Clergy--Continuing education


Linus Aniekan Umoren C.M. D.Min.
Before the Second Vatican Council, it was commonplace to think that the new churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were pastoral communities. However, following the missiological breakthrough of the Second Vatican Council, the Church of Christ, which is by nature missionary, is fully present in all legitimate local assemblies united with their pastors. Today, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have the largest Christian communities and produce an increasing number of missionaries. Nevertheless, the contemporary global migration and the resulting multicultural societies challenge the priestly formation of these new missionaries.
To confront this contemporary challenge, the Congregation of the mission (The Vincentians), Province of Nigeria realizes the need to develop a formation curriculum that emphasizes the overall human development of the candidates for the priesthood and ensuring that preaching and mission in multicultural settings is a priority.
Therefore, this study undertakes an examination of the current formation curriculum concerning how it promotes the self-awareness of the missionaries and their ability to understand cultural differences. It examines postcolonial theories regarding the self-awareness of priests. Furthermore, it studies narrative preaching to the extent that it benefits multicultural preaching.
Moreover, the research establishes that adequate preparation for multicultural preaching needs a reframing of the Vincentian formation. This process will ultimately link the human formation of the priests to the missiological purpose of preaching in multicultural settings.
Consequently, this study recommends rethinking the formation program and the formation faculty. It provides a framework and practical suggestions for an extended and improved curriculum in forming the Nigerian Vincentian priests.


William W. Eckert D.Min.

Eckert, William W., MAPS, DMin, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2021.
Chapter One begins to address an issue with preaching that does not fully integrate the experiences of the community with the Word of God. The chapter covers a brief overview of liturgical preaching, the problem with creating grounded preaching, and the unique qualities of deacons as liturgical preachers in addressing this problem with the guidance of theological reflection.

Chapter Two introduces theological reflection as practical theology and a preaching preparation tool that encourages a dialogue between human experience and Church Traditions (Sacred Scripture, liturgy, beliefs, and teachings).

Chapter Three offers adult education and curriculum development to teach theological reflection as an effective tool of preaching preparation.

Chapter Four explores the current state of preaching within the Archdiocese of Seattle. It includes a summary of conversations with the homiletics and theological reflection instructors in the current deacon formation program. Then, the chapter presents the heart of the project: creating a new unit for the homiletics curriculum in the deacon formation program in collaboration with a small cohort of diocesan deacons.

Chapter Five presents the final version of the new unit for the homiletics program, which was presented to the Archdiocese of Seattle (the Vicar of Clergy, the Director of the Deacon Formation Program, and the homiletics instructor).

A Participatory Strength-Based Review of the Flexible Model of Training for Salvation Army Officers in the Finland and Estonia Territory

Geraldine Leah Lindholm D.Min.
In 2002, The Salvation Army in the Finland and Estonia Territory moved from a standard residential officer training model to a flexible, non-residential training model. The passing years brought changes within The Salvation Army and in the surrounding culture that impacted the new training program. Surface cracks began to show as challenges arose in a number of areas: balance, supervision, curriculum and fellowship. The need to perform a comprehensive review of the flexible training model was evident.
A participatory, strength-based review was conducted using, firstly, a focus group of five officers who shared their diverse experience of officer training. Secondly, an anonymous participant survey was sent out to all officers who had been trained in the flexible training model. Fifteen of the possible twenty-two responded, sharing their perception of the strengths and challenges of the flexible training model, and shared potential ways to make improvements. Eight important components related to a strong flexible training model were identified. These became the building blocks for a renewed flexible model of officer training through a three-year implementation plan.
This portfolio was written as a journey, weaving my personal leadership development, biblical leadership models, contemporary leadership theory, and participant action research into a celebration of leadership development within The Salvation Army in the Finland and Estonia Territory.

