Church work with adults

Developing a Senior Ministry Strategy for Atlanta Bethany United Methodist Church, Sugar Hill, Georgia

Chin Sul Chang
This project aimed to develop a senior ministry strategy for Atlanta Bethany United Methodist Church. Driven by low birth rate, worldwide population aging is expected to accelerate in the future. Churches are also faced with a crisis in which the number of children and the younger generation going to church is falling and growth stalled. Strengthening the senior ministry, which is demanded by the world we live in today, is a mission Churches must take upon themselves and a way to change this crisis into an opportunity. The project director first conducted extensive research on materials related to senior ministry and based on vigorously researched theories, set specific directions for the senior ministry of a church to take. Then, through research and analysis of the unique environment of Atlanta Bethany United Methodist Church, the project director carried out the process of developing an effective senior ministry strategy.

The strategy was developed through a process of establishing a strategy development team within the Church and, through four meetings, building common understanding and gathering opinions, and conducting surveys. The finalized strategy was presented to the Church’s official committee and received approval. The outcomes of each state were sent three times to outside specialists, and the strategy was completed after making revisions based on their assessments. In this process, it was assessed that the ministerial goal of developing a senior ministry strategy as well as personal career development goal of enhancing knowledge of senior ministry and improving strategy development skills were sufficiently achieved. It is hoped that the developed senior ministry strategy is effectively practiced at Atlanta Bethany United Methodist Church and provides much help the Church and its congregation.

Talking to Victims of Trauma Through the Lens of Atonement Theology

Ron Wymer D.Min.
Metaphors concerning atonement theology that are misunderstood, poorly defined, and clumsily communicated often lead to a mischaracterization of God to those who have experienced trauma or abuse. Theological scholars, local church leaders, and pulpit preachers have discussed and debated the correct way to describe Christ’s work of atonement. However, little concern has been shown when communicating atonement theology toward those who have been injured by trauma and abuse. This study aims to provide a platform for the abused to share their stories concerning their spiritual formation through the lens of their experience both with trauma and theological teaching by church leaders. The use of terms trauma and abuse are defined by the participants in the study albeit as broad or narrow as the participant determines by their own definition.

To test this hypothesis, a survey was distributed to the entire congregation of a medium-sized Mid-Western Evangelical congregation concerning their grasp of atonement theological terms as well as their perceived characterization of the God of their understanding, connectedness with others in the congregation, and grasp of theological terms relating to atonement theology. Following a four-week teaching series, a second similar survey was conducted to gauge movement in the areas of study. Additionally, all survey respondents were given the opportunity to privately schedule individual interviews with the researcher to share their insights and experiences with trauma and the church teaching on atonement theology. Church survey responses were scored by numerical averages.

The results showed a significant increase in knowledge of atonement theology and small increases in correcting characterization of God and connectedness with fellow believers in the congregation. The interviews reported a lack of meaningful interaction with most of the subjects instead it was reported creating their own view of God’s care, comfort, and leading through the traumatic experiences.

Seeker sensitive worship in a Reformed context

Burt C Twomey
This project is designed to assist local pastors and worship teams who desire to become more seeker sensitive in worship. Though it is written with a particular bent toward Reformed worship, it is designed to bring theological reflection and practical ideas for existing mainline Protestant churches who desire renewal in worship without forsaking their unique history. The project grows out of the experiences of a local congregation, Faith Reformed Church, Traverse City, Ml., over a five year period.

This project shows that it is possible for existing congregations to become more seeker-sensitive in worship through an approach that blends their own traditions with more open, expressive forms of worship. Seeker-sensitive worship, when done with integrity, can edify the believer while also attracting seekers to faith in Christ.

A doorway to Mark : a commentary on Mark for lay people

Charles A Wiessner
The goal of this project was to produce this type of commentary for the first half of the Gospel of Mark. This commentary serves to create a door in the barrier between the Bible and lay people. The project creates a door so that people can enter into the world of the Bible. The customs, social life, religious practices, and other aspects of first century Palestine are explained in relation to the various pericopes in Mark. As people understand the world in which Jesus lived, they begin to understand the spiritual truths that Jesus was communicating.

The project also creates a doorway that allows the Gospel to enter into the lives of people today. As people understand the spiritual truths of Jesus' ministry, they begin to see how these truths can enter into their own lives. Suddenly they discover that God's word is a living word.

