Christian education--Methods

Measuring the Effectiveness of Equipping Families Using a Sermon-Based Curriculum at Fellowship Bible Church in Jacksonville, Texas

Author
Graham Hale D.Min.
Abstract
The aim of this project was to measure the effectiveness of using a sermon-based curriculum to combat biblical illiteracy and equip family shepherds for the work of home ministry. The two focus groups for this project at Fellowship Bible Church of Jacksonville, Texas, were the Sermon-Only Group and the Sermon and Sermon-Based Home-Discipleship Group. The Sermon-Only Group listened to four sermons through the book of Zephaniah (selected because of its length, unfamiliarity, and gospel themes). The Sermon and Sermon-Based Home-Discipleship Group listened to the sermons and also participated in a four-week, twenty-lesson study on Zephaniah in the home. The two groups were tested on their retention and application of what was taught from the book.

The thesis of this project was that parents and children in the Sermon and Sermon-Based Home-Discipleship Group would retain more of the Word of God and more faithfully apply the Word when compared to the Sermon-Only Group.

Chapter 1 addresses the problem of biblical illiteracy while also introducing the thesis. Chapter 2 makes an argument in favor of home discipleship both biblically and historically. Chapter 3 makes an argument biblically and practically for sermon-based instruction, introducing and explaining the effectiveness of using sermon-based curriculum in the home. Chapter 4 explains the preparation for and execution of the ministry project at FBC of Jacksonville. Chapter 5 includes a report on the findings from the project. In this chapter, the project director evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the project and what he would do differently in hindsight.

A Sunday School Revitalization Strategy for Hispanic Churches in the Baptist Convention of New Mexico

Author
Ricardo Rivera
Abstract
This project sought to develop a Sunday school revitalization strategy for Hispanic churches in the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. The project had four goals. The first goal was to discover the critical issues for revitalizing the Sunday school by surveying selected Hispanic churches and interpreting the results. The second goal was to determine the best practices for revitalizing Sunday school by review of Sunday school growth principles. The third goal was the development of a Sunday school revitalization strategy for Hispanic churches in the Baptist Convention of New Mexico with the assistance of a selected strategy development team. The final goal was the validation of the strategy by three small groups of selected pastors and leaders of Hispanic Baptist churches in the state. The outcome of the four goals was a three-year Sunday school revitalization strategy with four objectives that addressed the main critical issues affecting the Hispanic Sunday schools.

Witness to the Presence of God Moments in the Action and Voice of Children

Author
Jane Janine Pekar D.Min.
Abstract

This portfolio begins with a reflection of my personal journey in spiritual formation. In response to the contemporary shift in society’s affirmation of the rights an voice of children as world citizens and my experiences as a teacher, parent and ordained minister, I created a model of ministry for families with young children combining components of Young Child & Worship and Messy Church. Using Action Research, I introduced principles of the Reggio-Inspired Approach to enhance the children’s personalization of the experience. The observations of the children’s creative responses and intuitive initiatives were recorded and shared in four Documentations.

Visio Divina: In Light of the USCCB Curriculum Framework

Author
Eileen B Maggiore D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project involved working with eleven high school seniors from two schools while applying visual ethnographic research. The research method for ministry is attributed to Evelyn and James Whitehead’s attending, asserting, and responding. The study addresses three Catholic traditions-- the USCCB's Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age, emerging disciples, and Lectio-Visio Divina -- juxtaposed to learning styles and postmodern American teens who attend two Chicagoland area Catholic high schools. The students were asked about their social media usage, teaching preferences and definition of a disciple. The interviewed students elicited a visual image, upon request, which represents discipleship and through the process of lamination described their image. The students spoke to their preferences of teaching styles along with how they would teach younger students. Students conversed about the time when they most felt like a disciple.
The interviewed students exhibited transformative learning after generating visual images from their personal mobile phones. The interviewees’ definition of a disciple became more elaborate as they progressed with the visual ethnographic discussion. The initial feedback to discipleship prompted an intellectual answer and through lamination their response became more personal. The students utilized generative learning to create a thick description of their previous knowledge about discipleship.
The students’ desire is to have their lessons taught with visuals and other supportive techniques, including time to assess new epistemologies. These findings suggest that the students are interested in a more embodied teaching experience which could promote teens into becoming emerging disciples. Transformative learning tools are found not to oppose, but rather complement the USCCB's Framework. It is suggested that the Gospel Visual Creation or to Pray the Lesson are teaching techniques which could assist in the formation of disciples among Catholic high school students.

THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF AN EIGHT-WEEK, SMALL GROUP-BASED BIBLE STUDY COURSE FOR MARRIED COUPLES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

Author
David Alan Shaffer D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to answer the research question, “Does an eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants?” Today’s most effective marriage programs focus on important themes relevant to marriage and include transparency, a biblical foundation, and gentle accountability. Still, the question follows, “What comes next to further strengthen marriages?” This project answers this question with a process-based Bible study that, because of its design, strengthens the marriage relationship with improved communication, conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction (the three measures of this project). This methodology includes weekly individual study, couple discussion, and small group interaction.
Through the use of pre- and post-course surveys, the couples who participated in a study of Galatians provided ample quantitative research that yielded group, couples, and gender statistics. The couples’ data was measured by Positive Couple Agreement (PCA), which identifies couples’ responses as a relational strength when they choose the same response or are within one choice of each other (4 [agree] or 5 [strongly agree] on a positively worded statement, 2 [disagree] or 1 [strongly disagree] on a negatively worded statement).
The researcher designed Galatians: True Freedom – A Small Group Study for Couples to implement the new methodology to be evaluated. The quantitative data based on the pre- and post-course surveys provided the means to prove whether the three measures strengthened the marriages of the participating couples. The data supports the veracity of all three hypotheses (improved communication, improved conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction), showing strong growth in each measure, most notably with communication. These results led to the research conclusion: Yes, the methodology used in this eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples developed for this applied research project did strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants.

CAROL, KEVORKIAN, AND CHRISTINA YANG:
MORAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH BIOETHICAL CASE STUDIES IN

Author
Derek Wilson D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
The thesis of this project argues that ethical education for too long has been a matter of principled approach built upon justice while neglecting moral development research of females through the works of Carol Gilligan. Bioethical education is best done in a balance of justice and relationships channeling both the works of Gilligan and Lawrence Kohlberg. By engaging with the people most affected by bioethics, those who are disabled, students are able to build empathy through case studies and thus make better informed ethical decisions. This project centers around a curriculum written for high school students studying bioethics. It lays out a groundwork for a theological basis for Christian education in bioethics as well as provides curriculum for the course.

Intergenerational faith education through death and preparation education

Author
Seongyong Lee
Abstract
Death is a place where everything appears. No one can hide before death or demonstrate oneself. Hence, it may be more fearful. In the present age, we try to forget the word, death. Christianity, however, has constantly been speaking of beating death, and even more so than victory, it has been talking about the work bearing new fruit through death. The modern church has told such words of salvation but has not accepted into its heart – where a place to accept faith. The author tries to find the following in his ministry setting: the reason why we must think of death, a new perspective of seeing death, experiences facing death, a life of self-denying and carrying one’s cross through participation in death, and the biblical teachings of productive death as a grain of wheat falls into the earth, dies, and bears much fruit.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Confirmation, Community, and Commitment: Evaluating Church Attendance at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Author
James W. Hunter D.Min.
Abstract
his work studies the phenomenon of individuals dropping out of active church membership after confirmation. The positive approach adopted to examine this issue is through Appreciative Inquiry. Rather than trying to "fix" a problem, this paper studies what is good in the current confirmation preparation program, discovering how those good elements can be improved, and the importance of community in retaining members. The problem is analyzed through Holy Scripture, the Great Tradition of Christianity, and the experiences of eleven parishioners who have matriculated through the confirmation process and remained active in the life of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Authority of Scripture in Today's PC(USA)

Author
Peter David Jones D.Min.
Abstract
For this project, a small group of dedicated adults studied the Authority of Scripture using historical, theological, confessional, and experiential methods seeking to better understand scriptural interpretation and application to daily life. Of specific interest, the group ended with a case study of scriptural approaches to the topic of homosexuality, seeking to understand how biblical interpretation affects daily life.

Below is an excerpt from the project report:
"Too often, clergy treat some information gathered in seminary as secret knowledge reserved for those deemed worthy enough to obtain it. This must emerge from either too high an opinion of oneself, too low an opinion of congregants, or an addiction to the power of knowledge, but the end result has been a highly educated clergy speaking to relatively ignorant congregants. This, of course, is no indictment of congregants, but rather a commentary on the ineffectiveness of clergy in appropriately and clearly providing people with the tools necessary to grow in their faith; to grow beyond the children’s sermon understanding of the Bible itself. This project is one example of ways in which the clergy can engage with congregants on a more level playing field, trusting in their abilities and Spiritual maturity to guide the process of learning. I have often heard it said that people enter seminary with strong faith, have their faith shaken, then emerge even stronger than when they entered. Why do we not believe that congregants can and should follow that same pattern in their faith journeys?"

Teaching church history in the local congregation

Author
Brent Klein D.Min.
Abstract
Using Church History: An Essential Guide, by Justo Gonzalez1 as the primary text and by means of a Bible study, study guides, and presentations on various historical events, over a ten-week period, the participants were led through a brief study of the twothousand-year history of the New Testament Church.

The purposes of the project are to 1) teach the participants significant events of the Church’s past beyond what they have learned from Acts, certain events of the Reformation era, and the events that have occurred in their lifetimes; 2) help them see that God has guided the events of history for the benefit of the Gospel and His Church; and 3) help them find assurance and guidance from how the Church has dealt with issues in the past as they deal with current issues in the Church.

On the parish level, the teaching of God’s Word and the Catechism is first and foremost. In addition to that, it is also worth considering teaching some church history to the laity. God’s people can derive guidance (and along with that, assurance) from the events of the Church’s past and the lives of Christians who came before.
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