Encouragement for the small church: Equipping rectors for fruitfulness in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney

Stephen Anderson D.Min.
Of itself, church smallness is neither an anomaly, a mistake, nor a virtue. In God’s providence and design, small is normal, and may in fact bring significant strengths. However, no prior research has investigated the distinctive dynamics and challenges faced by rectors of smaller parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, and despite extensive training pathways there is very little leadership development that focuses specifically upon the small church. This mixed-methods research project integrates theological and sociological insights and discoveries in order to equip and encourage these servants of Christ to persevere in fruitful ministry over the long term.

This dissertation presents a complete biblical theology of fruitfulness. Coupling this to the “Robinson-Knox” ecclesiology imbibed by nearly all Sydney Anglican rectors, a “purpose-of-churching” scale is derived to help stimulate theologically consistent models of ministry. At the heart of this project, the Nominal Group Technique is used to generate a list of the Top 7 challenges encountered by a pool of experienced small-church rectors. In light of this robust list along with critical insights from the secondary literature, four follow-up interviews are conducted on location.

This pilot research project includes major findings in three key areas. The full, biblical definition of ministry fruitfulness protects and encourages the small-church pastor, especially when tied to the proper purposes of churching. A perceptive analysis of typical small-church culture arising from the secondary literature equips the rector to lead in ways indigenous to actual church size. At the heart, the Top 7 list of small-church challenges renders a “thick” diagnosis widely applicable by such rectors to their ministry settings. As this project concludes, a fresh, rigorous, semi-linear coaching framework for emerging and established rectors serving in small Anglican parishes is proposed for initial implementation.


Steven Charles Lucas D.Ed.Min.
The purpose of this study was to document the formal and non-formal education experiences and perceived educational needs of the pastors of the Asociación de Iglesias Bíblicas Costarricenses (AIBC). The AIBC is an association of 170 Bible churches led by 131 pastors throughout Costa Rica that arose out of the Latin American Mission in 1945.
A descriptive survey was used to collect the data relevant to the research questions. It was hypothesized that the results would show little to no improvement compared to data culled from a 1999 study which revealed that among AIBC pastors 13% reported completing high school, 32% were in or had been to a Bible Institute, and 20% were in or had been to seminary.
The findings indicated that there had been significant improvement among the member pastors in both formal secular education and formal ministry education. Participation in non-formal ministry education was high as expected. However, satisfaction in the quality of ministry education varied widely among areas of ministry training and from institution to institution. There remains ample room for improvement in both the formal and non-formal education sectors, especially in the areas of church administration/finance, counseling, and evangelism.
The study concludes with specific recommendations for the AIBC.

The development and testing of a curriculum for inquiry-based leadership in the Ecclesia Network for the advancement of God's mission

James Rodney (J.R.) Briggs
The purpose of this research project is to create, implement, and test an inquiry-based curriculum within churches in The Ecclesia Network in order to evaluate and equip leaders in churches across the United States. The researcher selected six groups in different regions of the United States to conduct surveys, interviews, and small group meetings to evaluate the effectiveness, fruitfulness, and clarity of the inquiry-based curriculum Asking Better Questions. This paper presents the process and the results of this evaluative study. The results offer recommendations for improvement and refinement of the Asking Better Questions curriculum. Kingdom communities who ask wise, compassionate, courageous questions will be the ones leading us into the future to the glory of God.

Sensitizing the Preacher for a Multi-Religious Context in the Diocese of Palayamkottai in India

Anto Peterraj D.Min.
The multi-religious context in which India preaching has to adorn herself with the garb of sensitivity is the backdrop of this thesis. Against this backdrop the author proposes that a preacher can be trained to appeal to the cognitive, emotive, spiritual, and psychological aspects of the listeners for a transformed life interpreting Christian Scripture and Tradition in the multi-religious pastoral context of India in general and of the Diocese of Palayamkottai in particular. The thesis is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One, after spelling out the background, the need, the process, and the scope of the study, sets the context of the Diocese of Palayamkottai with a special reference to religious pluralism in India in general and in Palayamkottai in particular.

