Church administration

Privacy and the prayers of the people

Brian C. Hardee
Recent changes in Federal laws have created an increased awareness of the potential for violations of personal privacy in many different areas of community life, including the Prayers of the People as they are offered in many churches. By writing in the form of a pastoral essay, I examine the privacy issues that exist in common church practices. I then look specifically at the Prayers of the People as they have been developing in the Evangelical and Reformed tradition of the United Church of Christ to highlight the growing need to have worship leaders and planners examine their Prayers of the People to see if there are privacy issues present in their worship. I seek to highlight the very real possible damages that can be caused through the unauthorized giving out of personal information in many of these prayers, while also pointing out the possible qualities of that prayer time that can be lost in an attempt to completely safeguard the privacy rights of all who are involved. I then suggest steps that can be taken to preserve public sharing during the Prayers of the People while simultaneously attempting to respect people's right to privacy. Finally, I suggest an etiquette for the Prayers of the People for churches to use for their practice of the Prayers of the People when it includes the opportunity for public sharing of specific joys and concerns.

A Strategy to Develop Change Readiness for Succession Plans in a Post-Baby Boomer Era at First Baptist Church in Crowley, Texas

Aaron William Summers D.Min.
The Church is at a tipping point. Over the next five-to-ten years, decisions made by the local church will either prepare it for closure or seize the future for the Kingdom. The Western Church loses the second-largest generation when the Baby Boomers [Boomers] either die or become unable to continue attending and serving.
Is the church prepared? Is the church constructing a succession plan for when the Boomers are gone? The church will experience extreme shifts during this transition in leadership style, methodology, authenticity, polity, structure, and behavior. This project sought to understand the complexities of the coming generational transition and provide a starting point through the development of the change readiness of First Baptist Church [FBCC], Crowley, Texas.
The results of the project revealed an increase in change readiness for organizational succession planning after a sermon series designed to promote understanding and readiness toward change. These findings demonstrate that with proper biblical presentation and much prayer, the local church can be hopeful for the future.

La teología de conflicto del Apóstol Pablo : ¿como la historia del Apóstol Pablo camino a Damasco ha influenciado al ministerio pastoral en Boston, MA?

Isaías Rivera
How should the experience of the road to Damascus be understood, mainly in terms of a "change", a "variation", and "a shift" or "a designation"? and how it directly influences the life and thought of the Apostle Paul. That is, it should be seen as (1) a radical change in thought, perspective, commitments, and practice, involving an overt or subconscious break with one's past identity (ie, "conversion"), (2) a new perception and a marked change in form or appearance, but not necessarily a break with the past (ie "transformation"), (3) a change in outlook and practice, but without any distancing from the past (ie "alternating" ), or simply (4 ) a call to a new career or a particular pursuit (ie "call")?

To what extent has the connection between the Pneumatologically experience of the Apostle Paul and the modern exponents of the preaching of the gospel been lost? Exploring the different alternatives that the text offers, I want to establish why it is important for today to rescue the reality of the importance of how the lack of understanding of this encounter between the Apostle Paul and the neonatological experience experienced by the Apostle, influenced the rest of his religious life, and marked a before and after.

A manual for churches : towards congregational maturity

Michael Hambley
This manual is designed to assist the local church in developing a missional conversation. Recognizing that conversation shapes and reflects the cultural context, this manual is presented with the objective of locating the congregation's conversation in the narrative of Scripture. As that narrative begins to shape the conversation of the local church, a new culture is formed within the church and a new engagement with the wider culture is made possible in which the church carries out its vocation as the people of God. Paul's epistles served as the primary basis of research in discerning the pattern of a congregational narrative in the story of Christ's body.

This manual, then, is about an adventure in conversation. Congregations, as bodies called upon to express the story of Christ's body in their shared lives, have both an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate the particular shape of community that God has crafted for missional witness in North America. To that end, this manual presents conversation as an instrument of transformation. The images, symbols, metaphors, and parables at play in the conversation of the local congregation can be formidable when embodied in their practice of being church.

Pastoral leadership in dysfunctional congregations : a family systems approach toward wholeness

John M Hirsch
Many churches in America today are experiencing extreme levels of stress and conflict. One survey concluded that at any given time more than 30,000 Protestant churches in the United States are in serious conflict. This equates to about one church in twelve in serious conflict. At the same time, there is a growing body of knowledge in the field of family systems theory that can assist a person's managing of his/her life in a way that can influence these congregations toward a higher level of functioning. The purpose of this project was to discern the potential benefit to parish pastors involved in a limited experiential process using family systems theory as the basis for teaching and interpreting their family of origin issues for personal growth.

The Preface to the paper provides an example of a highly anxious and low functioning church. It is a true story not unlike those of many churches in America today. It provides a point of reference for the first chapter which introduces a family systems view or theory as a model for interpreting the behavior of congregations and their members.

Since Bowen's theory is based on an evolutionary biological model of living organisms and since the church from the beginning has been a living entity, the theory has been used to interpret and explain life within churches and synagogues.

