban Institute, the project reflects on the nature, practice, and meaning of initiating people into the life of the church.

Relational preaching: one pastor's journey

Author
Gary A Petersen
Abstract
This project proposes that a pastor can establish partnership in ministry with a congregation through the preaching event, founded on the theological principle of the Incarnation. When a pastor speaks "from the heart" through images, stories, and incarnational preaching to the hearts of the congregation, then the pastor embodies the message of the biblical text and connects it to the listeners. In this way the congregation is addressed by the incarnate Word of God.

A partnership of support: a model for synodical ministry to clergy

Author
Stanley J Meyer
Abstract
This project proposes a model for a bishop's ministry to clergy within a synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, offering a comprehensive plan for leadership support grounded in Lutheran theology and also in developmental theory. From studies of the adult life cycle the project presents an analogous career cycle for Lutheran pastors, each composed of a transition and a stage: Initiation, Expansion, Consolidation, and Consummation. The plan for leadership support promotes a holistic understanding of life and encourages spiritual depth, skilled leadership, and personal wholeness.
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