Church renewal

STEERING STRAIGHT: PREACHING THE TRUSTWORTHY SAYINGS OF THE PASTORAL EPISTLES AS MODELED BY HERSCHEL H. HOBBS DURING HIS PASTORATE OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA

Author
Zachary Andrew Tunnell D.Min.
Abstract
This project argues that a correlation exists between healthy practices within the local church and the faithful preaching of biblically-sound doctrine. Evidence of this correlation is shown by focusing on the faithful interpretation and application of the Trustworthy Sayings of the Pastoral Epistles as modeled by the preaching of Herschel Hobbs.
Beginning with a consideration of God’s plan for preaching to be of first importance within the practices of a local church, this project establishes the importance of biblically-sound doctrine for church health and revitalization. Chapter 2 begins the project’s examination of the Trustworthy Sayings, with each chapter offering an analysis of a related sermon preached by Herschel Hobbs during his pastorate at First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The Trustworthy Sayings do not appear in the same order as they are in the Pastoral Epistles, but rather are placed so that one saying builds upon the next. First Timothy 1:15 (Chapter 2) addresses soteriological views in Southern Baptist history. First Timothy 4:8-10 (Chapter 3) considers the role of doctrinal preaching in discipling church members who will be devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 considers Titus 3:4-8 and how believers who are devoted to God will also be devoted to good works which honor God. Second Timothy 2:11-13 (Chapter 5) speaks of God’s faithfulness and the hope which His faithfulness provides for the local church. First Timothy 3:1 (Chapter 6) addresses the character of the called and considers the qualifications of a senior pastor.
The project concludes (Chapter 7) with a charge to the pulpit and the local church which, if implemented, will help protect the local church from suffering from doctrinal drift. Three recommendations for steering straight are provided.

The effects of big picture presentations of the biblical story on the missional orientation of church goers

Author
Kyungsoo Kim
Abstract
Nearly a half-century of Christian scholarship points to the ongoing issue of missional deficiency within the Church, a pressing concern that coincides with Christianity’s observed decline in the West. Research on the subject indicates a widespread de-emphasis on God’s mission within Christian institutions, from churches great and small to the seminaries that train their leaders. This consequentially obstructs the missional development of individual believers, the true units of the Body of Christ, who were sent by Christ to carry out God’s mission and advance God’s Kingdom not only overseas, but in their local communities. Given this stagnant and self-defeating state of the Western Church, a remedy that restores the Church through breakthrough missional growth must be found. For this study, a cross-disciplinary methodology was constructed from the substance of scripture, the unifying lens of biblical theology, and relevant social scientific models specifically concerned with the idea adoption process and the effectiveness of training practices. The research conducted reveals that yes, a focused missional message with a unifying emphasis on scripture can observably improve the missional orientation of believers, realigning them with God’s mission in their daily lives. The implications and applications of the results are significant, showing that all test group participants improved significantly in their missional knowledge and missional postures/attitudes after receiving the big picture message. There were also significant indications that participants were forming missional intentions/decisions that could inform future implementation of missional behaviors for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. This study provides ample evidence that the key to developing the missional orientation and awareness of churchgoers is a big picture approach to the biblical story, which traces the origins and trajectory of God’s mission from the days of Moses to the end of days.

African American millennials : silent observers waiting for the prodigal church to come home

Author
Daniel E. Moore
Abstract
"To say the relevance of the black church is in question is an understatement. The black church was once the social, cultural, and political sanctuary of the black community. Today, in many ways, the black church has distanced herself from the norms and mores of the African American struggle. Her agenda is disconnected. Her programs are irrelevant. Her social engagement is faint and distant. Her influence in the community is extraneous. As a result, black millennials, who represent the largest cohort of African Americans alive today, have waned in their attendance and commitment due to theological and ideological dissonance. Research regarding black Millennial beliefs and behaviors reveal that they have not rejected their faith in God, but they no longer see the church's relevance amid the challenges of everyday life. The resurgence of the Black Church depends on her willingness to engage black millennials by transforming herself into a culture that is loving, accepting, and embracing of the gifts, talents, and diverse nuances of the black millennial generation." -- Leaf [2].

The early Methodists : lessons in renewal and transformation for the contemporary church

Author
Daniel Mejia-Munoz
Abstract
"Can the experiences of the early Methodists help midsize churches in the United States in decline find growth and new life? The early Methodists experienced renewal and revival as they explored alternative and innovative missional models. The author conducted a survey among United Methodist clergy and laity to investigate the need for change and innovation in their congregations and what tools would help both leaders and churches thrive. Additionally, the author interviewed modern innovative Methodists who in their work are modeling a new way of being church today. The project suggests that the early Methodists can inspire churches in unique ways to be innovative and transformative in their contexts, congregations, and communities." -- Leaf [2].