In Chapter Two, after briefly analyzing the homiletical understanding before Pope Francis in the light of General Introduction of the Roman Missal and Verbum Domini, we meet the two dialogue partners of our study from the viewpoint of effective proclamation of the Gospel and embracing different traditions with respect, viz., Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, and Bede Griffiths’ Sannyasa.

Chapter Three divides into three sections: In section one, the challenges that a preacher, a preaching, and a listener face in a multi-religious context are presented; section two proposes models (participatory, narrative sermon reflected in the life of the preacher) for a better preaching in multi-religious background, while section three will try to resolve the challenges in the light of the proposed model.

In Chapter Four a sampling study is done by picking up seven preachers.

Chapter Five is a practical guide that will serve as a manual for a preacher offering different models of preaching.

The Voice of the Bridegroom: Preaching as an Expression of Spousal Love

Benjamin Adam Roberts D.Min.
The intention of this project is twofold. The first intention is the creation of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. The second intention is to offer the nuptial hermeneutic to a group of priests in their second five years of ministry and evaluate it as a source of renewal.

Chapter 1 explores the spousal relationship between husband and wife. Rooted in the nuptial vision of Pope St. John Paul II, it explores anthropology, asymmetrical reciprocity, marital love, the conjugal bond and good of the spouses, fruitfulness and responsible parenthood, and marital spirituality.

Chapter 2 examines the spousal relationship between the priest and the Church. It provides an overview of the ministerial priesthood, a brief biblical examination of Jesus as Bridegroom, the relationship between the royal and ministerial participations in the priesthood of Christ, charity, the sacramental character and bond, fruitfulness, and spirituality.

Chapter 3 proposes preaching as an expression of spousal love. It examines nuptiality as a theological category and presents the seven characteristics of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. These characteristics are utilized to explore the assembly, preacher, homily, and homiletical method. The chapter concludes with a strategy for preaching using the nuptial hermeneutic.

Chapter 4 documents the development of the pastoral appropriation for this project. The method of presentation, a podcast series with fourteen episodes, is different from the original one-and-one-half-day workshop project design. This chapter recounts the reasons for modification, reviews the podcast format and presentation design, and offers a preliminary evaluation of this format.

Chapter 5 details results from the project. It describes the participants, presents data collection points, and offers a summary of the results of the pastoral appropriation. Along with some observations, recommendations, and possible areas of future study, this chapter concludes with a positive judgment of the nuptial hermeneutic as a source of renewal.

Developing tailored spiritual disciplines for the prevention of and recovery from spiritual burnout of the small group leaders at Han moory Church in New Jersey

John Sangdon Park
The purpose of this project is to develop tailored spiritual disciplines for the prevention of and recovery from spiritual burnout of the small group leaders at Han moory Church in New Jersey. The small group leaders who have served for over 4 years have experienced fatigues and burnouts. Prior to this project, the church did not have a process to help recovering fatigued leaders. In response to this specific need, the candidate developed and implemented a training program that included lecture, mentoring, practice of various spiritual disciplines, sharing of experiences, and positive encouragement and feedback from peers to help the small group leaders to recover from fatigues and burnouts. This program prepared the leaders to serve the Lord with renewed strength and spiritual vigor. In the course of 3 months, participants and the candidate learned skills and attitudes to spirituality stay fresh and strong by seeking intimacy with the Lord through exercising various spiritual disciplines. This enabled them to be effective in their leadership positions.

Equipping the Worship Leadership Team of Northpark Baptist Church, Trussville, Alabama in selected spiritual disciplines

Charles W Martin
This project utilized information from reserach in the field of spiritual disciplines for the development and leading of a weekend experience to equip the Worship Leadership team at Northpark Baptist Church for the practice of selected disciplines. The curriculum for the weekend highlighted five disciplines that would be most useful for worship leaders: worship, Bible intake, prayer, solitude and silence, and service. The project director used various learning methods to train these worship leaders in the five disciplines. During the five sessions of the equipping workshop, the worship leaders practiced the spiritual disciplines. Through the practice of these disciplines, the selected worship leaders learned how to experience the presence of God.
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