The commentary begins by using Mark 1:1 as the framework for organizing the introductory material to the Gospel as well as delineating the theological assumptions behind the commentary. The body of the commentary consists of twenty-two sections which contain the first eight chapters of Mark. the comments on each section of the Gospel are divided into two parts.

The commentary is designed for lay people. It was created within the context of a congregational Bible study, and was tested by a panel of readers throughout the denomination. The approach of the commentary, and the language used within it, are designed for lay readership. The total comments on each section can be read in fifteen minutes or less, which fits into the maximum devotional time most people alot each day.

Knowing God through Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction

Regina B. Proctor D.Min.
Knowing God through Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction sought to determine if using traditional spiritual practices, including lectio divina, silence, Centering Prayer, journaling with word and image, along with spiritual direction sessions, would create theosis, a deeper union with God, and keep people from leaving church. This project used action and qualitative method research through pre- and post-project questionnaires, an observation during a one-day retreat, and select reflections from spiritual direction sessions. The data collected suggested a more in-depth explanation of theosis and ongoing experience with the spiritual practices was needed to help participants experience a deeper union with God.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.

Developing a young adult evangelism strategy for Lewisport Baptist Church, Lewisport, Kentucky

Edward DeWayne Goodgine
The purpose of this projct was to develop a young adult evangelism strategy for Lewisport Baptist Church in Lewisport, Kentucky. The project director led a select group of adults from Lewisport Baptist Church to develop a strategy to evangelize young adults in the surrounding community. The strategy team gathered research, resources, and effective evangelism models during the process. Through reflection on selected books and resources concerning the millennial generation, the project director and strategy team felt prepared to create a strategy to evangelize young adults. The project concluded with a completed strategy for reaching young adults which was presented to the church and unanimously approved.

Developing a median-adult discipleship strategy for Council Road Baptist Church, Bethany, Oklahoma

Jason Lynn Arnold
The purpose of this project was to develop a median adult discipleship strategy for Council Road Baptist Church, Bethany, Oklahoma. Completion of this strategy included several steps and many people were enlisted to give their expert opinions of the work presented here. The project director explored internal demographics of the church’s median adult department to identify trends. The next step was completed when the project director investigated discipleship model strategies and produced a church-specific discipleship strategy. The project director utilized the Lead Team of the church as the strategy planning group. The completed strategy was presented to a selected group of median adult leaders for final approval.




Phillip Zachary Reno D.Min.
The thesis of the praxis director’s ministry praxis was to use the theological truths embodied within the Lord’s Prayer for the purpose of discipleship of new believers at the Summit Church, Saline County, in Benton Arkansas. The director’s method of research was to identify the doctrinal truths within the Lord’s Prayer through an exegesis of the text as well as researching historical uses of the Lord’s Prayer for discipleship. The director developed and presented a teaching curriculum based on the doctrinal truths of the Lord’s Prayer to new believers within his church context. The praxis director concluded that using the truths of the Lord’s Prayer in the discipleship process of new believers was greatly beneficial.


Steve Posey D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry Project was designed to discover key leadership principles to serve as the basis for leadership training curriculum for emerging Christian leaders in the Mongolian cultural setting. Furthermore, it sought to discover effective pedagogical principals and methods to be employed in teaching the material to the anticipated participants, adult Mongolian learners.

The methodological research was based on a qualitative methods strategy. Eleven information-rich Mongolian Christian leaders were interviewed using an eight-question ethnographic protocol instrument. Two Mongolian university professors, representatives of the sociological and anthropological sciences, and two expatriate missionaries resident in the country for over ten years and involved in developing leaders were also interviewed using the instrument.

Research also included study of contemporary scholarly leadership literature, both secular and Christian. The research sought to unearth contemporary thinking about leadership’s essence and exercise in the Mongolian culture. Biblical study of representative, Godly leaders in search of the leadership principles that characterize their lives and ministry was undertaken in conjunction with the qualitative and literary research.

The key conclusion of the project research was that in spite of a cultural preponderance of dictatorial leadership, ethnographic respondents, literature, and biblical study indicated that a leadership curriculum for Mongolian Christian leaders should focus on the dynamics of servant leadership, as espoused in the Bible, and it’s practical application in Mongolian society. Pedagogically an adult learner strategy needs to be used in teaching the training curriculum comprised of leadership principles.
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