Wesleyan revitalization of the church rooted in a theology of abundance

Author
Anthony Jason McCullough
Abstract
"How can Prattville First United Methodist Church employ a theology of abundance through engagement in the Wesleyan means of grace to overcome a religious identity of overwhelming scarcity? The author's project explores and focuses on this question through a re-envisioning of ministry structures within a local United Methodist congregation through contextual assessment, community collaboration and Biblical engagement. Through theological engagement with the subject of Biblical abundance, this project paper will articulate how a church can move from the power of a belief in scarcity to a practical holiness rooted in professing God's good news. Through small group conversations, experiential worship services, Bible studies, a sermon series, and intentional formation efforts, First United Methodist Church has grown in its orientation towards Biblical abundance, renewed religious identity and revitalization. The paper serves as a reflection on this transformation process with hopes to empower other local churches as they seek to discern and initiate revitalization in their congregations." -- Leaf [2].

A study on the revitalization of local church through environmental missions : focusing on ecumenical ecology

Author
Gwang Sub Lee
Abstract
". . . . Can Jeonnong Methodist Church be established as a green community church that accepts the environmental crisis and responds to it as an essential issue of faith? And can this environmental practice become a valid tool for communicating with the church's surrounding region? Then will the church show a way to move forward as a village church? The three mission theologies discussed in this paper are suggested as methods to overcome this problem. The first is ecumenical mission theology. This theology is used as the perspective for looking at environmental and ecological problems. The second is "Laudato si'", written by Pope Francis. The integrated ecology presented in "Laudato si'" gives a deep insight into practical theology with a strong foundation in spiritual theology. The third is the village ministry theory, which has recently been spotlighted as a natural result of local ecumenism. Environmental faith inherently aims for recovery by using communication and harmony. These three theological frameworks allow an assessment of whether green faith can be implemented through practical theology and missiology. . . ." -- Leaf [2].

Hospitality, discipleship, and awe : a Pentecostal growth paradigm

Author
Gregory A. Carrol
Abstract
"The author of this project investigated whether a renewed focus on hospitality, intentional discipleship, and a revamped worship service could precipitate numerical and spiritual growth at the Queens Faith Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Queens, New York. He adapted and taught a hospitality and discipleship curriculum, preached a quarterly sermon series, and brought the congregation through a process of liturgical renovation. Document analysis, surveys, artifact elicitation, and the assistance of direct observers were the primary qualitative tools used in this intervention. Additionally, with the help of an app hosting company he designed and programmed a free church application to bolster the congregation's hospitality and discipleship practices. The results of the yearlong study signified an appreciable increase in average inhouse and online church attendance. There was also an overall increase in member perception of their own spiritual growth." -- Leaf [2].

There is life after death : using Christ's call to sacrificial living as a foundation for church turn-arounds in urban settings

Author
Jevon A. Caldwell-Gross
Abstract
"This project is a response to the rapid decline found within today's churches. A sizable percentage of the United Methodist Churches (UMC) within the Greater New Jersey Conference (GNJC) are steep in decline; and St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Montclair, New Jersey faced a similar struggle. The approach to this project was to use Christ 's example of sacrificial love as a model of how a congregation can organize her people, procedures, and programs to fully live out her mission in a rapidly changing culture. An ongoing assessment tool was created to assist St. Mark's United Methodist Church and others to determine what aspects of the church's ministry should be ended and allowed to expire. This assessment tool was administered during a one-day seminar with three different congregations. The researcher of this project held phone interviews with each pastor after a three-month period to gauge the effects of their commitment to letting go of certain aspects of their ministry." -- Leaf [2].

Developing an Associational Replanter Assessment Guide for the North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Georgia

Author
James Troy Stewart
Abstract
The project's purpose was to develop and associational replanter assessment guide for the North American Mission Board (NAMB). The project model for this project was the ministry research model. First, the project director explored the field of church replanting to determine a list of the essential church replanter characteristics. Second, the project director researched a selection of church planter assessment processes to provide a report on best practices. Third, the project director designed a replanter pre-assessment process for online development. Fourth, the project director developed a replanter assessment guide for NAMB to provide local associations and state conventions. Finally, the project director presented the pre-assessment design and assessment guide to the NAMB Replant team for approval. The project sought to increase the NAMB Replant team's impact to equip local Southern Baptist Associations to identify, assess, and develop church replanters in an effort to replant healthier churches in the future.

A Theological Curriculum of Church Revitalization From First Corinthians for Fellowship Church in Southwest Florida

Author
Timothy Chad Pigg D.Min.
Abstract
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians serves as the source of the curriculum developed for church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida. The researcher argued that biblical orthodoxy leads to biblical orthopraxy, which will create a situation conducive for church revitalization. The project has three chapters. In Chapter 1 the project is proposed. Chapter 2 explains, in detail, the implementation of the project. Finally, in Chapter 3, the researcher provides an analysis of the data gathered concerning the effectiveness of 1 Corinthians for church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida. The researcher concluded that the effectiveness of church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida was linked to biblical orthodoxy being taught and applied in the congregation.
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