The third chapter describes a project in which clergy were asked to participate in a limited number of small group sessions over a 4-6 month period. The sessions involved some interactive teaching about natural family systems theory and, after having done some family of origin exploration, each participant presented a genogram of his family to the group for processing, utilizing natural family systems concepts.

Staffing to fulfill the Great Commission : paraprofessionals in the church

Rodney D Otto
This manual is designed for both lay and professional church leaders to enable congregations to grow through creative staffing. This study presupposes a working knowledge of church growth principles. The manual has five chapters, an appendix and a bibliography.

Chapter One introduces the term paraprofessional and describes the climate in the church creating the need for this new type of church staffing.

Chapter Two further establishes the need for discipleship and growth today. The business model of staffing and management principles adds credibility to paraprofessionals. Growth is documented through this multi-level staffing model by a partial survey of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod congregations already using such staff.

Chapter Three builds a biblical and confessional base for the paraprofessional model by identifying the call of every Christian in baptism, the special call of the professional church worker, and the special call of the paraprofessional and volunteer staff.

Chapter Four outlines the way paraprofessionals have evolved at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Kentwood, Michigan. Basic guidelines are developed from this experience and the information gleaned from other churches using the paraprofessional model

Chapter Five concludes the manual with a look to the future about the use of paraprofessionals in the church.

Churches in conflict : a conflict management manual for church leaders

David P Breen
This four-unit manual is designed for church leaders as a guide to conflict management in the local congregation It discusses : 1) the theory of organizational conflict management, 2) the compilation of data from a study of how church leaders respond to conflict, 3) the relationship between self-esteem, power, anger, and conflict management, and 4) the biblical and theological themes related to conflict and conciliation.

Unit One defines what happens in a church conflict. Feelings about conflict, types of conflict, the elements of conflict, the patterns of conflict, and the important place of self-esteem in conflict response are identified here.

Unit Two reports the results of a survey of approximately 500 church leaders in the Reformed Church of America's Particular Synod of Michigan. This study measured the substance of church conflicts and the style of conflict response church leaders developed. A statistical analysis of the results identifies which of several variables affect the substance of conflicts and the conflict response of church leaders.

Unit Three explores the relationship between attitudes toward self-esteem, power, anger, and conflict management. These discussions form the basis for a formulation of skill development in conflict collaboration and conciliation.

Unit Four is a resource unit. Three Old Testament and three New Testament conflict narratives are discussed with attention given to identifying biblical and theological themes about conflict and its management. Other resources included in this unit are 1) an annotated bibliography of published resources, 2) a list of agencies who provide assistance in conflict management, and 3) a model of a two-part workshop on conflict management for church leaders.

The distinctive nature of the parish ministry and the making whole of God's people

K Frank Graves
The purpose of this research is to define the role or the particular identity of the parish pastor who does counseling.

The research was shaped by three questions:

How does a pastor view a person who comes to him/her for counseling?
What is the difference between pastoral care, pastoral counseling, and non-Christian therapy?
What is distinctively "pastoral" about pastoral counseling in the parish and elsewhere?

To answer the first question, a Christian view of God, the world, and mankind was examined. How a pastor views these will dramatically affect how he/she does counseling. If God is viewed as gracious and loving of everything and everybody, as opposed to being a vindictive moral judge, that certainly will affect the method and direction a pastor takes when counseling others.

To answer the second question, the difference between pastoral care, pastoral counseling, and non-Christian therapy were examined. It was discovered that the main difference between pastoral care and counseling was mainly one of degree. What applies to pastoral care basically applies to pastoral counseling. For both to be done well and effectively, they involve a relationship of love and grace.

To answer the third question, concern was focused in three main areas: (1) an operative theology, (2) the moral context, and (3) language or theological themes.

Principles of pastoral presence and leadership within the congregational emotional system

Jesse Abbott
This project is designed to provide a framework for thinking about pastoral leadership in a congregation. This framework takes the form of four interlocking leadership principles that have their foundation in Natural Systems Theory and Creation Theology. Each of the four chapters of this project is dedicated to one leadership principle. In order to lay out the theory of the principles and then move toward practice of them, each chapter has four sections: a definition of the principle; biblical images of the principle; an exploration of the principle when exercised in a congregation; and recommended ways a pastor can work toward functioning according to the principle.

This project is intended to provide pastors and other ministry leaders a practical and thought-provoking framework, based in Natural Systems Theory, for exercising less anxious and visionary leadership within a congregation.

An assessment of the Congregational Discipling Model : what's working? what's not? directions for the future

John L Schrock
The Congregational Discipling Model (CDM) is a way of organizing churches that has been developed for use with Mennonite Church USA congregations. This Doctor of Ministry research dissertation seeks to understand the history of the CDM and to assess how the model has been implemented and is working in congregations that have reorganized using the CDM.

The researcher is an ordained minister in Mennonite Church USA who has served in pastoral leadership in congregations from both of the denominations that became Mennonite Church USA (the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church) as well as congregations in the newly formed denomination. The story of the researcher's journey in pastoral ministry in Mennonite congregations is included in this project dissertation since this story provides some of the context for the research that was done. A chapter is also included that looks at how Family Systems Theory helps to inform the researcher's perspective on how congregations function-and also how the researcher functions in congregational leadership.
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