Campus ministry

Deep Roots in Christ: An Exploration of Spiritual Formation Through Habits in College Ministry

John L Miller IV D.Min.
In this Research Portfolio, the author examines the role of habits and rituals in spiritual formation. The specific focus of the work is on the potential impact of ancient spiritual practices in the lives of contemporary students at an undergraduate institution. The author presents this topic through three primary movements. First, the author explores aspects of his personal spiritual journey through an autobiographical chapter. These reflections introduce the author’s call to ministry and share some foundational thoughts on spiritual formation as both key turning points and habits that ignite and sustain such experiences. Second, the author develops an organic framework for spiritual formation through habits focused on the image of a healthy tree. The model builds upon John Wesley’s Means of Grace and James K.A. Smith’s work on habits. Finally, the author reports on a research project where he invites current undergraduate students at Houghton College to participate in the practice of Lectio Divina to better understand the potential impact of habits on spiritual formation with contemporary college students. The research suggests that habits and ancient spiritual practices are indeed reliable pathways to experiencing God’s love for the contemporary undergraduate student.

Preaching Beyond the Hedges: A Psycho-Social and Spiritual Exegesis of University Students as a Resource for the Campus Preacher

Community exegesis is gaining interest among preachers as a means to communicate the Word of God to a particular group, time, and location. The work of Lenora Tubbs Tisdale and her study of communal exegesis marks a significant influence on this interest. The Second Vatican Council also calls upon the preacher to utilize language to tailor the Word of God for the listener. Relying on the study of social location and combining that effort with psychological, social, and spiritual disciplines, preachers engage concepts that aid in the exegesis of today’s university students. This study demonstrates that exegeting the Scriptures and the community is beneficial to the psycho-spiritual cognitive development of students.
This thesis examines disciplines that equip preachers to exegete the university student community, thereby contributing to a better preaching event. To that end, the first chapter describes the importance of studying the historical and observable social location in which the students are living. The second chapter treats psychological stage development and current struggles that today’s undergraduates are experiencing. The third chapter considers two specific research methods and ways that preachers might implement them. These research methods uncover the language of university students, as reflected in conversations with focus groups. The fourth chapter examines the fruits of Emmaus Walks that lead towards Paschal Preaching, and the witness that university students give when preaching moves into action. The preacher also calls to mind the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a preaching event. The conclusion highlights the benefits of this thesis as an exegetical resource, suggesting that preachers can preach more effectively to students on their campuses by gaining knowledge of the social location, updating their understanding of proposed theories of psychological stage development, using a variety of research methods, and intentionally journeying with the students.

Towards a Holistic Education: Forging Integrative Approaches between Campus Ministers and Theology Faculty at Catholic Universities

Rachelle M. Kramer D.Min.
This thesis-project explores to what extent a synergy could be created between campus ministers and theology professors at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities that might contribute to a more holistic development (spiritual, moral, intellectual) of their students. The project overall seeks to learn how a holistic education can best be understood in Catholic higher education today as well as the factors that foster and hinder it. The experience of campus ministers and theology faculty, emerging adult theory, the Catholic Tradition, and integrative learning theory serve as dialogue partners in order to unearth new insights and concrete actions for the future.

Cruciformational Discipleship: A Leader Training Program for Producing a Fruitful Missional Ministry for the University City Chinese Christian Church

Tony Liang D.Min.
The mission of the church was expressed as to build a fruitful cruciformational community of Christ that glorifies God. To do that in the postmodern and post Christendom age, a missional church would need the full utilization of the ministry of the Word. in all its forms for all levels, from personal to congregational. It required developing ministry expressions that properly adapt to the very complex and rapidly changed ministry context, and at the same time that ensured these expressions to be firmly rooted in the Biblical foundation and centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The theological vision that was derived from the theological framework for the given ministry context was key to fulfill that purpose effectively. This project was a discipleship training pilot program for all ministry leaders.

The program first presented to the trainees the big picture of how the ministry of the Word transformed the lives of believers as holy priests through the worshiping lives of the church to produce fruitful results. It then taught the trainees the process of utilizing it: to build the theological framework that was the foundation of ministry, to develop the ministry platforms that enabled effective ministry utilization, and to derive the theological vision that connected the Biblical foundation to the ministry expression for
given ministry contexts.

The results from the evaluation of the program showed that the project had reached the initial goals in understanding the basic concepts and their theological foundation. However, the program had too much content. Therefore, the trainees could not explore the three catalysts fully and had not reached one of the goals associated with them (to have the basic skill to apply those catalysts in ministry).


Ryan Peterson D.Min.
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.


Jonathan Nielson D.Min.
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

A Quest for Koinonia: Uncovering Spiritual Practices that Inspire and Promote Unity among Christians within a Contemporary Campus Setting

Diane Reneé Schmit Dardón D.Min.
The quest for koinonia among Christians on college and university campuses -- and specifically at DePaul University in Chicago -- is at the heart of this thesis-project. Like so many campus settings throughout the United States, the Christian community at DePaul is complicated, diverse, and marked distinctly by distrust, skepticism, and conflict between Christian students and between Christian groups on campus. This thesis-project posits that spiritual practices inherent in the Body of Christ might encourage and inspire Christian unity on campus. Spiritual practices that emerge through explorations of the experiences and hopes of college students, major global ecumenical movements, and early followers of Christ in Corinth will be considered as a means for developing a pastoral response to the issue of conflict and dissension among Christians on campus and beyond. A brief foray into faith developmental theory, Millennial and post-Millennial generational studies, and ethnocentricity also provide helpful insights. The Practical Theology method and model developed by Evelyn and James Whitehead guide this thesis-project as the work strives to shed light on ways in which koinonia might be realized among Christians within a contemporary higher education setting.

No Title Specified

Ronald Bupp
The purpose of this project was to discover the student experience of United Mehodist campus ministries at Iowa college campuses. The project was expanded to include campus ministries within annual conferences adjacent to the state of Iowa. The research was conducted by means of survey of student participants in campus ministry and personal interview with directors of campus ministry. The results of the research show that campus ministry lacks directions and connection with annual conferences and the local church. As a result, campus ministries have become silos within the denomination and acquired the character f the institutions they serve.

How to build teamwork in Christian ministry

Liu Yi
This dissertation seeks to explore what the core components of an effective team are in the context of the local church. The author addresses the biblical and theological foundations of teamwork in the pastoral ministry, reviews and analyzes existing discourse and practices of church teamwork and the data on their effects, and provides suggestions for building teamwork, targeting factors that lead to problems faced by the local church's ministry. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that a common purpose, clear roles, strong leadership, effective processes, solid relationships, and excellent communication are all equally necessary qualities a highly effective team possesses.

Equipping Selected Students from Shades Monutain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, Alabama, in Missional Living Skills

S. Carson Browning
This is a project in ministry aimed to equipp selected students from Shades Mountain Baptist Church in missional living skills aligning them with the mission of the church. This project involves researching the field of missional living, synthesizing the research into a listing of essential missional living skills, and creating an experiential curriculm through a one-day experience and seven day-long devotional readings.
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