Church renewal

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.

Cultivating Relational, Developmental and Missional Discipleship within a Lutheran Mega-Church

Author
Richard Michael Webb D.Min.
Abstract
Over the last two decades, many Lutheran mega-churches have become stagnant or have begun to decline in worship attendance. Some have even closed their doors, not surviving past their founding leadership. Furthermore, few of these mega-churches offer any kind of intentional growth pathway for their members. What is called discipleship often appears instead to be a classroom-driven assimilation process. This project addressed the problem Lutheran mega-churches have in making disciples by exploring the relational, developmental and missional aspects of discipleship and how they might be integrated into an effective discipleship strategy for use in these mega-churches. This project began with an exploration of Jesus and his followers’ approach to discipleship, as found in the books of Matthew, Luke and Acts. This project also included a review of literature focusing on the relational, missional and developmental aspects of discipleship, as well as Lutheran theological reflection on the overall nature of discipleship. Using a case study format, this researcher then investigated and analyzed the discipleship practices of three Lutheran mega-churches through the use of interviews, documentation, and field observations. Synthesizing the findings resulting from the exploration of Scripture, the review of relevant literature and the field study of three Lutheran mega-churches, the researcher developed an integrated relational, developmental and missional mega-church strategy and pathway for Lutheran mega-churches, particularly for Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa. This strategy and pathway include program alignment and mentoring strategies, a revised visual developmental pathway for use by church members, and a discipleship assessment and resource navigation tool, designed to equip members with the resources they need along their unique discipleship journey.

“FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES”: GOD’S CALLING OF STARRY HASMATALI AS AN HISTORIC INDO-TRINIDADIAN MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN TRINIDAD AND CANADA

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the case story of Starry Hasmatali, who was raised in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada: first to Toronto and then to Moose Jaw. I have decided to interview her in particular, because she was an integral member of an historic Indo-Pentecostal family in the Church of God (Cleveland TN), in Trinidad. With her late husband, Edward D. Hasmatali, they brought the Church of God (CoG) to the island, and were deeply involved in leadership training and church planting.

Indo-Trinidadian Pentecostalism seems to be somewhat of an overlooked area of academic study, thus in interviewing Starry, I will seek to uncover their experiences in ministry in Trinidad and Canada, particularly in relation to their historic connection to the Church of God. I have also chosen to concentrate upon Indo- Trinidadian Pentecostals, since they comprise a significant section of the population of that country.

Indigenous African Demonic Deliverance and its Transference into Pentecostalism with Subsequent Refining: Ghana and its Diaspora as a Case Study

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract

This paper examines how the traditional Ghanaian worldview has been contextualized by grass-roots Christians in Ghana, and further by Ghanaian Pentecostals, and how this has been exported, adapted, and refined from Ghana across national and continental lines to its diaspora. I hope to address some key questions regarding Ghanaian deliverance practices (at home and abroad) and integrate my findings into ministry, whether to Africans or anyone. Some of these questions include: “What drives Ghanaians to seek deliverance? How have they, historically, sought to deal with the spirit realm? How do they currently seek to deal with it? What are some of the differences between a traditional Ghanaian understanding and that of a Ghanaian Pentecostal view?”

A Biblical Examination of an Ontological reading of Theology, in Trinity, in the [Christian] Believer and in Church

Author
Erwin Samuel Henderson Dr Ph.D.
Abstract
Ontological theology considered in some theological works, was given little significance as a primary theme. The thesis attempts to restore prominence and cohesion of an ontological construct, whereby function and structure, are the subordinate product defined by the ontological theological perspective. The effects are far reaching for theological definitions of the essential nature of the Trinity, the believer and the church; representing a paradigmatic shift in theological understanding, affecting profoundly the nature existential Christocentric Christianity.
The ontological theology of Trinity contrasts with the relational subordination, authority-submission proponents and opponents, in substance, in relationship and in function. The recovery of apostolicity as an ontological attribute of Godhead provides significant insight and cohesion to the ontological Trinitarian proposal.
The effects upon the believer ontologically are contrasted with the religious disposition and the positional judicial approach to salvation. The prototypical shift occurs in the Person of Jesus-Christ to an existential reality originated in Trinity and replicated ontologically in the believer. The nature of humankind is thereby reinterpreted giving definition to the “spiritual man” as the sole form of legitimate existence that is biblically normalized and warranted.
The ontological primacy provides an alternate construct to the historical structural understanding of church that has not changed since the early patristic period. The proposal emerging from this exegesis is a model of church: ontological and apostolic, originated, [re]sourced, and incarnate from the nature of Trinity, demonstrating undeniably that it is impossible for the Church of divine intent to exist outside of the three persons of the Godhead. Christo-centricity restores Church to the origin, source and 'telos'. Present day observations may exemplify distanciation of contemporary expressions of church from ontological definitions. A return to source represents a theological and ecclesiastic field of renewal to perpetuate in the coming years.

