Church (Ecclesiology)

Pedagogical paradigm for leadership in a postmodern mega church context

Author
Joan Prentice D.Min.
Abstract
This paper presents a theological premise for understanding of the Church as it exists in Christ and its participation within the perichoretic relationship of the Triune God. The model is drawn from the interrelatedness and interpenetration of the three divine persons of the Godhead and the Church’s reality within that relationship. It sets forth a theology that is relational, and allows for a Christology, pneumatology and ecclesiology that is expressed in praxis. It is relational and missional in its outcome and situates a primordial understanding of the Church as an ontological and organic reality.

The Church’s behavior, that is, its work, worship, and mission is influenced by its own perception of self. In other words, the way we perceive ourselves as the church will be reflected in the way we do church and the way we are the church in the world, not just as institution, but as being; having its life, essential nature and personality inherent in the triune God of grace.

"Where two or three are gathered..." : a study of multiple Christian congregations under one steeple

Author
Karin E. Pejack
Abstract
This project explores how the practice of two or more Christian congregations sharing a single facility impacts the participating congregations' understanding of mission and ministry. How has the sharing experience, perhaps in surprising ways, affected the faith journeys of the congregations involved in facility-sharing? Through interviews, pastors and lay leaders of congregations involved in facility-sharing outline mission priorities of the participating congregations before and after beginning facility-sharing. Other data, such as details of preliminary agreements, interaction between/among groups, shared events and/or outreach, as well as financial benefits and liabilities for congregations sharing a facility, are collected and analyzed with an eye toward how this information reflects mission priorities and shifts in understanding of mission and ministry. This study is a qualitative accounting of congregations involved in facility-sharing in the region of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, based on a compilation of stories about their current experiences with facility-sharing.

Gender Dysphoria And The Question Of Membership In The Local Church

Author
Shane A. Patrick D.Min.
Abstract
The past decade in American culture has increasingly become an exercise in deconstructionism in almost every way imaginable. The cultural touchstones of recent years include racially motivated protesting and rioting, claims of systematic racism and white supremacy, climate crisis, record-level inflation, a rise in cultural interest in neo-Marxist and socialist ideas, supply-chain gridlock, claims of election fraud, and record-high crime rates throughout the country. Another of these cultural touchstones, and the contextual focus of this project, is the active attempt of America’s increasingly secular culture to deconstruct and redefine sex, gender, and other sexual norms. The zeitgeist of this cultural moment includes a decoupling of sex and gender, and an attempt to encourage and normalize transgender identities and/or gender fluidity. This cultural deconstructionism also runs contra to the Christian worldview and Judeo-Christian values which introduces unique theological and ecclesiological challenges within the local church context. Among these challenges is the question of how to faithfully approach local church membership decisions with candidates who personally experience the burdens of gender ideology—which is the focus of this project.

Planning and Implementing Pastoral Succession at University Baptist Church Fairbanks, Alaska

Author
Grady Alan Cox D.Min.
Abstract
This Ministry Research Project aims to demonstrate a system for pastoral succession for congregationally governed Baptist Churches with by-laws requiring a pastor search committee system. Pastoral succession is a viable mechanism for pastoral selection in Baptist polity when certain factors are met, including predecessor’s tenure, successor’s qualifications and calling, and congregational understanding and support. Chapter 1 explains the opportunity for pastoral succession to create healthier churches and outlines the context, rationale, goals, and methodology used for this specific project. Chapter 2 examines biblical examples and exhortations from Scripture about succession of spiritual leaders in the Old and New Testaments (Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha, Paul/Pastors, Jesus/Apostles). Chapter 3 argues for the advantages of pastoral succession through historical examples (St. Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller), and explores practical advantages supported by biblical leadership theory. Chapter 4 describes the planning, implementation, and results of a pastoral succession at University Baptist Church Fairbanks, AK. Chapter 5 evaluates the effectiveness of pastoral succession through set goals, defines theological principles supporting succession, and highlights best practices and common mistakes. Finally, it analyzes the possibility of using a similar process for healthy and intentional ministry leadership transitions.

Developing a Text-Driven Preaching and Learning Culture at Redemption Hill Baptist Church in Albany, NY

Author
Robert Eloy Martinez D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to develop a healthy text-driven preaching and learning culture among the disciples at Redemption Hill Baptist Church in Albany, NY. Chapter 1 introduces the ministry context and story of Redemption Hill Baptist Church, along with the overall goals represented in this project. Chapter 2 shows the biblical and theological support for developing a text-driven preaching and learning culture within the local church through an exegesis of three passages of Scripture (Ephesians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Timothy 4:1-4). Chapter 3 presents historical and practical support for the need of a healthy church culture that is centered on text-driven preaching and learning. Chapter 4 moves to describe the actual project implemented, concentrating on the biblical content, and the teaching methodology within the course that was developed and taught over a twelve-week period of time. Finally, chapter 5 is focused on evaluating the project that was completed while also regarding the success of the goals implemented, along with any variations desired.

