Church and community

Narratives Church: A Missional Church Planting Path for Cultivating a Unified Theological Vision

Author
Mark Miller D.Min.
Abstract
This research project focused on the development of a unified theological vision for the missional movement. The researcher conducted a thorough investigation of Scripture and current biblical material in order to discern the barriers existing within the missional movement. The researcher looked at key areas that shape the missional church planting movement: leadership development, theological interpretation of the early church, church planting methods and practice, ecclesiology, and the application and interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Four church planting organizations participated: North American Mission Board, Acts 29 Network, Association of Related Churches, and Converge Worldwide. A questionnaire given to each movement revealed that there is indeed a disconnect from one movement to the next in terms of areas mentioned above.

A STUDY OF THE USE OF SCIENTIFIC LANGUAGE BY GEORGE MACLEOD, FOUNDER OF THE IONA COMMUNITY

“What’s the matter? … matter is the matter!”

Author
Mitchell Bunting D.Min.
Abstract
A study of George MacLeod, founder of the Iona Community, and his use of language taken from modern physics. He responds to the dropping of atom bombs in 1945 and develops theological insight into the Incarnation of Christ. His words are recalled as pithy sayings and poetic prayers often associated with in his anti-nuclear campaigning in the Church and the House of Lords. The study draws on his published works including the Iona Community magazine Coracle and the documentary film Sermon in Stone as well as interviews with Iona Community members to assess the significance of his use of such language.

Changing Church Culture among Church Leaders by Moving from Meetings to Mission

Author
Andrew J Kumpel D.Min.
Abstract
This study researched the effect of replacing church committee meetings with missional teaching and experiences of evangelism for church leaders on perceived current and preferred organizational culture. A three-moth moratorium of all official church meetings allowed the researcher to conduct five training sessions on evangelism. The researcher collected quantitative data from both control group participants and experimental group participants using a pretest and posttest model using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument. Findings revealed some changes in perception of both current and preferred organizational culture among research participants. Change in organizations is pervasive because of the degree and rapidity of change in the external environment.

Preaching Post-Disaster: An Examination of Preaching and Preachers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Author
Trent Henderson D.Min.
Abstract
Preaching in a post-disaster context is one of the most challenging assignments for a pastor. Throughout the Scriptures and history, there are multiple examples of those who were called to that challenging and lonely task. This project developed a framework for preaching in the post-disaster context, based on analysis of sermons preached on the Sunday following the 2017 landfall of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and interviews of the pastors who preached those sermons. This project also includes analysis and synthesis of data from surveys. As part of the framework constructed, suggested sermon outlines are included for preachers facing this daunting task.

Mmanwu Ritual In Igboland: Lessons and Implications for Inculturation and Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Nigeria.

Author
Peter Elochukwu Muojekwu Rev. Fr. D.Min.
Abstract
Although “inculturation” is a relatively new term in the long history of Christian theology, it’s roots are found in the mission of Jesus Christ himself. Despite the many important complexities and nuances of sophisticated theologies of inculturation, what it refers to is simply an ideal for how the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms the human family. It refers to a mode of evangelization by which specific cultures avails themselves to the Church, and the Church to specific cultures, for a mutually enriching dialogue in which nothing that is truly good and holy is at lost. Unfortunately, the history of Christianity is littered with the tragic results of various processes of confrontation and domination (particularly of the colonial sort) masquerading as evangelization, but actually profoundly at odds with the inculturative model of Christ. Far from providing for a holistic and authentically “holy” union of universal Gospel and local culture, these processes have created what, in many instances, have been unnecessary rifts and even hostilities between what is perceived as “Gospel” and what is perceived as “culture.”
This thesis project is aimed at exploring the phenomenon of Mmanwu, an indigenous Igbo religious institution which has for centuries been at the center of what might be referred to as one of the many examples of both the misadventures of inculturation gone wrong in Nigeria and the pregnant possibilities of inculturation done properly. Because questions about inculturation with respect to Mmanwu are inherently interreligious, the thesis will conclude by attempting to apply some of the lessons from the questions around Mmanwu and inculturation to yet another important locus of inculturation in Nigeria: Christian-Muslim dialogue

That They May Have Life: The Congregation's Opportunity to Strengthen Resiliency and Foster Wholeness Amid Trauma in the Lives of Volunteer First Responders

Author
Jason Cashing D.Min.
Abstract
With every emergency, first responders are exposed to a degree of traumatic stress. This Secondary Traumatic Stress can sap the life and purpose from first responders, and the accumulation of unaddressed STS can lead to burnout, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and even suicide. The congregation, though practices of Sabbath and Lament, can offer pathways to help mitigate STS and strengthen resilience. Looking at the invitation to Abundant Life in John 10, the Church’s calling and the world’s need intersect, providing a framework and a language to help first responders and congregations alike realize the fullness of Life offered to all.

Praying the Church Beyond the Walls

Author
Redonia M Thomas
Abstract
What kind of intercessory prayer ignites and energizes a church to become more engaged in the community? Research shows there is a consistent decline in people attending church. The two congregations I serve are experiencing this decline. They were more inward focused and less missional minded. At one time, the four walls of the church were sufficient for ministry, because people came to the house of God. However, there has been a shift in the demographics, the attitudes and behaviors of the community. This project focuses on how intercessory prayer helps congregations seek the welfare of the city.

Reclaiming Mission and Evangelism as Wesleyan Christians in Our Church and Neighborhoods for the Transformation of Lives and Communities

Author
Deborah C Suddarth
Abstract
How can Collierville United Methodist Church wholistically address the spiritual yearnings of mind, body, and soul of those in the church's immediate neighborhoods by sharing God's incarnational love through community development, while at the same time revitalizing the intentional discipleship of the congregation? The author embarked on a community development project, bringing together the congregation, neighborhood and community churches, and four targeted neighborhoods in Collierville, TN, creating a coalition: Collierville Connected. Spiritual and leadership development were emphasized in every team meeting. Surveys conducted determined possible goals for the coalition, the first resulting in the opening of a Neighborhood Resource Center.

Fostering Revival and Growth in an Urban Blighted Area through Community Stakeholders

Author
Ronald L Slaughter
Abstract
How can community stakeholders partnering with Saint James Church address urban blight? The author researched how a partnership between the church and community stakeholders can lead to creative financing of a new church building and the revitalization of an urban blighted area. He studied how Nehemiah's strategy for redeveloping urban Jerusalem, can become a model for the 21st century urban church. He presents insights from interviews with community stakeholders along with creative marketing strategies to launch a capital campaign to keep members excited. Lastly, the author shares relevant strategies for building a new church in an urban blighted community.

Developing a ministry evangelism strategy for Ridglea Heights Baptist Church, Escatawpa, Mississippi

Author
Dustin H Stewart
Abstract
Ministry evangelism occurs when the needs of the community are met with the love of God's people and the truth of the Gospel. The purpose of this project was to develop a ministry evangelism strategy for Ridglea Heights Baptist Church, Escatawpa, Mississippi. The project was focused upon four main phases. First, the project director researched contemporary practices of evangelism ministry to determine what practices may be effective in the local community. Second, using demographic data and a local community needs survey, the project director and team analyzed the needs and lifestyles of the community in Escatawpa, Mississippi. Third, using a strategy team consisting of active church members, the project director developed a ministry evangelism strategy for Ridglea Heights Baptist Church in an effort to reach those in the local community who are not connected to another local church body. Fourth, the project director and team presented the ministry evangelism strategy to the deacons and staff of Ridglea Heights Baptist Church for approval.
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