Lives Aglow: A Study of the Vocational Lives and Testimonies of Congregational Leaders at First United Methodist Church

Author
William Cato D.Min.
Abstract
This project addressed a lack of opportunities for Christian vocational discernment at First United Methodist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FUMCA). The research question asked what effect, if any, the public speech of leaders would have on the vocational self-understanding of congregants. The hypothesis postulated that the public testimonies of congregational leaders, coupled with a sermon series, would produce an increase in the percentage of congregants who identify as called to participate in God’s redemptive work. While the hypothesis could not be substantiated, the project produced vocational agitation among congregants. Results indicated the need for follow-up measures to sustain lasting change.

Rolling Away the Stone: Toward Wholeness and Holiness for Queer Catholics

Author
Ryan J. Hoffmann D.Min.
Abstract
In what ways are the praxes of queer Catholics cultivating affirming approaches to wholeness and holiness? How is DignityUSA, a national nonprofit LGBTQI advocacy organization in the United States, testifying to more inclusive and just expressions of church?

This thesis-project explores best practices of hospitality among DignityUSA chapters and examines ways in which it contributes to LGBTQ wholeness and holiness. Queer Catholic experience, Catholicism, and relevant fields of science serve as dialogue partners. The project asserts points of clarification and identifies six pathways forward for LGBTQ Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church.

The project suggests that radical hospitality serves as an integrative catalyst behind which LGBTQ Catholics more authentically and confidently appropriate their rightful place in the Catholic Church.

Even To Our Graying Years: Faithfulness and Renewal In An Aging Church

Author
Jeffrey Colarossi D.Min.
Abstract
My Project in Ministry has begun a conversation that will, with God’s help, work toward the renewal of an aging congregation, Westwood First Presbyterian Church, offering a pastoral care plan to calm members’ anxiety and fear over the challenges threatening the church, and an action plan necessary for the church to be able to live faithfully, into a hopeful future, trusting in God. Engaging Biblical texts, Reformed Polity, the Spirituality of Aging, and key theologies––Practical, Vocation, Discipleship and Life-Long Learning––the project offers the church a clear vision for the future and a tangible plan to organize, energize and engage the congregation. The implementation of the project, involving the Worship and Christian Education ministries of the church, as well as the qualitative social research methodologies of self-report questionnaires and guided interviews, enabled the project to clearly communicate that vision and plan, and convey the sense of validation needed to establish participants trust, so crucial to the success of the project. The enthusiastic response, participation and support of the church throughout the process––particularly its leadership––offers a sense of confidence that the conversation will continue well into the future.

THE NECESSITY OF GOSPEL-CENTERED PREACHING IN KOREAN CHURCHES: THE PROBLEM OF CONFUCIANISM AMONG KOREAN CHRISTIANS

Author
Samuel No Cheol Park D.Min.
Abstract
The Korean Church is experiencing a very sudden and serious collapse. There can be many sound reasons for its collapse, however, the most critical problem is Confucianism that is deeply rooted in the Korean Church from the beginning to today. All the power that the church needs comes from the true gospel, but Confucianism in the Korean Church hindered the true Gospel to be the Gospel. Therefore, this major project defines the biblical meaning of the true gospel and danger of changing gospel to other gospel just like what happened in the Galatian Church in Paul’s day. To identify the validity of the assertion of the project, the author chose three influential preachers in the Korean Church and received their answers for the five questions that the author carefully made up; and also received one sermon from each preacher to present criteria about the gospel-centered sermon along with author’s three sermons. As a result, it is true that Confucianism has been infiltrated into the Korean Church from the beginning of its history and created a legalistic atmosphere and brought the absence of the power of the true gospel. All three preachers agreed with the author that Confucianism must be eradicated from the Korean Church, and Korean preachers must start to preach the true gospel to bring the life of Christ abundant in the Korean Church.
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