A Critique of Multi-Site Churches and Southern Baptist Ecclesiology

Author
Mack Dale Roller Jr. D.Min.
Abstract
There are very few subjects in the church growth arena attracting more controversy than the subject of Multi-Site Churches (MSC). On one hand, MSCs have been touted as being successful in “reaching” more people with fewer resources, making it a very efficient and effective strategy for church growth. On the other hand, the structure of MSCs have been called into question. Some claim this movement runs wide of Baptist ecclesiology, resulting in a deluded and distorted representation of the NT teaching concerning the doctrine of the church. Southern Baptist opponents claim MSCs are a breach of Article VI of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. The question at hand: Is it possible for one church to maintain Southern Baptist ecclesiology, particularly adhering to the BFM2000 Article VI, and adopt the MSC strategy? The research will address Southern Baptist ecclesiology from a biblical and historical perspective. An evaluation of the definition and history of the MSC movement as well as an evaluation of the various structures of MSC strategies will provide essential for a solid conclusion. A review of the critics, as well as a response to their prominent objections, is necessary to achieve thorough evaluation. It is the claim of this research project that it is possible for an MSC to adhere to Article VI of the BFM2000. It is the prayer of this researcher that this work will serve Southern Baptist churches as they seek to obey the Great Commission.

Praxis of Acompañamiento to the Pueblo Creyente Towards an Inclusive, Liberative, and Decolonized Pastoral Model as a Gift to the Universal Church

Author
Elia S Cardenas D.Min.
Abstract
There is an inculturated, integrative, liberative, and decolonized model of church in the highlands of Chiapas. This Diocese in an autochthonous church developed by the prophetic vision of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, who knew how to read the signs of the times, was inspired by the vision of the Vatican Second Council, the Medellin Conference in Latin America, and the Church’s preferential option for the poor. He succeeded in restoring the dignity to the indigenous people with his subversive praxis and helped them become subjects of their own destiny. Today, they still walk accompanied by the courageous pastoral team of San Cristobal de las Casas.

An essay on the Particular Synod of Michigan (Reformed Church in America) : its history, present identity and program, and its future

Author
Howard D Schipper
Abstract
Jesus was explicit when he promised to build the church upon the rock of Peter's confession, but He never spelled out how the organizational superstructure was to be formed. Peter and the the apostles, along with the expanding followers of Jesus, seemed simply to live out the early church history, building structure as it was required. These many centuries later, the church consequently displays a variety of forms and structures by which it organizes its authority and mission.

The basic patterns of church polity, however, may be reduced to three: congregational, Presbyterian, and episcopal. The derivatives are many, and have often been the painful result of needless controversy.

Not all the battles the church has engaged in were theo1ogical ones. Frequently divisions occurred or became entrenched over the preservation of a socio-political system or someone's personal position. Such perversity of the people who led and shaped the church over the years should not surprise us who hold are formation concept of depravity's permeation, I suppose. What we are about to find is the story of the ordinary people and the ordinary development of an extraordinary, divine institution: the church.

Developing a Pastor-Led Model Using a Text-Driven Invitation for the Effective Equipping of Decision Counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, Texas

Author
Teddy Wayne Sorrells Jr D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to train decision counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, TX to counsel church attenders who have responded to a text-driven invitation issued at the end of a sermon. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of Living Water Church and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides the biblical precepts that call for a response to every sermon preached and the necessary need to recruit and equip others to help during this time of response. Chapter 3 explains why and how text-driven sermons call for a response and presents a model for text-driven preachers to equip decisions counselors. Chapter 4 presents the project and its methodology. Chapter 5 will evaluate the results of the project through a complete analysis of the specific goals completed. This project will develop a pastor-led model using a text-driven invitation for the effective equipping of decision counselors.

To Be Churched or Unchurched: The Millennial's Dilemma

Author
Robert J. Phillips D.Min.
Abstract
This project will address the decline of the millennial generation’s church attendance within the 08033 zip code during the past decade. There are times a church can have the appearance of being a successful church, but the zeal of both the clergy and the respective congregation is slowly diminishing. The older generation continues to do their best to keep the ministry viable and alive to some degree, but at the same time, a younger generation, many times made up by millennials does not see the importance of the communal aspect of church other than what occurs on Sunday morning. It is becoming more obvious that that we are dealing with a generation of believers that are not like our parents or grandparents. Tradition appears not to be the millennials calling card. We will show that millennials love God, not just the church service that has stood for decades. Today’s church must provide opportunities for them to serve based upon their needs for church and commitment. The statistical data was gathered by the author of this thesis through several one-on-one discussions with the clergy of the five surveyed churches and with several millennial residents of the town of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Examples in the ministry of the apostle Paul were gathered from the MacDonald Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald and A Theology of the New Testament by George E. Ladd.
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